Millett: Servicemen oppose their women joining (10-15-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 15, 1943)

Millett: Servicemen oppose their women joining

Want wives to remain out of uniform
By Ruth Millett

Women aren’t signing up for the WACs and WAVES in the numbers they should. And I’m afraid there will be talk that American women are spoiled, lazy, and just plain not willing to do their part.

But what can you expect women to do – when their men feel like the five corporals and two sergeants who signed the letter below?

They refer to a column I wrote quoting a soldier who disapproved of his wife’s joining the WACs.

We completely agree with our brother soldier-in-arms that our wives’ places are in the home. When and if we get passes or furloughs, we like to have a home to go to. We see khaki, eat khaki, sleep khaki, live khaki and when we go home, we like to find a completely feminine wife waiting there for us, and we don’t want her “gallivanting” all over the country.

Of course, we want our wives to play the traditional role of “women in wartime.” We do not object to their working in war plants, or in war-essential jobs. But you would have us completely break up our homes having nothing at all to come back to when the war is over. We feel the need is not acute enough for our wives to have to be regimented.

You will never convince the soldiers that their wives should be in their services, as long as there are young single women doing nothing. We have yet to find a soldier who is in favor of his wife or sweetheart joining the services.

Now that is only one of the many letters I have recently received. As long as many men feel that way, a lot of women aren’t going to pay any attention to Uncle Sam’s plea for more women in uniform. They can’t afford to.