female marines
source: facebook

Nearly a hundred female Marines have come together to stand up to Marines United for their unwavering misogyny.

The letter was prompted after news broke that a Facebook group called Marines United was sharing nude photos of female Marines without their permission, in addition to making lewd comments all over the web.

Although a few female Marines tried to come forward with the issue, it didn’t gain attention until a former male Marine wrote up the story for The Center for Investigative Reporting. Since then, the U.S. Department of Defense has begun investigating the issue, but apparently, the men have just switched to a new platform to share the photos.

But the women are not going to stand idly by anymore. The Marines United group is just a symptom of a larger issue in which the military culture allows for overt sexism. In a letter signed by nearly 100 female marines, they wrote,

“In a culture that prizes masculinity, it is easy to mistake barbarism for strength. Brutality for power. Savagery for ferocity.

Yet we respectfully disagree with the notion that to fight and win our country’s battles, we must preserve an institution where men are permitted or even expected to behave like animals, and women trespass at their peril.”

Later in the letter, they address their fellow male Marines directly, telling them,

“Know that this is not really about Marines United.

Yes, that was the catalyst. This is about the fact that many of you knew, and it took a former Marine to say ‘enough.’

This is about the time you said, ‘We don’t need more females in this section,’ as if there were a quote. It’s about that time you made the joke about the female Marine and her face, her hair, her voice, her private life, or her sexual orientation. This is about pretending you don’t hear women when they speak. And about looking only at men when you speak. Or treating sexual assault training as a burden.”

The letter was originally shared with a group called Actionable Change, which includes more than 400 female Marines and has since been shared with the media. The goal is to increase the number of women in the Marines and improve gender relations within the military.

For now, the Marines are standing by them. A spokesman for the group said they “will continue to stand by all our female Marines.”

But of course, the real test will be any measures the organization makes to ensure real change occurs.

You can read the letter in its entirety here.

Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to started Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. She’s currently obsessed with Vanderpump Rules, lipstick, and her kitty Tom.