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Two U.S. Army soldiers from Brigade Support Troop Battalion, Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division relax prior to departing on a mission from Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq on May 21, 2007.
Are these women too pretty? Too ugly? Not dirty enough? Here's a thought: Let's just ask if they're doing their jobs.
Oh, dear:
“In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead,” wrote Col. Lynette Arnhart, who is leading a team of analysts studying how best to integrate women into combat roles that have previously been closed off to them. She sent her message to give guidance to Army spokesmen and spokeswomen about how they should tell the press and public about the Army’s integration of women.

“There is a general tendency to select nice looking women when we select a photo to go with an article (where the article does not reference a specific person). It might behoove us to select more average looking women for our comms strategy. 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 said.

She wrote that a photo of a female soldier with mud on her face that news agencies used last spring “sends a much different message — one of women willing to do the dirty work necessary in order to get the job done.”

I just ... I mean ... what do you even do with this? Because, no, you don't want all of the women used to illustrate that women can be in the Army to look like they were chosen specifically to be hawt, a veritable Army of Barbies. But on the other hand, do you want the message to be that the only Army women worth showing are dirty, ugly ones? That women have to work twice as hard, or at least get twice as dirty as men to be accepted as competent?

Here's a novel thought: How about if the Army, in its communications efforts, applies the same standard, whatever that may be, to pictures of women as it has been applying to men all along?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Col. Lynette (15+ / 0-)

    needs a refresher course from the 1960s.  Eejit

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 06:55:55 PM PST

  •  So picture exceptionally pretty women? (17+ / 0-)
    Here's a novel thought: How about if the Army, in its communications efforts, applies the same standard, whatever that may be, to pictures of women as it has been applying to men all along?
    The military uses pictures of hot, ripped men all the time. I can't think of an Army (or another military branch) commercial that used anything other than strapping, hot young men in their commercials.

    Now we're going to complain that the women in Army commercials aren't hot enough?

    You're a decent writer, Laura, but the last few diaries I've read of yours leads me to believe that you're really stretching to find an outrage anywhere you can find it, while real outrages go unremarked upon.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 06:59:52 PM PST

  •  The marketers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    riprof, happymisanthropy

    Won't listen to her.  You only put beautiful people in ads.

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 07:01:36 PM PST

  •  Military is very image concious (6+ / 0-)

    I can assure you that the military public affairs people are careful and calculating about choosing photos of men, too.  I would be surprised if the photos they use of male soldiers for generic publicity shots aren't considerably more attractive than the average grunt, and they certainly consider things too like showing the right levels of diversity, etc.  No different than what a corporate advertising agency would consider in casting for commercials, or for that matter the concern the White House (any recent White House) puts into picking what and who will be visible in the background of a Presidential appearance.  It is perhaps typical for the Army to be so clumsy as to put such concerns in writing, in a ham-handed way, but it's not so out of character for a large organization concerned about its public image.

    That said, even internally appearance matters a lot in the military.  Officers are actually required to include a recent full-length color photograph in their application to promotion boards, and those photos do get looked at.  "Military bearing" is explicitly an acceptable factor to consider, though I don't think it's supposed to be determinative by itself.  

    •  The difference though, is that women are still in (0+ / 0-)

      the position of proving themselves capable in a military context.
      I would agree with the Colonel except for the fact that her bluntness and over-simplification are clumsy, at least.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 07:27:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE, ksuwildkat

        And in more specific contexts,  I'm sure the military doesn't always use the most ripped guys either, if research shows that would conflict with the the message they are trying to send.  If the military were trying to appeal to more computer-saavy youth, for example, they might run ads likely to be seen by that group that don't make it look like only quarterbacks and wrestling champs are wanted.

        •  Current ad for the Army (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          riprof

          has a Drill Sergeant yelling at new recruits about why they are there.  First two give patriotic answers.  Third one says he wants to be a graphic artist.  First two are GUYS.  Third one is a Pencil Necked Geek.  Effective ad.  My only beef is they all need a shave but that was intentional too.  Right now we are going after a slightly older demographic than fresh out of high school.  

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 09:52:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  And all military are expected to meet (0+ / 0-)

      certain physical requirements. They have to be fit, they can't be fat, they have to have hair within specified limits, they can't have certain facial hair, jewelry has to conform to certain requirements as well.

    •  Discriminates against fat and ugly (0+ / 0-)

      I had a boss say the military discriminates against fat and ugly people.  He is absolutely right.

