U.S. Marines are being urged to stop using ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ in training

The U.S. Marine Corps is being urged to drop gender-specific salutations – such as “sir” and “ma’am” – for drill instructors, the Marine Corps Times reports

The urging comes from an academic report from the University of Pittsburgh, specifically from the university’s Neuromuscular Research Lab, Warrior Human Performance Research Center, and Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition.

In 2020, the University of Pittsburgh received $2 million from the U.S. Marine Corps to study “gender-integrated recruit training.”

The 738-page report, which was published in June 2022, is the product of this study.

The findings

According to the Daily Caller, “the major findings [of the report] included the ‘lack of common definition of gender integration at recruit training.'”

The Daily Caller continues:

The [report’s] authors subsequently argued that gender-integrated training helps recruits learn to work in gender-integrated environments, dispels gender biases and stereotypes, diversifies perspectives and subsequently builds bonds, and increases motivation and competition.

The report, according to the Daily Caller, also looked to place blame – for the fact that the Marine Corps has the lowest percentage of female members of any U.S. military branch – on “sexist and derogatory language in the training environment.”

The report claims that male Marine Corps recruits “showed benevolent and hostile sexism [rates] that were much higher than their female peers.”

It is with these sorts of finding in mind that the University of Pittsburgh made the suggestion that the Marine Corps stop using gender-specific salutations for training staff.

Will it happen?

The University of Pittsburgh – in an effort to get the Marine Corps to stop using these gender-specific salutations – points out in the report that many branches of the U.S. military have already taken this step.

The report reads:

The Army, Navy, and Coast Guard effectively de-emphasize gender in an integrated environment. Instead of saying “ma’am” or “sir,” recruits in these Services refer to their drill instructors using their ranks or roles followed by their last names. Gendered identifiers prime recruits to think about or visually search for a drill instructor’s gender first, before their rank or role.

The question now is whether the Marine Corps is going to take up the report’s suggestion and follow suit.

The Marine Times reports:

The proposal was under consideration by a Marine Corps leadership team assembled to guide service efforts to integrate boot camp, Col. Howard Hall, chief of staff for Marine Corps Training and Education Command, told the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services in December.

“But, he said, leaders had concerns,” the outlet adds.

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