November 23, 2013

Col. Lynette Arnhart steps down "to protect the integrity of the ongoing work on gender integration in the Army."

After Politico publishes the kind of internal memo that looks just awful to the general public.

She wrote:
"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.... In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead."
Maybe she really didn't deserve responsibility for PR, since she drew bad PR onto herself, but it's sad that such innocuous casual talk has so much effect these days.

By the way, I question the validity of the statement "ugly women are perceived as competent." I thought studies had shown that attractive people are perceived as competent. From Psychology Today:
A large number of experiments over the years have shown that, when asked to rate the intelligence or competence of unknown others, people tend to rate attractive others as more intelligent and competent than unattractive others.

51 comments:

El Pollo Raylan said...

Politico's onto the really important stuff like bringing down career military instead of maybe investigating the Obama administration.

I presume that the email leaker got canned too.

Gahrie said...

What do you think would have happened to a man if he had written that memo?

Gahrie said...

Has anyone seen a comparison between the Obama administration and earlier administrations as to the number of dismisals/resignations of senior military officials?

It might be ancedotal, but it sure seems to be excessive to me.

mesquito said...

Heh. So you could ask any women in a photo: are you unattractive or merely plain?

EDH said...

Rush Limbaugh TV (1994)

All American First Cavalry Amazon Battalion.

Valentine Smith said...

Well, there goes her star.

m stone said...

Wonder what the colonel looks like.

Sorun said...

Average-looking women are not ugly.

When you step-down from a position in the Training and Doctrine Command, where in the hell do you go next?

I like it when Puerto Rican woman are the face of our lady soldiers. They're feisty, which is what we need.

The Godfather said...

"Loose lips sink careers".

The Godfather said...

And for whoever wanted to know what Col. Arnhart looks like, she's good-enough looking that she shouldn't be in any photos for gender integration.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2512234/Colonel-Lynette-Arnhart-steps-opinions-ugly-female-soldiers.html

n.n said...

Handsome men are perceived as competent, while beautiful women are perceived as opportunistic. Ugly men are perceived as provincial, while ugly women are simply ignored. Who thinks this way?

That said, thought crimes are an easily exploitable violation of a selective or ambiguous progressive morality.

Hagar said...

17 year olds can get by with what their genes gave them, but if they are still good-looking 10 years later, they are bright enough to have taken care of of their inheritance.

SGT Ted said...

Competent people are thought of as competent. Especially in a Military setting. Incompetence shows itself rather quickly in any military position, as there are no sinecures or make work positions. Ugly or pretty is just a side show. Claiming its about attractiveness is an attempt to change the subject.

PB Reader said...

WOMEN feel ugly women are competent whie pretty women slept their way to the top.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Some armies don't have this problem.

chuck said...

ibut it's sad that such innocuous casual talk has so much effect these days.

It's a sign of a bad relationship. We really need a divorce from the media.

Levi Starks said...

The problem isn't what she said, the problem is that there are certain topics, or areas of thought that are simply off limits.
She's unfit because she thought bad thought.

Anonymous said...

Attractive men, and plain (not ugly) women are perceived to be more competent. Tall 6' and up for men, 5'6" for women are best. Must not be overweight though.

The PR lady should say "plain", ugly is an ugly word to describe ordinary looking, average people. Snow White's stepmom was ugly. Not quite pretty females are plain.

Kirk Parker said...

SGT TEd,

Are you saying "up or out" still rules?

rhhardin said...

The world is filled with intentional tripwires to catch people saying ordinary things.

Tripwires are useful to interest groups.

By conversion to soap opera, they become media stories until the sayer is destroyed.

The media gets the audience and advertiser money, the interest group gets rid of an enemy.

madAsHell said...

The colonel looks to be very.....competent!!

jimbino said...

The problem is in choosing those who choose the models. Why not just choose the models at random?

