Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Vaguebooking... and "dependas"

Recently, a retired lieutenant colonel named Dave Duffy wrote an op-ed for Stars and Stripes about how military families need to get over their entitlement issues.  LTC Duffy and his wife own a couple of smoothie shops and were recently called out for not offering military discounts to service members'  spouses and families.  Duffy's piece was a reminder that business owners have the right to offer discounts to whomever they please.

Frankly, I agree with Duffy, although I think maybe he might be forgetting that spouses and family members are more likely to be buying his smoothies than service members are.  While he has every right not to offer discounts to them, in the long run, extending a discount to military family members might go further in helping him promote his business.  But overall, I get his point and agree with it.

I grew up the daughter of an Air Force retiree who owned a business and I understand some of the challenges small business owners can face.  I also realize that it pays to remember who's buying your product.  Duffy's editorial spawned a blog post written by a male military spouse who pointed out that alienating spouses and family members is unwise.  While I didn't agree with the male spouse's entire posting, I do think he was spot on when he reminded Duffy and other readers that it's more often spouses and family members who have the time to be sucking down smoothies.

Both of these posts about "entitlement" issues seemed to have stirred up a hornet's nest of responses.  Yesterday afternoon, I came across yet ANOTHER post about family members and spouses feeling "entitled".  That post, written by Carl Forstling, spawned a huge number of Facebook comments.  I made the mistake of reading them and came away feeling disgusted by the number of people in the military who refer to spouses and family members as "dependapotamuses" or "dependas".

A "dependapotamus" is a derogatory term used to describe a spouse (generally a wife) who sits on her ass and bitches about her "entitlements".  A "dependa" is the shortened version of that term.  Basically, it refers to women who ride their husband's coattails and try to wear rank while they sit around eating bon bons all day.

Now... I am not saying so-called "dependas" don't exist.  They certainly do.  I think they represent a fairly small population among spouses, though.  It is really disheartening when a spouse or family member dares to make a comment on a posting about "entitlement"-- and generally they are just asking for a basic modicum of respect-- and some jackass in the military automatically refers to them as a "dependa".  These guys-- and it's almost always a guy-- refer to spouses and family members in the most vile manner.  It makes me sad to think of people like my husband having to work alongside people who have this attitude.  Have a look below for examples of what I mean.

Exhibit A:

Why should I respect someone for sitting on their ass when their spouse is deployed? Give me a fucking break. They're not doing a damned thing, and they knew what they were in for when they married in. Oh your spouse is deployed. You're probably cheating on them anyway, and spending all their combat pay. Cry me a river.

Exhibit B:

I take offense at the continued use of the derogatory term "dependa". It's that bullshit that makes wives get their hackles up. We are more than simply "dependents" and it's about time that we stop referring to spouses and children as such. To call someone by such a term is deliberately negative and does nothing to further any kind of discussion. It also discounts anything that spouses do for their families. This seems to be a term particularly used by men, though I've heard women use it, too. So since you're a guy, I'm going to say this: all male soldiers who are married with kids would lose their shit if their wives stopped doing all the things they do and taking care of all the things they take care of during deployments and TDY assignments. Wives are much more than "depends" and while what we do seems like it's not a lot, you're not there to know when you're gone. If I get sick during a deployment, I still have to get up and do all the stuff I do every day, sick or not. I still take care of the house, the kids and sometimes I get a moment for myself. I personally don't want special accolades. But when my husband is deployed, my kids are sick and I cannot get someone to help me out by cutting my lawn so I don't get a citation from the HOA or the city, simply because nobody in my neighborhood is military and doesn't get that my husband can't just "do it when it gets home", I get pissed and think that I'd like a little recognition for the fact that I hold the house together when he's gone and I've got no one who "gets it".

And a response to Exhibit B:

I notice you are overweight and obviously don't take care of yourself. You are literally a dependapotomus. Of course you'd take offense.

Exhibit C:  

i spent 24 years in the AF. i was commenting on all that my wife did while i served and all the things she went through as a dependent. And yes, she does deserve the respect I give her because of it. Just because you are too stupid to understand what a military dependent goes through, doesn't mean their service member spouse doesn't. I have no lack of personal identity because I choose to share an account with my wife, which has nothing to do with the conversation, anyway.

Response to Exhibit C:

I'm pretty sure that she does deserve your respect... and she also has your balls in her purse. Anyhow, whether or not she is entitled to anything special because she changes diapers and watches Real Housewives while shopping for Coach purses online with your money is the topic of the question here, and when some dumbass military wife thinks she should be entitled to extra discounts or her little feelings are more important than everyone else's because being a military wife is just the hardest thing ever, myself and pretty much every intelligent person ever, well... we just facepalm.   

The guy who wrote the above post got into it with a woman who claimed to be a very successful "dependent"...  Their banter was pretty epic.

Exhibit D:

Newslfash: I'm not a dependa, I'm labeled a "dependent' because the military labels me as such. Beyond that, I don't rely on the military for a thing. I have a very lucrative career and don't need nor want my husband to "support" me. And I'd rather businesses save their discounts for the people who really need them, however, when they insist because they know my husband and me I accept and say 'thank you' then move on about my day. Want to label me over that? Go right ahead and see how much I care. 

