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Thread: Don’t show “pretty” female soldiers, Army colonel says

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    Don’t show “pretty” female soldiers, Army colonel says

    From Army Times:

    Would male soldiers and the American public be more likely to accept women in combat jobs if the women were ugly?

    That’s the assumption one Army colonel seems to be making, according to a report by Politico. The colonel sent an email to a Training and Doctrine Command public affairs spokesman, writing that “In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead.”

    Politico reported that Col. Lynette Arnhart, the woman leading the Army’s study on the impact of integration of women into combat arms would have on unit readiness and morale, advised against using “pretty” women for its communications.

    “It might behoove us to select more average looking women,” the email said, according to Politico.

    To illustrate her point, Arnhart cited a photo used with an article by Gen. Robert W. Cone in Army Magazine. Cone, the TRADOC commanding general, wrote about Soldier 2020, the Army’s effort to open up all Army jobs to women. But it seems that Arnhart thinks the point of the article was lost because of the photo of an attractive female soldier that was used with the article.

    “For example, the attached article shows a pretty woman, wearing make-up while on deployed duty. Such photos undermine the rest of the message (and may even make people ask if breaking a nail is considered hazardous duty),” Arnhart wrote, according to Politico.
    The email was forwarded to other spokespeople at TRADOC. According to Politico, the forwarded message included a comment asking the public affairs officials to avoid using photos that “glamorize” women and instead “use ‘real’ photos that are typical, not exceptional.”

    Meanwhile, we want to hear your take. Are the folks at TRADOC undermining their efforts to integrate women into combat by focusing on the looks of female soldiers? Is Arnhart perpetuating a stereotype by writing that “ugly women are perceived as competent” but “pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead”? Or do you think TRADOC is sending the right message by wanting to only use “average looking” women? Leave your comments below.

    UPDATE: Col. Christian Kubik, the TRADOC PAO, responded to a request for comment from Army Times. Kubik is the PAO who forwarded Arnhart’s email to other TRADOC spokespersons.

    “The intent of the message was to help ensure that images depict professional female soldiers as they are, and to ensure they are recognized based on their hard-earned achievements as members of the profession of arms,” Kubik said. He said that the email in question “was an internal discussion” and that it did not reflect Army policy.
    As a former Army PAO person, this doesn't surprise me, but I think it's sad that they worry about things like this. I have taken many photos of female soldiers and never once thought she is too pretty or too ugly, just that they were doing their job. I guess if I were in the decision making pool for this I would look for a female doing the work, pretty or ugly, not standing around.

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    Re: Don’t show “pretty” female soldiers, Army colonel says

    Based on this article, I feel sorry for the next female soldier to be featured in an official publication.
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    Re: Don’t show “pretty” female soldiers, Army colonel says

    I think the combined services need to get their collective heads around the concept of true "diversity", as does our culture in general. We seem to be of the impression that the strength of our diversity stems from a blurring of gender lines and other such things, almost trying to create a true uniformity in what type of soldier, sailor, airman, or marine we produce. True diversity means strength through using all of our differences meaning the strengths and weaknesses of every individual. We didn't win the war in the Pacific during WWII by making the Navajo soldiers speak to each other in English! Respect differences, don't celebrate, acknowledge, while not condescending towards. If we can ever get a solid grasp that it is possible to provide opportunities for every individual in this organization without trying to mold them into something they cannot realistically achieve, we stand to become far more effective as an organization as a whole.
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    Re: Don’t show “pretty” female soldiers, Army colonel says

    Quote Originally Posted by AJBIGJ View Post
    True diversity means strength through using all of our differences meaning the strengths and weaknesses of every individual.
    This is the nirvana that the military is looking for as it relates to race, gender, cultural background, sexual orientation, religion, height, -whatever is next-, etc...; however, I certainly hope that your continued definition of diversity does not include: physical and mental toughness; stamina; GT score; weapons qualification; speed; vision and hearing; discipline; ability for clearance; credit.

    As for the article (which is more on topic), I agree with COL Arnhart. Show the real Army females. Show them exactly how they are. That should cut down on recruiting and help with the personnel cuts.

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    Re: Don’t show “pretty” female soldiers, Army colonel says

    Although I don't agree with the orders given by the colonel, she does make a valid point about more attractive women advancing faster than more competent but less attractive women. In most cases, it IS the fault of male leadership for not enforcing the standards equally because they're hoping to be "rewarded" for their favoritism.
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    Re: Don’t show “pretty” female soldiers, Army colonel says

    Quote Originally Posted by ImpliedConsent View Post
    This is the nirvana that the military is looking for as it relates to race, gender, cultural background, sexual orientation, religion, height, -whatever is next-, etc...; however, I certainly hope that your continued definition of diversity does not include: physical and mental toughness; stamina; GT score; weapons qualification; speed; vision and hearing; discipline; ability for clearance; credit.

    As for the article (which is more on topic), I agree with COL Arnhart. Show the real Army females. Show them exactly how they are. That should cut down on recruiting and help with the personnel cuts.
    I'm a bit confused by these comments, are you saying it is a good or a bad thing for the military to "discriminate" for such things. I personally believe it is a good thing if it does so applied to the job they're being called upon to do. Although the military really only does that now for a few very select duties.
    "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." ~ Thomas Jefferson

    It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.
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    Re: Don’t show “pretty” female soldiers, Army colonel says

    Why not just show the women who qualify for these combat roles no matter what they look like.

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