Are spokesmen for physicists chosen for looks? Of course, and they are the two female physicists in the conuntry, who end up too busy representing physicists on NOVA, Discovery and NatGeo to do any science.

Anonymous said...

Levi Starks said...
"She's unfit because she thought bad thought."

She is unfit as a PR person. A diplomat is expected to be diplomatic, a PR person is a diplomat for her employer. She failed to do her job. She antagonized a whole lot of people: "pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead" i.e pretty women are incompetent, "ugly women are perceived as competent" i.e. competent women are ugly.

Kirk Parker said...

"Average-looking women are not ugly."

You can say that again!

Look, if the average man and the average woman didn't find each other attractive... ... ... where did all these billions of people come from, anyway?

Gahrie said...

Look, if the average man and the average woman didn't find each other attractive... ... ... where did all these billions of people come from, anyway?

Alcohol

takirks said...

The real issue isn't using "pretty women" in photo-ops, it's using "pretty people" in general.

All too often, when I had the PAO or media types out with us when we were doing things, they'd automatically gravitate towards whatever or whoever they saw as the most photogenic--Cleanest, sharpest uniforms, etc..

Problem is, as most veterans with more than a month or two in will tell you, the pretty boys and girls usually aren't the ones who're doing most of the work, nor are they where the attention should be focused.

The good Colonel has/had a good point, but she phrased it poorly. All the PAO elements have a very nasty habit of emphasizing the photogenic over the often gritty reality. It always aggravated the hell out of me when they did it, but they do want their pretties. Part of it stems from the usual idiotic desire of some senior leaders to always have their troops looking "right", in accordance with the uniform regs. Unfortunately, this attitude has morphed into a situation where the cameramen and women don't want to make waves, so if there's a guy or girl covered in grease and mud, and whose uniform isn't absolutely perfect, they don't want them in the picture. Instead, they'll gravitate towards the clean-uniformed bystanders whose pictures won't cause the Divisional Command Sergeant Major to go crazy-mad with uniform rage.

Just a fact of military life, and a by-product of a culture and mentality that values appearances over reality. It affects how we vote, and it damn sure affects how we run our military.

ByondPolitics said...

That study did not include a single member of the military and thus has no bearing whatsoever on how attractiveness & perceptions of competence within the military.

Portia said...

Good grief...if you believe what's in Psychology Today you'd probably believe anything written in the AARP magazine.

David said...

"Gahrie said...
What do you think would have happened to a man if he had written that memo?"

A man forwarded it with an endorsement, and got essentially the same treatment.

hawkeyedjb said...

So, just how important is "gender integration" to the military's basic job of breaking things and killing people? Pretty high on the list? Looks like it's important enough to cost a high-ranking officer her job. But I'll bet she wasn't involved in breaking or killing anyway, so who really cares?

David said...

So much for Julia Roberts.

Ann Althouse said...

"Good grief...if you believe what's in Psychology Today you'd probably believe anything written in the AARP magazine."

It purports to summarize many studies. Do you have a source that says these studies do not exist or reports of other studies? I have seen reports elsewhere of such studies and am not relying only on the reputation of PT, as you seem to be. So I ask that you present better evidence of what the studies have been.

Zach said...

As the internet age develops, I think we're going to have to develop more of a live and let live attitude toward stories like this. Otherwise, the internet turns into an army of a hundred million self righteous censors.

Personally, I refuse to get angry about any person whose name I'm reading for the first time.

AJ Lynch said...

Wow, I am glad we are paying people in the military and govt to work on really important stuff like this.

cf said...

How do these women shoot?

How are they with a box-cutter, or what have you, on a throat?

Anonymous said...

That's the army I know and love. I'm glad to be retired. Obama and his minions have screwed it up even worse than it was.

Lem said...

Althouse lament she couldn't remain incognito.

A military woman talking to military brass with military thinking.

RonF said...

Has it ever occurred to anyone that when men are selected for publicity pictures the attractive ones are picked as well?

