I get angry at the television. A LOT.
It seems that in order to make a 'believable' character in just about any show, he or she needs to be portrayed as completely in line with most (if not all) the stereotypes for that subset.
Networks are littered with sit-coms of overweight men who are seen as oafish and slovenly and every commercial break we see an emasculated man being interrogated by his wife, a group of men who have to hide what they are doing due to implied fear, or men with no sense of hygiene.
Women are bombarded by examples of their gender 'doing it all' - high powered executive, wife extraordinaire, and supermom all in one.
I get it. I understand media uses these 'sparkling generalities' in order to move the plot along or for people to empathize with the character.
Are all these stereotypes true? Absolutely not! Are some of them accurate? Sure!
But here is one that really gets me: The soldier.
In battle, he (or she) is a hero. With superhuman strength they conquer overwhelming odds to accomplish the mission. Then they return home, they fall apart, their mind gets the better of them, they breakdown, PTSD, and can't 'switch it off'.
I don't think I've seen one example on TV of a former soldier NOT shown as war-battered and near certifiable. Because of this, the reactions I receive from people when they find out I'm a veteran range from a hearty handshake to open suspicion of my mental fortitude. While I doubt I have ever been kept from a position because of my status, I do know not every employer is as supportive of returning troops as they claim to be on their signs.
That's why I support GIVE. The "Global Initiative for Veteran Entrepreneurship" is a Film Annex program that helps vets turn their business ideas into a reality. They recognize:
Traditional media outlets often position Veterans as suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This view is exploited and it flames political debate between politicians, intellectuals, and writers. This extends to the business community who never see a balanced view of our Veterans.
I spent time in the sandbox. When we returned, were there those of us who were hurt mentally and physically? Yes. But there were/are those of us who don't fit nicely into the media image of a 'soldier come home'.
I'm thankful for those who recognize that these sparkling generalities are more fiction than fact.