June 20, 2008

That's what I have been called for the past eight years. And yesterday I had to get a new card that confirms this "identity".... my military ID card. A little orange card with my name, my husband's name, his social security number, and his rank. A little card that gives me access to military bases, military discounts, military health care, and other "privileges" (that's what is on the bottom of the card...."identification and privilege card". Don't get me wrong I am proud of my husband. I am proud to be a military family. But I do not like the term "dependent". It is the most inaccurate and offensive term. I have never liked it, but the longer I am a military spouse the more I dislike it because most of the "dependents" I know are the most independent, strong, and resilient women (and men) I have ever met.

I have to admit that when we were first married I had this image in my head of what military wives were like, especially officer wives. I had this image of white gloves, mandatory tea parties, and conservative, meek women. I have met a few like that but by far most of them are just the opposite. It's a crazy life and it takes some crazy independent souls to live it. I mean how many people can deal with moving every three years? learn new lingo/culture? and deal with things like "imminent danger pay" (that's another post)...while still maintaining a home, a family, and individuality...not many. The military can take it's term "dependent" and shove it somewhere else because it certainly doesn't apply here or to any of the other military spouses out there.
Corinne said...

Based on the military wives I know, you're absolutely right :)

Betsey said...

A military wife friend was informed by a civilian employee in one of the moving offices she was considered, "nothing but baggage." Nice. Having grown up in the military and then married a fellow who joined the military, I never thought of the word as offensive. It was just part of my culture. But you are right, most military spouses are far from "dependent." What word would you use to clarify the difference between the active duty member and his/her "dependent" family members? Hmmmm . . . I can't think of one at the moment.

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

What about just "military family member"? Betsey, I didn't realize you had grown up in a military family...I guess this upcoming exit from military life will be a big change for all of you! Hope all goes smoothly with that transition.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it the same in civilian life too? I'm listed as my husband's dependent on insurance and such. (as are my kids) You're right, "family member" is a much less offensive term. I'm sure there are legal issues surrounding the term though.


sara bischoff said...

You are the last person I would consider "dependent!"

I just realized that you commented on Calder's blog. I would love to talk to you more, but in my change to a new computer I lost your email address. When things aren't so busy for you, email me your address to and we can catch up.

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