Congresswoman says Marine Corps tattoo policy is discriminatory against women

    Kate Pimental neck tattoo usmc
    Kate Pimental in an undated photo. Photo credit: Facebook

    Rep. Chellie Pingree, who represents Maine’s 1st congressional district, is speaking out in defense of a “smart, capable woman” who’d like to enlist in the Marine Corps, but was reportedly told she couldn’t because of her tattoo.

    20-year-old Kate Pimental was told by a local recruiter that she wouldn’t be allowed to enlist in the service because the tattoo — which runs across her neckline — violates the Marine Corps’ policy.

    Pimental, though, is not giving up and with a member of Congress now taking up her cause, this case has not yet been put to rest. The bright, strong, determined young woman says she’s committed to joining the Marines, which has always been a dream of hers and added: “I’m going to do this no matter how long it takes.”

    Pimental’s tattoo reads: “Let your smile change the world but never let the world change you,” according to the Portland Press Herald. While the tattoo does not contain any vulgar words or images or references to drugs — it would be partially visible in the V-neck undershirt that  female recruits typically wear.

    Rep. Pingree noted that male recruits — who wear crew-neck undershirts — usually get a waiver if neck tattoos can be covered by a shirt. The congresswoman sent a letter to Gen. Robert Neller last Friday, asking him to review the policy, which Pingree said is “unintentionally discriminatory toward women recruits.”

    Pingree also said: “As women take more active roles in defending this country, it’s important that we address some of the discrepancies that provide men with options unavailable to their female counterparts.”

    Pimental will reportedly meet with a local Marine staff sergeant today to discuss the matter.

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