Going To Have To Work On This

The USMC is having a bit of a scandal right now, over the existence of a Facebook group made up of Marines and former Marines that shared nude pictures of female Marines.

Oddly enough, it's the less-revealing images that are the greater concern.
In one instance, a woman corporal in uniform was followed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina by a fellow Marine, who surreptitiously photographed her as she picked up her gear. Those photographs were posted online in the Facebook group “Marines United,” which has nearly 30,000 followers, drawing dozens of obscene comments.
That woman, in her full dress, was victimized by being stalked -- and perhaps, again, by the commentary on her desirability. (I say 'perhaps' because it's unclear. Would she have been victimized if the comments had not been made public? Her identity is not public, so perhaps she doesn't even know herself what was said about her. Is she a victim of 'harassment' if she's suffered no mental harm? Maybe -- perhaps she could be victimized by being in a culture that was hostile to her even if she was completely unaware that it was hostile to her. On the other hand, a group of anonymous posters on Facebook is not her chain of command, so perhaps this group doesn't rise to the level of 'a hostile work environment.' I leave all that to others to sort out.)

The stalking is genuinely improper. On the other hand, what about this?
Many images appear to have originated from the consensual, but private, exchange of racy images, some clearly taken by the women themselves.
Here, the women consented to being photographed -- photographed themselves, even -- but not to having the images shared in a creeper database of which they knew nothing.

So... what exactly do you do about that? Presumably the woman has a right to take a photo of herself naked if she wants to, even though she's a Marine. She has a right to share it, arguably, even though she's a Marine (indeed, she's certainly not in uniform). So what do we say about the unauthorized sharing? Is it a copyright violation?

If you're sharing nude photos of yourself with other members of the Marine Corps -- not your spouse, I presume -- aren't you partially responsible for the collapse of good order that this represents? If you allow yourself to be videoed having sex by other members of your unit, aren't you partially responsible for the collapse of good order?

No, of course not. These are all "victims," and the PAO has put out a 10 page document in part devoted to explaining their rights under the law.

Meanwhile, the news stories about this are taking pains to paint this as a USMC failure, claiming that the Corps' hostility to the idea of integrating women into the combat arms is responsible for this whole incident. A gentle suggestion: is it worth considering that the leadership's hostility to the idea was built around the understanding that a collapse of good order and discipline such as this was highly likely? Doesn't this scandal prove the leadership's concerns about what this would do to their organization to have been fairly sound?

No, of course not. No one should ever think that.

UPDATE: Related.
The evacuation of pregnant women is costly for the Navy. Jude Eden, a nationally known author about women in the military who served in 2004 as a Marine deployed to Iraq, said a single transfer can cost the Navy up to $30,000 for each woman trained for a specific task, then evacuated from an active duty ship and sent to land. That figure translates into $115 million in expenses for 2016 alone.... [B]y August 2016 that number reached nearly 16 percent, an all-time high. The Navy reported that 3,840 of the 24,259 women sailors who were aboard Navy ships were pregnant.
The article goes on to note that the Navy has declared a policy of making sure that 25% of personnel on ships are women. That shifts this issue from a relatively easy to address situation to a front-and-center problem for the readiness of our warships. The Navy also grants a year of maternity leave (forced by former SECDEF Ash Carter to back down from 18 months, and vice 10 days of paternity leave), so it's a lengthy problem when it happens.

Like the nude photos that female Marines consented to having taken, or took themselves, female sailors have a right to get pregnant if they want to do so. If you want to solve this problem, though, you have to question the degree to which what we used to call 'liberated sexuality' is compatible with coed military service. You'll have to do more than crack down on predatory male behavior, though of course you should do that. You'll also have to reconsider what we currently believe are inalienable rights -- more inalienable to these female servicemembers than their right to free speech, for example, as that right is constrained quite a bit while in the service.

UPDATE: The DuffelBlog checks in.


E Hines said...

...female sailors have a right to get pregnant if they want to do so.

Folks in the military have a right of free speech, too. Except that they give up a part of that right on their enlistment in favor of good order and combat readiness. So, too, must a pregnancy right be restricted in favor of good order and combat readiness.

Since pregnancy affects more folks for a longer duration than any free speech...peccadillo...I'd be inclined to discharge the pregnant woman, and the father if he can be identified, if the pregnancy weren't coordinated in advance with command. I'd also be inclined to let the [two] reenlist at their discharged rank and without stigma at some time in the future, say (to create a criterion) when the child starts going to school.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

My wife's suggestion was that all women who enlist in the military should be put on mandatory birth-control implants until their term of service is over. That's surely too far, although it's certainly easy to see her reasoning.