Internal U.S. Army email blasts pretty women in ads

A leaked internal U.S. Army email said the best way to integrate women into combat roles is to use average looking women in ads.
November 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Should only less attractive women be used to recruit female soldiers? That's what a high ranking army officer in charge of recruitment believes and now those comments are drawing fire. ABC7 News takes a look at what that officer had to say and how people are responding to it.

"It's offensive," said Santa Clara resident Laura Santamaria. "Why are we talking about women's attractiveness if we are talking about military service?"

That's exactly what women all over are wondering after an army colonel called a photo a bad choice because the woman is too pretty. Col. Lynette Arnhart said, "In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead."

"It really is frustrating to see that that stereotype still exists around military women," said Air Force Cpt. Susan Feland.

She finds the attention on the soldier's lipstick shade or looks sad.

"I think what has to do with is the nature of these people, the character of these people," said Feland.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, also lashed out on Tuesday. She tweeted, "Another example that @USArmy just doesn't get it as it debates if pretty girls should be used in pamphlets."

But Hoover Institution senior fellow Thomas Henriksen, Ph.D., thinks using an average-looking person in an ad actually makes some sense.

"You don't want someone who sends the wrong message that the military is simply a place for the glamorous people," said Henriksen.

The colonel whose comments set off the firestorm also happens to be a woman.


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