      The Army has weight standards but we still put people out who make weight.  How?  Because the regulations says you can if the person does not "present a military appearance."  Guess what that means?  Not fat.  

      Promotion from E-2 to E-6 for the Army requires an in person board or personal recommendation.  If you are ugly - male or female - people have a negative opinion of you.  Promotion for E-7 and above is a "paper" board but a picture is mandatory.  It must be recent - generally within a year.  Pictures matter because appearances matter.  

      Right or wrong women get it from both ends.  Too ugly and no one wants to be around them.  Too pretty and its the same thing.  But guess what, its the same for men.  I have seen really smart guys get ignored because they were just gargoyles.  And fat guys?  Not a chance.  Bad acne?  Your through.  But I have seen the male model types get dismissed too.  And god forbid you look like you spent more than 5 minutes on your hair.  At least in the Army too perfect hair is not good.  One of the big knocks on Petraous inside the Army was he was a "pretty boy."  He made it work but only because he was also smart and ruthless.  

      The "ugly" part of the Colonels comment was unfortunate but she was saying in plain language what we all know.  Her only crime was being plain and to the point.  Thats no crime in my Army.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 09:49:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Petreaus (0+ / 0-)

        Yep on GEN Petreaus, though partly he could get away with it by being such a fitness nut -- though I imagine so much so that plenty of people disliked him for that too.  

        Of course Petreaus imposed his own narrow criteria too.  You were not going to be working on his staff if you couldn't have a professional conversation while in the middle of a brisk 5k run.  Even if you were a world-class weightlifter instead, let's say, not a runner, not a Petreaus protege, period.

        At the CIA, he actually insisted on having meetings while jogging down the corridors of the HQ building.  A security detail would have to scramble ahead and clear the hallways, and Petreaus and his entourage would go jogging along discussing business (not sure if in suits and holding Blackberrys...).

  •  Not the Onion.....nt (0+ / 0-)

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 07:12:49 PM PST

  •  Let me get this straight. (4+ / 0-)

    This is a woman army officer who is assuming that it's obvious which women are "ugly" or "pretty."

    Full stop.  WTF.

    In my life I've been close to very many women as friends and/or lovers and/or wives, and I can say for sure that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not the jaundiced eye of somebody like that jackass colonel or the jackass boots she thinks she is speaking for.

    I'll stop myself from speculating too much about her own looks, but one can imagine . . .

    •  The eye of the beholder, indeed. (8+ / 0-)

      One of the most endearing images I've seen of recent women in combat was this taken in an Afgan orchard where a female squad member was comforting a young village girl. The girl had never seen a woman in uniform and armed like her team members. The soldier wore a head scarf in respect for the local customs.

      Awe and respect.

       photo 12700a0c-dfe5-49d0-a8c3-9ab27c0266af_zps4244f5a7.jpg

      .

      What, sir, would the people of the earth be without woman? They would be scarce, sir, almighty scarce. Mark Twain

      by Gordon20024 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 07:26:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for that wonderful picture. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gordon20024, CuriousBoston

        I've spent a good 10 or 15 minutes contemplating it.

        On balance, the humanity, and the beauty of God's creation, outweigh the politics, and the war crimes.

        But not by much.

        That woman looks much like one of my nieces, and that girl looks exactly like a woman I loved very much and almost married. Sigh.

        •  That pic tugs at my heart every day. (4+ / 0-)

          I'm an old war horse from the VN era where I saw very few female soldiers. They did their share when called upon, i,e medical and support. They weren't subject to the draft and had volunteered for service unlike many of their fellows. I admired them more than any other.

          Today's veterans can't imagine a force without women. Today's Veterans Administration hasn't acknowledged that women are different from men.

          I've been advocating for a Women Veterans facility that addresses education and career opportunities while waiting for VA claims determination.

          You may pop out of the military one day with education benefits and a plan to make your life better. But, where do you turn? The VA is going to take at least one year to approve any f'ing thing you ask for, anything that you're owed. The VA drags it's feet so much that they have TSA guards at the doors to their offices and metal detectors. When only veterans are entering a secure building, why would you need these precautions? It's because the Veterans Adversary Admin is actively working to deny veterans claims, not support them as their charter implies.

          Recently discharged veterans need immediate housing, educational assistance and social assistance from day one, dammmit!

