Women in the military are still fighting for equal treatment, especially after the revenge porn scandal that shook the U.S. Marine Corps earlier this year. And on Friday, the first national ad featuring a female Marine as the lead was posted online, encouraging more women to join.
Titled "Battle Up," the TV commercial puts Capt. Erin Demchko in the spotlight, showing her complete challenging training courses, walk into battle, and hand out blankets to the homeless. Before showing her as a fearless Marine, though, it starts off with a young girl confronting bullies at school, following her onto the rugby field as a young woman, and eventually into Marine Corps training.
Demchko, currently stationed at Camp Courtney in Okinawa, Japan, told The Associated Press the ad "is targeted at young women who are seeking a way to challenge themselves." She's not sold on an acting career, however, telling The AP, "I am extremely humbled to be a part of such a big production. Professional actors can keep their jobs, though. I'd rather be a Marine."
The female-centric ad comes after the Marine Corps revised its rules to ban and punish members who distribute "intimate images" without consent. The change happened after the Defense Department began investigating male Marines who posted photos of their female fellow Marines to a secret Facebook page, without their knowledge or consent.
Of all the branches of the U.S. military, the Marine Corps has the smallest proportion of female members, and the goal is to increase female Marines to 10% of total members, according to the AP. That goal is still pretty low, but it's a start.
Women have been in Marine Corps ads in past, but never as the main Marine in a national commercial. Maj. Gen. Paul Kennedy, head of Marine Corps Recruiting Command, told the AP the new video is meant to show potential recruits to "not 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."