Bust-a-Myth: Letting Go of Stereotypes

Last week when we spoke with Mrs. Casey, she said something that caught my attention. We were talking about careers and Mrs. Casey said we need to "break out of some of the stereotypes that people think still exist." Indeed, many stereotypes have been lingering for ages. Stereotypes, in the military spouse world, are often outdated and can serve to undermine morale and relationships. The military is probably the most diverse institution around, so a lot of stereotypes are laughable, at best. Destructive, at worst.

There are negative and sometimes-funny stereotypes within the military, and without. Tell us what military stereotypes drive you crazy, and why. And be nice, we’re not looking for this thread to devolve into a gripe-fest that pits people against each other.

As for me, here’s one I hate, especially since I just completed a PCS move:

At least the military pays to move you, so you don’t have to do any of the work….

Yup. I love moving. I can just sit on the sofa (until they cart it away) eating bon bons. The magic military fairy cleans the house and passes the move-out inspection for me, and then I just get in my car and drive to the next duty station, where I ask the movers to unload the sofa first so I can get back to the bon bons. In fact, it’s so much fun, and soooo not labor-intensive that I’d like to move several times a year…

About the Author


Andi is married to an active-duty soldier and is the founder and former editor of SpouseBUZZ.

She is the founder of the Annual MilBlog Conference. The MilBlog Conference is the premiere event of the year for military bloggers. President George W. Bush, U.S. Representative Adam Smith, GEN David Petraeus, LTG Mike Oates, LTG William Caldwell, RADM Mark Fox, MG Kevin Bergner, MG David Hogg and The Honorable Pete Geren have addressed previous conferences.

While living in Washington, DC, Andi was the Ambassador to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for Sew Much Comfort, a non-profit organization which makes and delivers, free of charge, special adaptive clothing for wounded service members. Andi has worked with several non-profits to help our wounded heroes and their families. She finds that work to be the most rewarding and meaningful of all.

Andi strives to find humor in the good, bad and ugly of life and is a firm believer that laughter has the ability to cure most ills.

  • J

    That’s just too funny!
    We’re a Guard family, so the only place he gets orders to is the sandbox. But we did just move and I absolutely hate it.
    So, how are the bonbons?

  • Don’t forget that there are always expenses during any move that just aren’t quite covered…

  • J

    That’s just too funny!
    We’re a Guard family, so the only place he gets orders to is the sandbox. But we did just move and I absolutely hate it.
    So, how are the bonbons?

  • Don’t forget that they unpack everything for you, and put it exactly where you want it. Heck, I have boxes that still aren’t even on the right floor of the house, despite having words like “pink room” on them. (And we do only have one pink room.)

  • It is nice to not have to pay rent for your house now. I just smile. :)

  • Erin

    I’m getting really tired of military wives self-perpetuating the E v. O stereotype and constantly discussing it! Ugh, let’s all get over ourselves! It’s their rank and has no measure about OUR self-worth!

  • I recently talked to someone who assumed the Army would buy our house from us if we couldn’t sell it when we PCSed.

  • army_wife

    How about the whole “military housing is free” thing?
    No, not really… it costs our BAH which is (for us) close to 1/3 of my husband’s monthly pay. It’s still a good deal (couldn’t pay the same for a place off post and still have lawn maintenance ;) ) but it isn’t “free”.

  • I agree about the BAH thing. I always try to explain that it is part of the “compensation package” and that it “represents a large portion of his total income” but I know that many people still look at it as free money. Can you imagine how hard it would be to get anyone to serve if housing or BAH wasn’t part of the deal?

  • SeabeeSeniorWife

    You guys always bring laughter to my day! Thanks. Even as a reserve wife, we get these things although not as bad. The one I love the most is “What would his rank be if he was in the REAL Navy” and “It must be nice to have that extra pay each month for him going off and ‘playing’ at being a weekend warrior”. Someone even asked me once while he was deployed if he got to do the same stuff in Iraq as the REAL Seabees would do. I said “Nah, they mostly sit around doing nothing and the insurgents only fire water pistols at them because they know they’re not REAL soldiers”. I thought it was a funny reply but she didn’t seem to think so. Maybe my sarcastic tone was a little to pronounced.

  • angela

    The funniest myths come from my parents. They are scared when we go through the gate and get my ID checked. Mom drove just a tiny bit over the speed limit and dad freaked out. He said if mom got caught speeding that me and my husband would lose our driving privileges and cars. I also think it was funny that he wanted to leave the car doors unlocked with his GPS in the seat because we are on a base and military people are good people and don’t steal. I nearly fell to the ground laughing at that one. Dad thought for the longest time that we couldn’t even leave the base without permission even if it was to go out to eat. He couldn’t believe we had gas stations on base. He thought we had to get permission to leave the base to get gas for our car off base. I could go on and on. My husband says I should be crazier than I am trying to deal with my family. I think my parents think my husband signed us up for prison.

  • angela

    I just thought of another one. My husband finished OCS last week and one of our friends asked if that meant I would become snobby now. I had to ask because I didn’t know what she meant at first. She said that she had always heard Officer’s wives were snobs and wanted to know if I would change. I laughed and said that I will change and try my hardest to be snobby from now on. So today I have been coming up with tons of snobbish sayings. So I am only saying them to my husband and trying hard not to laugh when I say them but I am coming up with some good stuff. This morning I had to eat at Mcdonalds and that is just beneath me. See I am getting good at this.

  • Definitely the officer versus enlisted stereotypes drive me nuts. It’s stupid and I hate being labeled as one thing or another.

  • i get “so he’s just a medic? so he’s never in danger, right? cos they stay out the way,at the back don’t they?”
    yeah. at the back. sure.

  • blueSchatzy

    My husband has been in Korea since March and I hate it when people tell other people that my husband is DEPLOYED! I get so secretly upset because he Has been deployed several times and Korea is Not a deployment. During a deployment I worry about his safety and well-being, and during a Hardship duty I don’t, at least not as much. I can at least GO to see him if I wanted to put up with trying to get a Mac flight or Space A or put up a few thous. for civi. flight.