'Served Like a Girl' highlights women service members as warriors not victims

Kaylah Jackson
May 24, 2018 - 5:23 pm

Photo credit: Adam Sternberg

"We're not victims."

That is a major theme from the women in "Served Like a Girl." Directed by Lysa Heslov, this one-of-kind documentary highlights the reality and plight of women in the military.

Heslov's step father was in the Air Force but even in her own exposure to the military she was not initially aware of the challenges women experience while in uniform.

"My first emotion was shock and awe and then I was embarrassed as an American, and then I got a little angry...I really need to step up my game and get involved and help these women, " said Heslov.

Documented through the lens of  Ms. Veteran America, a competition that celebrates women veterans, women veterans are the cornerstone of the film. 

Not a pageant, but a competition, Ms. Veteran America offers a platform for women in the military to showcases their service, express themselves through talent, and talk about the challenges they face. Along with the competition, the film follows multiple women as they navigate transitioning out of the military, balancing family life, and working through issues of PTS and military sexual trauma.

Click here to watch Connecting Vets' coverage of Ms. Veteran America

One of the major voices of the film is Jas Boothe, founder of Ms. Veteran America and Final Salute, a nonprofit that advocates for women veteran homelessness. Boothe is a disabled Army veteran who prior to her deployment, received word that she had cancer. She also struggled with homelessness herself while on active duty and is a figurehead of inspiration for other service members on how to keep serving long after they have separated from the military.

From sensitive moments of recounting experiences of  sexual assault within their units to humorous moments of women describing how they worked through menstruation in the deserts of Iraq, "Served Like a Girl" is a no holds bar look at what it's like for women who wear the uniform. 

"Served Like a Girl" is available for download on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. You can watch the premiere of "Served Like a Girl" on May 28th at 10pm on PBS

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