Male marines have been caught sharing and commenting on photos of naked female colleagues on social media, in one of the most high-profile cases of, ahem, “locker room talk” since Pussygate.
Hundreds of Marines allegedly engaged in the sickening practice of sharing nude photos of women without their knowledge or permission in the Marines United Facebook page, a 30,000 member male-only group. The Center for Investigative Reporting found that more than two dozen women had been identified by “full name, rank and military duty station.” Some of the women involved, when they were made aware of the fact, said the images appeared to have come from former partners or hacking. Like much social media discourse, many of the 2,500 comments were illustrative of toxic rape culture.
The cybersexism was also disturbingly organized. There were links to Google Drive folders that, along with nude photos, contained personal information and social media screenshots. The use of folders calls to mind Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” gaffe — only this was not a poorly-phrased way of describing potential cabinet members. This was misogyny, pure and simple.
It has been a little over a year since the U.S. military declared all its jobs open to women, making women eligible for around 220,000 combat positions previously limited to men. According to CNN, the majority of the pushback against 2015’s equalizing measures came from the Marine Corps, which sought to retain certain roles as male-only (a battle they ultimately lost). The first group of women, having passed the same physical standards requirements as male Marines, were assigned to a Marine infantry unit at the start of this year.
It appears these aggrieved men, forced to confront the rising specter of gender equality, are attempting to retain their male-only roles by bullying strong, eligible women out of their roles. This is a trend not just limited to the Marines. As women continue to battle their way into the workplace, decades after the rise of second wave feminism, workplace bullying is still disproportionately carried out by men, and women are disproportionately on the receiving end.
But the public, documentable nature of this case of harassment really begs the question: how did they think they were going to get away with it?
One only needs to look at the list of things that President of the United States has gotten away with saying about women to figure out why they did.
Top image via Wikipedia Commons
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