          Your country sends you to the far reaches of the earth and you witness and maybe are involved in horrific events that scar your life. Next week you're at a bus stop with your luggage. Don't call us . . . .

          Is that how we treat our heros?

          What, sir, would the people of the earth be without woman? They would be scarce, sir, almighty scarce. Mark Twain

          by Gordon20024 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:47:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Social science disagrees (for averages at least) (7+ / 0-)

      Psychologists and other researchers have done experiments many, many times showing photos of people to research subjects and asking them to rate the attractiveness of the people being shown.   The level of agreement among subjects is usually quite high, and even cross-culturally there is indeed widespread agreement on what makes an individual attractive and what makes them unattractive.

      This is considered a standard literature review on the subject:

      http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/...

      •  And I think that's nonsense. (0+ / 0-)

        And I've studied quite a bit of social science, in most all of its vague categories.

        •  Replicate it yourself if you like (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko, CuriousBoston, ksuwildkat

          Easy enough to do.  Heck, give me me a few dozen random photos of men or women and ask me to pick which will be the top "attractive" few and top "unattractive" few for a group of people I don't know, and I'd wager some bucks that I'd do a pretty good job of it.  I'm sure a social scientist who actually studies the issue, or better yet a casting director or ad agency photo editor could nail it.  

          Does that mean you would agree with the choices, of course not, but this is all about averages, not individuals.

        •  It isn't nonsense (6+ / 0-)

          The link has the actual studies done.

          They found 90% correlation.  That people agree what a beautiful human looks like.

          Advertisers don't doubt this at all.  He gave an excellent link.

          Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

          by yet another liberal on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 07:55:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Are you kidding? (0+ / 0-)

          yes there is wide variation at the individual level but give me a large enough sample and 10 pictures and I will have no problem ranking them just like 10000 other people do.  ANd you know who is the most critical of women?  OTHER WOMEN!!!

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 09:58:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Since you sort of ask, yes, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DruidQueen, riprof, SethJP, ksuwildkat

      there is general consensus on what is considered attractive.   There has been research on what most people consider to be pretty and ugly, and most people judge attractiveness similarly.  Even babies will gaze at an attractive face longer than one that is ugly [I'm sure the extremes were picked for the study].

      Most people will judge people like Beyonce and Angelina Jolie to be pretty, while Eleanor Roosevelt and Camilla Parker Bowles, not so much. [for girl examples].

      It's unfortunate that people are so shallow.  Damn those babies!

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:06:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Stereotype (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tuesdayschilde

      Even though this is coming from a woman, I think it reinforces a dangerous stereotypes.  That women who are plain are willing to work to get ahead.  Women who work to be pretty, work to get men worked up, are willing to get ahead with sexual favors.  This is why we have recruiting officers raping recruits and soldiers, and their commanding officers, thinking that nothing is wrong when they sell fellow soldiers as prostitutes.  They women want it, otherwise why would they fix their hair, or wear a skirt.

      I have seen many girls that most people would consider quite cute join the military.  They worked exceedingly hard in JROTC to become leaders, and they are skilled in both maneuvers and bookwork.  They are very serious, and I would disagree with anyone who suggested that they were less than exceptional young women.

      •  I think you're missing a point... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DruidQueen, riprof, SethJP
        Even though this is coming from a woman, I think it reinforces a dangerous stereotypes.  That women who are plain are willing to work to get ahead.  Women who work to be pretty, work to get men worked up, are willing to get ahead with sexual favors.
        The question is what the PUBLIC perceives. Did you think the Colonel was kidding when she made the observation that people might ask if breaking a nail was hazardous duty?

        This was really clumsy, but it's actually rather clued in to what the typical person expects to see.

        Don't believe me? Go talk to any advertising, modeling, or casting group...

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:20:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Subjective, much? (0+ / 0-)

    Since both "ugly" and "pretty" are subjective, in the eye of the beholder...

    WTF?

  •  What about the old stereotype (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, mmacdDE

    of the dogfaced soldier? The term was used to describe tough and loyal men, and to appeal to the general population. What the Col. is saying isn't much different. Better looking people advance easier because of their looks. It's a proven fact. War dispells the myth of looks and competence having correlation pretty quickly.

    If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. -George Washington

    by Tank Mountaine on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 07:23:30 PM PST

  •  This post seems grossly unfair (11+ / 0-)

    to Col. Arnhart.

