This year the birthday ball was held in Las Vegas again for Mr. Bloodstripe’s unit at Caesar’s Palace. Cocktail hour was fun, everyone looked beautiful, and before we knew it we were in the ballroom sitting at a table to watch the Marine Corps birthday message on screen. As the message progressed, punctuated by cheers and “‘rahs!” from the crowd, the good natured bantering at the screen took a turn for the worse as the camera panned to a Captain saying a few words.
Suddenly half the ballroom started booing, drowning out whatever she had to say. Some Marines chuckled nervously while others joined in. I was really pissed off. I glared at Mr. Bloodstripe, who was also grinning. “That’s an infantry unit for you,” he said by way of dismissal.
I could barely focus on the rest of the video because I was so mad. The boos weren’t because of what the Captain was saying–they started booing as soon as her face appeared. It was just because she was a woman.
I immediately thought about the female Marines in the room, and of the female officers in all branches that I know. It sucks that no matter how hard a woman works, she will never be recognized as a professional equal as long as a male pack mentality is around. As someone who tried for years to commission, I guess I felt it harder than most–I saw a woman who had to go through numerous hardships to get to where she was, only to be booed by her fellow brothers.
It’s true I’ve seen some nasty pieces of work in the military (women) and they ruin it for the rest of the unassuming, hard working women in uniform (do not get me started on General Petraeus’ trash piece, Paula Broadwell). It’s true that the existence of women in the military is more complicated than people on both sides of the issue make it out to be. It’s just sad that many Marines make a negative blanket assumption based on gender, and that such disrespect was publicly showcased at what is supposed to be an occasion celebrating a common bond.
Let’s talk about a palate cleanser; shopping with discounts! 🙂 if you’re interested on where to stay for the ball, my advice is to try the Flamingo. It’s just across the street from Ceasar’s (easily accessible by a pedestrian bridge over the streets) and way, way cheaper. We booked a room for 2 nights for $30, versus Caesar’s $100 per night (and that was with the “birthday ball special”!). If you book Flamingo’s through ebates.com you can get a small percentage of cash back. Also, if you check into the Flamingo on FourSquare, you can get a $5 discount on their buffet. We got lucky and bumped up to a full suite for free which included a jacuzzi! So yeah we really made out compared to Caesar’s.
However, if you have some cash to burn and have never been to Vegas before, Caesar’s is a great experience because it’s very new on the inside, has a little swankier lounges, and is connected to a giant shopping mall. I still haven’t figured out how to crack the eating for cheap code on the strip, so maybe that will be my mission next year.