A 20 year old New Hampshire woman has been rejected by the Marines because of a tattoo on her collarbone.
That's right. Kate Pimental, 20, volunteered to serve with the Marines and was rejected due to a tattoo on her chest. As a result of this, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has taken it upon herself to face this issue head-on. She explains why the issue is problematic.
"Male recruits get a waiver when they have a tattoo like Kate's because they can wear a T-shirt that covers it up," Pingree said. "But because the Marine Corps uniform for women is cut lower, the same tattoo on a female recruit effectively keeps her from enlisting. That's not right and it keeps smart, capable women like Kate from being able to serve her country."
So, basically, this whole thing isn't just about tattoo discrimination- it's also tip-toeing over into sexism territory as well. While Pingree states that she doesn't believe that these rules made by the Marines are intentionally sexist- they are blatantly harsher on women than men, because of the nature of the two different uniforms.
Marine Corps policy discourages tattoos upon recruitment, however, it's extremely common for these rules to be pardoned if the tattoos are easily concealed by the uniform. Out of sight, out of mind kinda deal. However, with the female uniforms being slightly more revealing than the mens'- cases like Pimental's become a major problem.
"I believe this is an unintentional act of discrimination"
Pingree elaborates. "I believe this is an unintentional act of discrimination," Pingree said in a letter written to General Robert Neller, the commandant of the Marine Corps. She continues "several policies and regulations that, however unintentional, directly affect female Marines’ opportunities to serve...
"As women take more active roles in defending this country, it’s important that we address some of the discrepancies that provide men with options unavailable to their female counterparts."
We could not have said it better ourselves. Pimental's situation, while frustrating, is perhaps a good thing- because now these specific circumstances can be addressed and rules can be adapted accordingly. Pingree describes Pimental as "bright, strong, motivated, and dedicated to overcoming the barriers currently prohibiting her from enlistment." Without the funds to remove her tattoo, Pimental's only hope to be able to serve her country lies in change of procedure on the part of the Marines, and we're crossing our fingers that it happens.
Pimental said, "I want to give back to my country and be able to protect everyone, especially all my loved ones, in our country." We need more people with her passion and drive to protect our country, and there is no reason that a tattoo should keep her from doing so.