The guy who wrote this article is clueless and it's probably why he is still single. Come back when you have some real experience to back up this garbage.

The poster in Exhibit D and the guy who responded to Exhibit C got into quite the Facebook cat fight.  And then, some other dude named Jake jumped into the fray with this...

Well aren't you just a self absorbed fucking cunt. Your husband probably married your stupid fucking ass for your money, damn sure didn't do it for your personality. Every thing i hear from you is how much money you make. Go fuck yourself with it how about that? I'd love to say it your face if I could, i'd love to have a long heart to heart with your husband too about how much of a cunt he reeled in.

To which the well employed spouse wrote in Exhibit E:

LOL Jake. That all you got? Cunt? Really? HAHAHAHA wow. Big man you are calling a woman a cunt. BOO HOO. Am I supposed to cry? Get mad? All I can do is laugh at you. WOAH!! Hold on. He called me a cunt. OH NO! LMAO. What a child. 

Here is a piece of advice for you: Build a bridge and get over it little boy. I'd love for him to have a conversation with your CO. There are eyes everywhere... Oh, but wait you are a FORMER Marine whose checks were signed by THE NAVY. FORMER Marine. Huh. Like anything you write could ever matter to me. Do you really think that? 

Entitled much? Who are you to hand out passes? You're just a pathetic little boy. Sheesh. Angry much? The VA offers free therapy for people like you. Use it. Please.

Good night now. Have a real life to go live... you should go get one for yourself, too. Oh wait! Almost forgot to sign off...

"The Cunt"

And finally, we have Exhibit F:

Let's just make it simple. Obviously there are too many damn dependa with lack of comprehension which the majority are claiming they should be entitled to something being married to a military personnel because they think they are special and have the toughest job. If you completely disagree, just write the congress. Afterall, you are married to the military. Otherwise, accept the fact that you ain't entitled for shit you didn't earn and get it over with. You want entitlements? Join the service. Besides, why bitch in whine in social media when you can talk to their chain of command and address your concerns? Do you guys even know FFSC, or MilitaryOneSource? Go talk to them and find out. Sorry ass dependas!

There's a lot more where this came from, but you get my point by now.  Bill is now retired, so I no longer have a dog in this fight.  I have noticed, however, that spouses seem to be damned if they do, damned if they don't.  If a spouse has a job or an education, she is belittled for that.  Last night in a local Facebook group, someone vaguely got called out for referring to their education.  The poster doing the calling out wrote this...

Nothing funnier than a venter who is hell bent on proving that their IQ is bigger than their Fat A$$

Now... the guy who posted this never actually identified the person to whom he was referring.  My guess is that I am the one he's posting about, though, probably because in another post, I linked to this blog, which is called The Overeducated Housewife.  Of course, since the dude "vaguebooked", I don't know for sure if he meant me.  But I am going to assume that he did, just so I can explain something to the people who read this blog and think I am "bragging" about being "educated". 

First off, if you read the comments above, a whole lot of guys in or affiliated with the military seem to have no respect for so-called "dependas".  These are women who, according to them, have no purpose other than pumping out babies and living off their husband's paychecks.  They are scorned and vilified by people in the military community.  Some vocal guys affiliated with the military seem to have this attitude about just about every military spouse.  I have to wonder where they get this outrage.  Some of the hatred reflected in their posts make it seem like they wish these women would all just fuck off and die.  I have to say it's kind of chilling.   

But then, if you're someone like me, you also get outrage and derision.  Apparently, it's not cool that I went to school and spent two years abroad working in a developing country.  Clearly, I need to "remember my place" as a humble "wifey" to my husband.  I shouldn't draw attention to my accomplishments, which have nothing to do with wearing rank, having babies, or riding my husband's coattails.  I achieved them before I got married, after all.  

I am formally educated because I was trying not to become a "dependa".  I met and fell in love Bill when I was in grad school.  I intended to have a career when we met and after we got married, but things didn't work out that way for me.  So now I have three degrees, which we are still paying for.  I don't need three degrees to do what I do every day.  If I had known years ago that I would be marrying a military guy and moving all the time, I certainly would not have bothered with grad school, so having this "education" is superfluous.  I don't necessarily feel smarter for having it; in some ways, I feel dumber.

On the other hand, I probably would not have met Bill if I hadn't gone to grad school.  Maybe I'd still be waiting tables.  Who knows?  The point is, I got my education because I was trying to launch myself, not because I want to belittle others by lording my worthless degrees over them.  And it is very frustrating to have done all that and still get referred to as a "dependa", even though some of the people who use that term would claim they aren't talking about people like me.  The rest would just emphatically remind me that I'm "not special" and not deserving of any respect.  Maybe they're right.

I'm not really sure how spouses of military members can win.  It seems that you're either an uneducated baby making machine who is trying to carve out an undeserved identity by marrying a military guy with "status".  Or you are a pompous bitch who flaunts her education and reminds people that she had a life before she was married to a military guy.  Those who don't fall into either of those categories are given a silent command to just sit down and shut up.  Seems to me if you dare to express yourself, someone will promptly try to put you back in your place.  The message is, "Don't ask for respect for being a military spouse.  And don't try to improve yourself, because you're not special.  You married a military guy and that doesn't entitle you to jack shit, including anyone's respect."        