    It appears obvious to me that she's trying to argue against the trivialization of women in the military that is apparently going on with the tendency to select a particular type of women for photos, resulting in photos where someone might ask, as she puts it, whether it's "hazardous duty to break a nail."

    I don't think her statement that ugly women are perceived as competent and pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead is meant as an endorsement of that view but rather as a simple assessment of current social perceptions.

    Any media professional who didn't take into account current social perceptions in crafting a public message or image would be incompetent.

    It seems to me that Col. Arnhart is genuinely trying to advance the cause of women in the military in what she's doing and this attack on her is very much misplaced.

  •  Goddess! I hate it when women fall into the trap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BoiseBlue

    of using the meaningless and demeaning language of the patriarchy:  "ugly women" as Col. Lynette Arnhart and Laura Clawson (frankly the latter is a pattern I've noticed).

    Show me an "ugly woman" and I'll show you a striking beauty every f*cking time!

    On the other hand, I'm elated when Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York - HONY) is a bigger feminist than a poster at dKos.  The wider world is changing even if it isn't changing here.

    "Ugly woman" in-fucking-deed!

    "You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    by Glinda on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 07:38:58 PM PST

    •  Calm down Glinda (0+ / 0-)

      this is a story that was reported on and these were not the authors nor the subjects.

      •  I'm completely calm (0+ / 0-)

        You, on the other hand, are not really an attentive reader.  "These were not the authors"? Laura Clawson is the poster and part of the problem as she opined about "ugly women".  

        LOL! This place is a continual laugh riot these past few years.

        "You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

        by Glinda on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:05:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You're missing the point (5+ / 0-)

      of what Col. Arnhart was saying.

      She is talking about what the PUBLIC perceives. And she's right.

      What the public perceives as a less attractive woman, if she has "made it," average people assume that she has worked her butt off because she didn't have her looks to get her through. Meanwhile, people assume that a "beautiful" woman had an easier time of getting there, since she would have had an easier time charming men on her way up the ladder.

      Col. Arnhart isn't saying she agrees or disagrees with this assertion. She is simply stating that this is the way people think.

      And she's right. As someone who works in marketing, I can attest that she is absolutely right.

      While as a feminist and a pagan, I can appreciate your point of view that "all women are beautiful," it is a fact that if I put my picture next to say... Jennifer Lawrence, almost 100% of random people you ask will say that Jennifer Lawrence is prettier than I am. I don't think I'm ugly. My partner doesn't think I'm ugly. But studies have shown that people generally agree on what constitutes beauty (someone above posted a link to those studies). Even babies will stare longer at a beautiful face. Most people would agree I'm not hideous-looking, but they also would agree that Jennifer Lawrence is prettier. Heck I agree that Jennifer Lawrence is prettier.

      This entire post is silly on Laura's behalf, but I'm not entirely sure what your beef is with Col. Arnhart. She is using the language of the public here to make her point.

      •  I agree with you 95%. But ... (0+ / 0-)

        she did choose the word "ugly" to mar the rest of her very well argued and completely correct assessment of American sexual norms.

        ... or at least the media reported that she did.  I should know better than to trust their reportage 100%.

        I had more issues with the FP poster on this item.  Sorry that it wasn't more self-evident where my eye-rolling was coming from.  My original post might have been a glaring example of "false equivalence", no?  :-)

        "You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

        by Glinda on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 09:20:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Glinda, Caittus, Pi Li, CuriousBoston

      I know a lot of people here like to kiss the ass of front pagers, but Laura should NOT be writing about women's issues. I admit I know nothing about her, but I don't feel like she has any understanding of actual women's issues.

      Or if she does (and I grant the possibility that she truly does), she often drops her common sense when searching for something to write about.

      There are plenty of topics that she tackles that show her skill and depth. This is not one of them.

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 09:15:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's clumsy, but not meant to be hurtful. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Urban Owl, DruidQueen, ksuwildkat

    Are we just going to jump on anything in hopes of creating a meme?

    Redefining and downplaying the importance of physical beauty has been a fairly central tenet of feminism over the years,.

    I don't know that it's a good thing to attack what it is they're trying to accomplish.

