Thursday, January 09, 2014

Victoria’s Secrets in a Bunch

From Military.com:

Too Pretty to Fight? O-6 Steps Down Over Comments

Nov 25, 2013

Associated Press| by John Milburn

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Pentagon officials said Friday that an Army colonel who wrote an internal email suggesting photos of attractive women should be avoided in promotional materials has stepped down from her duties involving a gender study.

Army spokesman George Wright said Col. Lynnette Arnhart had agreed to step aside, and Gen. Robert Cone, commander of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Eustis, Va., had accepted the gender integration study's leadership change "in order to protect the integrity of the ongoing work on gender integration in the Army."

The content of the email was first reported by Politico this week. In the email, Arnhart stated that "average-looking women" should be used in Army materials used to attract women for combat roles, Politico reported.

In addition, Wright said that Col. Christian Kubik, a public affairs officer also with the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, was suspended for his involvement in the email pending an investigation.

According to the email chain obtained by Politico, Kubik forwarded Arnhart's email to other public affairs officers, cautioning the use of photos "that glamourize women" would undermine the Army's gender integration efforts.

Lynnette’s concern here seems pretty silly.  Then again, most marketing strategies, short of Don Draper-levels of creativity sound pretty silly when you state their assumptions out loud.  And nothing is quite as silly as the entire concept of women-in-combat . . . but we pretend to take it seriously anyway, because to do otherwise is to get fired.

5 comments:

newrebeluniv said...

As an aside, I think this also points out the credibility of general officers when they offer opinions on a variety of subjects when all they have to go on is their own personal bias.

Thus, generals for decades said that open homosexuals were bad for unit cohesion (they also used to say bad for morale but that wasn't flying as a military justification). But there was never any real study of the issue to support such an opinion one way or the other.

Thus, COL Arnhart can say whatever she wants and it will be accepted as truth, unless it offends someone. I am sure her path to general stars isn't even slowed down by this.

It is the mentality of unquestionably inerrency by senior officers that I have seen universally throughout my career that infests all senior leaders. Even when they are talking about something they have no background in. They believe their authority gives them the wisdom. So, it never occurred to her to just do the study and see where the data led.

Dr. Φ said...

As an aside to your aside, doesn't the integration of open homosexuals undermine the justification for separate facilities (tents, showers, etc.) by sex? After all, if my desire (or a woman's desire) not to have to share semi-private space with people who might be sexually aroused by seeing me undressed isn't an actionable concern, then why go to all the trouble to separate women from men?

I wonder how man women would join the armed services if "gender integration" meant sharing gang showers with dudes. Of course, everyone knows the answer, which is why we won't do it, consistency be damned.

Elusive Wapiti said...

I'm having a difficult time seeing what the problem is.

Seems to me the female colonel mentioned in the article is either (a) unfamiliar with how advertising works (i.e., attractive people sell, attractive women sell the most), or (b) merely trying to boost herself up by tearing down the less homely of her sex.

Either way, she was rightly shown the door.

"undermine the justification for separate facilities (tents, showers, etc.) by sex? "

Yes...but as you say, I doubt we'll see mixed-sex shower scenes a la Starship Troopers anytime soon.

newrebeluniv said...

Nope. Can't be together because men are pigs and would harass the women. Even strong independent women would all become victims because men just can't control themselves.

For what it's worth, there have already been lots and lots of instances of women and men in common bunk/shower facilities. Everyone just gets told to "grow up" and be mature about it. Just like when you had to take a shower for the first time with other guys in the 7th grade.

Any human behavior or custom can be overcome with enough desensitizing.

--Hale

ironrailsironweights said...

There are two main arguments against women in combat, which I'll term the "good argument" and the "bad argument." The good argument claims that women would not do well in combat, on account of such factors as physical strength and effects on unit cohesion. Whether there's merit to this argument I don't know. I do, however, respect the rights of people to make this argument.

The "bad argument" claims in effect that women's lives are more precious than those of men, that a woman's combat death is much more tragic than a man's death. If someone made this argument in front of me it would take just about all of my self-control not to physically assault him.

Peter