Army says call for ‘average-looking women’ in photos is not its official position

The official spokesman for the U.S. Army distanced the organization from a colonel’s message to PR representatives about the attractiveness of female soldiers in publicity photos.

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She continued:

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, who is the head of a team focusing on how to integrate women into combat, originally sent the email to only two people. One of those recipients, Col. Christian Kubik, chief of public affairs for the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, forwarded the message to all public affairs officers working with the command, with a note asking them to use photos that are “typical, not exceptional.” This tweet embodies much of the online criticism of Arnhart’s suggestion:

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