    Money doesn't talk it swears.

    by Coss on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 07:40:39 PM PST

  •  Former NFL cheerleader in Special Forces (0+ / 0-)

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)
    This message will self-destruct upon arrival in the NSA archives in Utah.

    by MTmofo on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 07:48:47 PM PST

  •  I didn't see the word "ugly" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    riprof, DruidQueen

    in Co. Arnhart's analysis.  She's urging the Army to use average looking women doing dirty work rather than beausties wearing makeup.  That is both sound advice and consistent with feminist principles.  The diarist is taking a page out of the conservative propaganda tactical handbook and inventing something to complain about.

    You can tell Monopoly is an old game because there's a luxury tax and rich people can go to jail.

    by Simian on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 07:58:01 PM PST

  •  Something you have to understand (0+ / 0-)

    Something you have to understand about the military is that socially they are about a century behind everybody else. They live in that bubble with one another and the reinforce those perceptions. I'm not defending this idiot Colonel but the fact is that she is projecting her own conception of society. That's how she thinks that works because that's the kind of bullshit she is immersed in.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:04:09 PM PST

    •  WTF? (0+ / 0-)

      What are you talking about.  The military in general and the Army in particular have ALWAYS been ahead of the rest of society.  

      When the rest of the country had debates about racial integration, the Army was there.

      When the rest of the country was debating equal rights for women, the Army was beyond the debate.  

      While the rest of the country hasnt even STARTED to debate acceptance of no-monotheastic religions the Army has had Wiccan chaplains for DECADES.

      While the rest of the country CONTINUES to debate the role of sexual orientation in the work place the Army decided DECDES ago that it had no place.  

      You clearly know nothing about the role of the military in shaping the wider public.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 10:08:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd be (0+ / 0-)

    really inerested to see a photo of Col. Arnhart to see which side of the coin she reflects.

  •  Why do women have to fight every stupid thing? (0+ / 0-)

    Why do we have to fight the same basic lack of respect over and over and over and over? How many times to we have to prove we are more than our appearances? It doesn't matter if it's "pretty" or "ugly" - it's still about appearance. Not our brains, not our abilities, not our accomplishments. And more often than not, if we point this out, we're "asking for special treatment." I'm so sick of it. This isn't about PR or the military's image. As always, it's about controlling women through our appearances and reducing us to a scale of physical attractiveness. Saying they want "average looking" women is NOT feminist. It's STILL about appearance and relative attractiveness to men.

    Is fheàrr fheuchainn na bhith san dùil

    by bull8807 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:11:14 PM PST

    •  um, sorry but its life (0+ / 0-)

      Im a male.  I have almost no chance of ever being a General Officer.  Why?  Because I am 5' 6"  

      When was the last time we had a short President?  President Carter was 5' 9 1/2" and got ridiculed as much for being short as for big ears.  Only President shorter than Carter in the last 60 years was Truman at 5' 9"

      Oh and WOMEN are far more critical of appearance of other women than men are.  The vast majority of men are REALLY not that picky.  But women can find a thousand flaws in very woman.  Compare the women in Cosmo to those in Hustler.  Lot more variety in Hustler.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 10:16:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why hype this now? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CuriousBoston, ksuwildkat

    This happened months ago.  Col. Lynette Arnhart was relived of command and the military rejected her comments?  What is the point of trying to paint the military as still supporting this stupid comment by this now punished person?

    What is the point in trying to make the military look bad months after they did the right thing and punished Arnhart?

    It was said, it was dumb, the person who said the dumb thing was removed and punished.  That is what you would want to happen right?  

    Well they did it.  With in a week of her comment being made public.

    So what is the point other than to make the military look bad?

    Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

    by DrillSgtK on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:18:45 PM PST

    •  These facts were not included in the diary by the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ksuwildkat

      front pager. I appreciate your bringing them to our attention. The paraphrased adage is, "You are entitled to your opinion, but not your facts". (If I remember correctly).

      The editing out of facts to influence the opinions of DailyKos members and others would be ah...unfortunate.

      The response of the military is an integral part of the story.

      I truly hope the front pager did not know about these facts.

      Help Senator Warren. Encourage people to co-sponsor her bills, & the bills she has cosponsored. Elect Ed Markey.

      by CuriousBoston on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 09:13:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Did the right thing? (0+ / 0-)

      I can't agree.

      It doesn't matter what words you choose: "ugly", "unattractive", "plain", it's never going to do justice to a person, because what the colonel is talking about about is how the media filters women out of our public consciousness based on their superficial features.  That's her point. Using more or different words to to make that point doesn't make what she's talking about any nicer.

