With My Face Pressed Firmly Against The Glass Ceiling

Working in a male-dominated field is hard. As a woman in the military, I try to make the differences noticed as little as possible. I challenge the standards they set for the women, and call people on it when we are being treated differently.

Still, I find I am at a difficult point in my career. One of the reasons the “system” is so problematic to me is because we are ranked against each other of the same rank, both in our department and in the whole unit based on our contributions. And opportunities to contribute are only given to those who have the time to work during the week, or who can commit to going away for weeks at a time on contracts. They say they want educated members, but those of us who are in university are being pushed aside so that the people with nothing going on in their lives are able to be put on a pedestal. And I think that’s just plain wrong.

Having moved to a new city, I am thoroughly disadvantaged. I spoke with my boss about it, and he said that the move shouldn’t affect my career progression. And yet, yesterday when there was a conversation about who could be in the running for getting a chance to prove themselves, my name was apparently quickly dismissed.

I can’t help but wonder what happened. Yes, I’m new to the unit. But the only reason that should affect my career is that they aren’t giving me the opportunity to prove myself. I am opinionated, and I speak my mind. When I pointed out that all of our leadership members are exactly the same (white, male, mid- to late 20’s, music students or graduates, grew up in the area, etc.), it wasn’t something that they wanted to hear. People don’t like hearing that their system is flawed, especially not from a young opinionated female.

I’m taking a course on feminist thought this semester. Although I’m hesitant to accept any opinions or views that are presented to me, I can’t help but wonder how much of a factor this is playing in my career. I feel like the White Men’s Club is a lot stronger in our department than in the rest of the unit. And I don’t know what I can do to change it. I feel like I’ve hit the glass ceiling, and am now just making sad puppy eyes while the rest of them share bro-time.

Has anyone else gone through this, or knows of ways to overcome it?

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About janinerussell

The transition to adulthood; reflecting on the past to create a better future.

7 responses to “With My Face Pressed Firmly Against The Glass Ceiling”

  1. missspentlife says :

    I am not in any form of military but I know what you mean and are going through. I say keep challenging things. Keep exploring those feminist ideas and how they apply to your life. And dude! the White Male Club is running the world, it is everywhere. And white males in this club, especially those that think they are enlightened often do not see the oppression that they inflict everyday. For right now, you are the one who has to work harder. Play by their rules, assert yourself to the front, and beat them at their own game. And when you can, change the system.
    I wish you luck. I hope that things work out for you and that you shatter that glass ceiling.

  2. brunchforeverymeal says :

    Ugh! I feel you. And there’s nothing worse than when you point out a problem in the system and you’re dismissed (you’re just being a B, DUH). Keep fighting the good fight!

  3. browntroutfisherman says :

    Private and public sectors in Europe and probably elsewhere suffer the same issues so the military does not have exclusivity on this condition.
    As one of your followers has already said, try to play by their rules, assert yourself to the front, and beat them at their own game. And when you can, change the system.
    Wish you well…

  4. areed090290 says :

    I completely understand. I’m prior Navy and I had the same issue. All you can honestly do is put yourself out there. Help in command functions the best you can, volunteer as much as possible and make that eval something interesting to write because that’s your best shot hun.

  5. mamiesepulveda says :

    Yeah, I don’t have a penis either (thank God). But sometimes it’s crappy how that’s the criteria for advancement. “Hang” in there.

  6. marcelino guerrero says :

    My experience entails active duty (9yr6mos,23days), a difference, yes, but the one thing that is NOT is the fact; that you “got to get along to get along in the military” it’s that simple. You don’t fit you will be pushed to the corners if not completely out. Try to fit in first, then your “opinions” will be heard and opportunities a plenty will come your way. Not fair or rational but its the best advice I have….and you can see from my avatar opportunities weren’t necessarily handed to me either.

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