Anyway, yes, this blog is called "The Overeducated Housewife", but it's not because I'm trying to impress anyone.  I write blogs.  That's how I spend much of my time because I don't have a full time job, friends, hobbies, or kids.  Maybe you think I'm wasting my time or that my life has no value.  There are many times when I feel that way, even though Bill tells me every day that I mean a lot to him.  The title is meant to be ironic, though.  The truth is, I often feel like a failure at life.  You don't have any respect for me?  Well, you might be surprised to know that I often don't have much self-respect.  Though I have a good life and am very happy to be married to Bill, I can't say that this is what I envisioned my life to be.    
The vaguebooking guy who made the above comment eventually followed up with this...

Just find it really comical how often people mention their education in an attempt to justify their stupid outlook or opinion

I have to say... I don't have a lot of respect for people who call someone out, but don't have the backbone to be specific and tell the person they're calling out what's on their minds.  Maybe I have no right to say that out loud, though.


  1. My God, that guy Jake or whatever he calls himself is an a-hole. When you have no real point to make, just call someone a cunt and think you've won a debate by having said such a thing.
    As for Lt. Col Ret/ Duffy, I think he was abusing his position as a retired officer to print suhc a thing in "Stars and Stripes." it would be similar to my dad using his position as a technical mormon because he's never been exed from the church and is the son of someone important in the church to spew anti-mormon venom in "Ensign" magazine. give the discount or don't, and don't expect spouses and children to like it if you don't extend the discount to them. i don't exactly understand the point of not extending discounts to family members, as it's impacting the serviceman's budget if .members of his family don't receive the same discount the member would receive. still, it's Duffy's right to run his business as he sees fit, but i don't really think he had a legitimate right to voice his opinion in "Sars and stripes." He could;ve written an op ed piece or even a letter to the editor of his loccal newspaper, but i don't think he had the right to a bully pulpit in the military publication. Just because he once was in the military shouldn't have given him a right to access the military publication to insult spouses of members of the armed forces.
    And the idiot jake acts as though a person is less than a person just by virtua of being married to a member of the military. education/career or not, a spouse could never do anything right with this guy. And how in hell does he purport to know how much someone else that he doesn't know personally -- military spouse or otherwise -- does or does not do?

  2. My mom worked with a lady whose husband was an Air Force physician and was deployed out of Travis Air Force base in northern California. He had been guaranteed his final twenty-four months of duty at Travis, but sometimes the military has to change its plans. The wife got pregnant intentionally at that time based on her husband being stationed at Travis for his final twenty-four months in the Air Force. He was then deployed to a military hospital in Afghanistan eight months into her pregnancy. He missed the birth of her child. she had a rather high-paying administrative job, and they had a sizable mortgage, as he had planned his after his discharge, which was to be at the end of his twenty-four month stint at Travis to settle in the area. she had a c-section, so she received paid leave for eight weeks, but it ate up every bit of sick leave she had and then some. The baby had an epigastric hernia that was somewhat severe and required surgery when he was four months old. The poor mother had to send a sick baby to daycare and to pay more because he had to go to an LVN where he was the only child being cared for, then had to deal with crying most of the night with no other parent to off with for trade nighttime childcare . The baby's surgery couldn't wait any longer and had to be performed in late April. If fundraisers hadn't been held by members of the school district and catastrophic sick leave days hadn't been donated by other administrators,, The couple probably would have lost their house. If the husband had been home, he could at least have taken part of the nighttime duties or could have taken his leave, as he had built up eight weeks of vacation time but wasn't allowed to use it until well into his deployment because there was no one else available at the military hospital to cover his duty. He received deployment pay, but it wasn't enough to cover her missed salary. she HAD to work to keep the house. Then she got sick from sheer exhaustion and developed some sort of nervous system disorder that caused a seizure condition. If members of the school district hadn't come to her aid both in taking turns caring for her and the baby, in raising money, and in caring for the baby because a person who many have a tonic/clonic (grand mal) seizure at any time shouldn't really be alone with a baby, God knows what might have happened. The baby probably would have ended up in foster care and the family would have lost their equity in the house and would've had to move to a rental. i suppose she was one of those entitled cunts Jake was talking about.

    1. Well... it is disheartening to run across people who feel they have to denigrate an entire group of people the way some guys in the military do. I understand where the attitude comes from, but the people who inspire it are a small segment of the military spouse population. And really, I think a lot of them may just be trying to find somewhere they fit in.

      I have no complaints about my years as an Army wife. They were not difficult for me. But I am not necessarily the norm, especially since the GWOT.

      I think my issue is that people can't seem to win. If you sit on your can-- or people just think you do-- you're a dependa. If you go to school and try to make something of yourself, you're a threat. Most people fall somewhere in the middle, yet they still catch shit from guys who are bitter about something some woman did... or they imagine she did. It sucks.

      You never hear about this from or about male military spouses.


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