      Read what she says and understand what she is actually arguing for: stop filtering out women who don't meet conventional standards of prettiness. Start depicting women as active, vital contributors to national defense.  In other words to depict diverse women and to do it with respect and dignity.

      "Ugly" is a word that's ripe for reclamation, like "queer".  You reclaim a pejorative word when neither the word nor the thing it refers to is going away, and the attitude behind the way people use the word has to be challenged.

      I've lost my faith in nihilism

      by grumpynerd on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 10:17:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How does he explain Fox News? (0+ / 0-)
  •  Two things: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DruidQueen, tuesdayschilde

    Women are not wanted in the army. They pose a serious risk of interference in the boy games.

    Research has shown over and over that ugly women are perceived this way. Pretty women are far more likely to get promotions but not-so-pretty women are more likely to get the grub jobs. As an ugly woman, I can attest to this treatment in my own life.

    •  Says who? (0+ / 0-)

      In fact women are critical to the military.  The Army is absolutely dependent on women to fill recruiting needs.

      From population X only a small number are qualified for military service based on:

      age
      fitness
      criminal records
      intelligence

      Right now the Army is facing the grim reality that we are relatively unattractive to the population that is available after eliminating people who are too old, to fat, in jail and too stupid. The remaining population is not just our target but that of every university and employer in the country.  If women were not available it would be extremely expensive to fill our needs.  We would have to increase pay and bonuses to compete with other employers.  Additionally, by excluding 50% of your available talent you ensure that you are not getting the best or brightest at some point.  So instead of filling 3/4 of your positions with top 20% people you fill 1/3 with top 20% and the remaining with what is left over.  

      The year I joint the Army was one of the lowest ever for what we called "Cat IV."  These are folks who have IQs in the 40s and 50s.  What it coms down to is we work all year to try to fill jobs without any Cat IVs and then at some point we say, ok we need warm bodies.  I think we still have a cap of 10% on Cat IVs.  Today about 15% of the Army is female.  In theory if they were not available we would have to make up that 15% with Cat IVs.  Because of the technical nature of todays Army, we could not sustain the force if 25% had a hard time with basic math and reading.  

      So your assertion that women are not wanted is plain WRONG.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 10:34:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ah, yes, more military-bashing from this diarist. (6+ / 0-)

    First, this dates back to last November.

    Second, here's what she DIDN'T post, courtesy of the Daily Mail:

    The colonel who sparked controversy this week over opinions that only pictures of ugly or average women be used in promotional pictures, has 'stepped down' from a gender integration study, according to an Army spokesman

    Col Lynette Arnhart was heading a gender integration study when her controversial emails were leaked to the public.

    [...]

    A public affairs officer has also been suspended following the leak.

    So, not only is this OLD information, but the consequences of COL Arnhart's comments came within just a few days of the original report.

    I learned this with a single Google search (on COL Arnhart's name) that required all of 30 seconds.

    It would seem that the diarist considers her outrage more important than accuracy or completness.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:34:41 PM PST

  •  Propaganda is propaganda (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rosebuddear

    Perhaps inartfully stated the point is still worth discussing. Do we represent the armed forces with models or with ordinary men and women?  It's still propaganda meant to lure young people into military service.  It's all PR so who cares? They'll go with whatever works.

  •  fox news knows (0+ / 0-)

    see fox news they can help out with the pretty woman thing.

  •  Sexism is alive and well and getting worse. (0+ / 0-)
  •  I think the subject is advertising and PR (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rosebuddear, ksuwildkat

    Not whether real people do their jobs.

    Advertising is image projection and generally pretty much focused on the young and beautiful, or whatever cultural stereotypes will pull the triggers of the target audience.

    She was probably being too frank for her own good.

  •  "Comms strategy" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksuwildkat

    The colonel is correct: she has identified a tool, and is giving guidance for its use.

    And if you think Army advertising isn't using their best looking MEN, you are freekin' blind.

  •  Women In Military PR Pictures (6+ / 0-)

    Having spent 12 years in the military I think the women colonel, other than using the word "ugly", has a good point.  When you read her whole statement it is clear she did not mean ugly.  She meant that they should look like the average military women, not some picture that implies military women are barbie dolls.

    Unlike with men, you have a large group of Americans who believe women can not handle serious military duty.  Pictures showing military women in the field looking like they have time to put on make-up does not help.  They need to look like real soldiers just as most pictures of military men do.  It also helps girls that are considering joining the military to have a clear understand that it is not a glamorous calling.

