By Lily Herman, Teen Vogue
The U.S. Marine Corps has put out a new ad and started a campaign in the hopes of recruiting more women to join its ranks. The ad and campaign come after a nude-photo-sharing violation rocked the corps earlier this year.
The new ad, titled “Battle Up,” shows a woman going through different stages of life and exemplifying the qualities of a Marine along the way. Marine captain Erin Demchko starred in the recruitment ad. “I am extremely humbled to be a part of such a big production,” she told the Associated Press. “Professional actors can keep their jobs, though. I’d rather be a Marine.”
Women make up approximately 8% of the 183,000-person Marine Corps, and only 74 women have been moved into combat roles in the branch since they started being able to join roughly a year ago, according to the AP. Major General Paul Kennedy, head of the Marine Corps recruiting command, told the AP that the ad challenges people “not to think that we are only looking for a few good men, that we’re actually using all of our recurring efforts to find good women as well.”
In March, a report from the Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that the Department of Defense was investigating a closed Facebook group comprising thousands of Marine servicemen, which was used to share nude images of female colleagues and veterans. A 2014 study commissioned by the Department of Defense showed that almost 8% of women in the Marines said they had been sexually assaulted in the past year, a higher rate than any other military branch.
Shortly after the nude-photo scandal, 93 women in the corps signed a letter demanding accountability from the branch. “In a culture that prizes masculinity, it is easy to mistake barbarism for strength. Brutality for power. Savagery for ferocity,” it read. “Yet we respectfully disagree with the notion that to fight and win our nation’s battles, we must preserve an institution where men are permitted or even expected to behave like animals, and women trespass at their peril.”
According to the AP, the Marine Corps is hoping to have women make up 10% of its branch by 2019.