Care Packages for Female Troops – A Response

We appreciate the feedback on the Care Package for female troops we’ve been seeing in the blogosphere.  Jessica Valenti of Feministing and Kate Harding of Salon.com in particular have offered critiques of the program.  Valenti even quotes directly from our own video of the event.  Additional coverage in Stars & Stripes yielded a strong editorial response.

This is a good thing.

You see, we’ve been hearing from women service members since our Care Package program – Operation USO Care Package – began (that was about 2 million Care Packages ago).  We listened carefully, and decided to try to create a package that answered their requests.  The Care Package for Female Troops in its current version reflects what women told us they would like to have while serving overseas.  Maybe we got it wrong, or maybe this is one of those good deeds that does not go unpunished.  Either way, we don’t intend to guess.  We routinely survey all Care Package recipients to find out what the troops actually want – not what we think they should have.  We have and will continue to make adjustments to the program.

We are about to offer one more variation on a theme.  Our Family Care Package will be sent to families of deployed troops.  We do a great deal for men and women who are deployed, and we realized we need to focus on helping out those they leave behind.  There will be a hiccup or two, but we will get it right.   We cannot simply do nothing at all.

8 thoughts on “Care Packages for Female Troops – A Response

  1. Hi,
    I am currently serving overseas in Afghanistan. I am assigned to an infantry battalion, which is hard but a lot of fun. I have received countless care packages while over here and it seems to me like they’re all the same packages, just with different brands. I appreciate everything I get of course, but I quite literally have 7 boxes of tampons. :) I’m set for a few years with that. I work with 9 smelly, gassy guys 7 days a week. Anything that smells good is appreciated and will not be pushed aside. I want to thank everybody that sends care packages. Sometimes mail can get here in a few days and other times it takes a couple of months. So having that back-up personal hygiene stuff is very useful. Thanks again.

    • Make sure you ladies check out Operation Courage Is Beautiful! We send care packages to our women warriors with stuff that’s actually desired like nice smelling shampoos/conditioners/lotions etc.! Before we even started collecting items to put into our OCIB care packages, we asked our female friends who actually served overseas what should go into those boxes. They’re free, so make sure you check out the site!

  2. Women are from Venus, Men from Mars – we do have different needs and desires regardless of our duties! Thanks for getting it right!!! It’s the little things that make a difference. Thank you for Femal Centric! Keep up the good work and ignore those bloody feminists who clearly haven’t served under adverse conditions.

  3. Hi Rikki, as a feminist and a veteran, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that “those bloody feminists” are everywhere and absolutely have served under adverse conditions.

    If the USO is responding to women’s requests, fantastic. I’m unconvinced that the women of the military were begging for pink camo, but hey. It was a nice thought. The point is that it’s slightly demeaning to assume that women only want pink femme stuff. Women-specific packages are awesome. But why is women-specific always assumed to be pink, makeup, etc…. Despite DADT there are some women in the military who are not the boy-crazy pink wearing feminine type of woman.

    I think it’s great that the USO is trying to serve the particular needs of women in the military. It just doesn’t always have to be pink and sparkly.

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