  •  For some strange reason, (0+ / 0-)

    I immediately thought of Major Iceborg...

    And someday, I will try to figure out if it is worth the possible HR's for posting pictures...

    ''The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.'' - Justice Hugo L. Black of the Supreme Court

    by geekydee on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 07:29:36 AM PST

  •  this article takes me right back (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rduran, CuriousBoston, ksuwildkat

    I was in the Air Force in the 70s. Aircraft maintenance. I was in Germany in 1977 doing C-141 maintenance at a Reforger (annual war games they did in Germany) site. A reporter from the Greensboro NC journal was there looking for stories about "women in the military" on the flightline where I was working. I chatted with him for a while and the picture he took of me checking engine oil levels was the accompanying picture to his article.

    He sent me a copy of the article when it came out. I was amused to see that he made much of how cute I looked all covered in engine grease, and went right to the chase and described me as an "attractive blonde". Which I guess is what his audience needed to give what I had to say any credibility when talking about my "guy job" in the Air Force.

    One of the things that absolutely horrified me in basic training was a mandatory class for women troops on "grooming and makeup tips". OMFG. Sponsored by Mary Kay. We were all required to paint up each other's faces and the result was less than fortunate. I would never have voluntarily appeared in public all tarted up the way they seemed to think we should know how to do. Blech.

    Sigh. I have to admit though - at 61, I am still fond of a guy (the reporter was quite a nice man, and I enjoyed talking to him) who referred to me as an "attractive blonde" in print.

    Those women in that picture rock. They're my kind of attractive. That Col. had a very difficult job - she was probably trying to skate a real fine line between Neanderthal (I hate to use that word, seems maligning to innocent Neanderthals) attitudes on the part of the military (which they always have had), and the realities of PR.

    She shouldn't have used the words "ugly" and "pretty" though. That was just clumsy and clueless.

    I still have that (very old and tattered) newspaper article. In fact, I showed it during a job interview to a prospective employer who was fascinated with my military service. (I got the job! After six months unemployed!! WOO WOO. But I already wrote a diary about that.)

    Old Mamasan would certainly be glad to know that Ronnie's gotten past it. I'll tell her the next time I see her. Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis

    by Rosebuddear on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 08:21:41 AM PST

  •  The women in the pic are beautiful. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rosebuddear, CuriousBoston

    If one would get a chance to converse with them about their jobs, their families, and themselves, I think there is a good chance that the beauty and the strength would shine through.

    I have spoken with women that the typical reality show would reject and there is beauty abounding...

    This goes for men, too, if they would permit being called beautiful in a manner of speaking.

    So, let's stop with the word "ugly" from the git go. Eh?

    :)

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

    by unclebucky on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 08:26:10 AM PST

  •  Have to agree with other commenters (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rosebuddear, ksuwildkat, denise b

    Aside from the inartful use of the word "ugly," Col. Arnhart makes a point.  She's trying to develop imagery to cultivate female recruits. And while gender specific marketing does strike many as sexist, it's also an unfortunate reality.

  •  poor choice of words (0+ / 0-)

    I don't think they want ugly women so much as ones who look rugged and hard-boiled - just like the male soldiers. That's not necessarily ugly or even unattractive, but it's definitely not pretty. Pretty is dolled up, soft and sexy - not the look you want in a soldier. It seems odd that a professional communicator would make such a poor choice of words.

  •  your profile picture (0+ / 0-)

    Ms. Clawson you seem to object to what is essentially marketing yet I notice your profile picture is quite nice.  I could even guess that you put time, effort and a competent photographer into it.  

    It a high angle shot that has a sliming effect on your face.  You are wearing a black dress with a plunging neckline.  creating both a sliming effect and creating an unmistakable female profile.  You positioning against a wall tend to create a slimming effect also.  Finally you choose to wear glasses which tends to make younger women look smarter.  Your photographer was good enough to get the shot without creating distracting reflections on the glass.  Bravo.

    Like it or not, you practiced the very thing you are railing about here.  You could have taken a mug shot in a burlap sack or used a icon or cartoon as your image.  Instead you choose one that sent a very distinct message - I am a smart attractive woman who also happens to be liberal so dont dismiss my writing as man hating because Im a fat uggo who never went on a date.  Its an effective message BTW.

    Choose your enemies carefully for they are who you will become most like.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 09:34:32 AM PST

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