Crazy Jane said...

This is what used to be known as a (Michael) Kinsley gaffe -- someone inadvertently speaking the truth.

I fear that the military, like every other government entity, has been politicized to such a point that getting the job done is a secondary goal.

Sad.

Titus said...

Politco is really gross.

Mike Allen is the most gross among liberal and conservative commentators everywhere.

Looking at Mike Allen makes me spit up a tad.

tits!

john marzan said...

"By the way, I question the validity of the statement "ugly women are perceived as competent." I thought studies had shown that attractive people are perceived as competent."

she must be a lesbian.

William said...

It's not just the military. I've noticed that in many other areas attractive women are used to advertise products. Has anyone ever seen a plain woman in a Coke or a Chevy ad? This must stop. We must integrate plain women into the advertising of all products.........Some time back a group of neutral observers were asked to grade the looks of several Fortune 500 CEOs. It turned out that there was an extremely high correlation between a CEO's good looks and his company's profitability. I don't understand why this correlation exists, but it does......Anyway, maybe pictures of good looking women will help in Army recruitment drives. Couldn't possibly hurt.......The Fox blondes aren't noticeably dumber than the eyesores on MSNBC or CNN.

playrink said...

Hey Ann,

You're a law professor right? You're also a human being fully aware of so many phenomena currently transpiring in this great land of ours. If you were exposed as a gutless twit more than willing to act as a lackey in the totalitarian nightmare besetting a private Merkin citizen, you wouldn't want to shoot the messenger, would ya? Sleep well professor, in the fullness of your certainty that you teach our future attorneys well.

Sanjay Kripalani

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

EDH linked a 1994 clip of Rush Limbaugh.

Overall, looks a lot like a Jon Stewart performance. A lot less rancorous and bitter than Shephen Colbert.

Blue@9 said...

What's interesting is that her intent was aligned with the PC mindset that the Army shouldn't create unrealistic depictions of ranks filled with beautiful people (why not? advertising goes there for a reason).

Her problem was the words that she chose. Note that if she had used more acceptable code phrases like "real women" or "the way real women look," she'd have been lauded by the feminist establishment.

During my time in law firms, I tended to seek out the older, not-so-hot secretaries for important tasks. Call me prejudiced, but the hot young 20-somethings hired by the male partners were not my first choice when I needed something done right.

SGT Ted said...

SGT TEd,

Are you saying "up or out" still rules?


Yes, it does. For enlisted, its a certain number of years allowed based on your pay grade. For officers, it's getting passed over twice for promotion to the next grade.

SGT Ted said...

My prior career is all the experience I need to refute the contention that the studies prove what is claimed in regards to looks and perceived competence in front of the troops.

cokaygne said...

Jeez! Maybe she was wrong, but all she did was express her opinion in an internal email.

Between them, the media and hyper-sensitive interest groups have ruined government.

It starts at the top. Is Obamacare's rollout a problem because Sebelius and her underlings were afraid to tell Obama what was really going on? Were the contract programmers afraid to tell Sebelius the truth?

We can survive the Obamacare fiasco. Can we survive militarily if junior officers are afraid to give input to higher-ups?

SGT Ted said...

If she was interested in protecting the integrity of gender integration, she should have resigned over women not having to meet the same physical standards as the men. That unspoken and unacknowledged fact does far more damage to true equality and gender integration than anything else the Armed Forces are doing. But, you won't hear it from those in the ranks, because bringing it up is just not done; troops have to get along. But it's there, noticed everytime a guy has to do what the girl right next to him cannot physically do but is required for the job. It is overlooked for her, as long as she passes her sub-standard PT test that would halt a mans career were he to perform as poorly.

MadisonMan said...

I wonder who leaked the email. She has an enemy who knew just how to get rid of her.

Well done.

Peter said...

It's more effective to use plain-looking models to promote whatever it is you're selling?

Who knew? This is going to turn the world of advertising upside-down!