- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Don’t use the pretty women — that’s the gist of an Army message to public relations people who are in charge of selecting photographs to go with military stories and publications.

Rather, use “average-looking women,” one specialist said in an internal memo that reached the hands of Politico.


Women who are considered too attractive actually hurt the argument that females can serve in combat situations, Col. Lynette Arnhart wrote.

“In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead,” she said, Politico reported.

The colonel is leading up a group of analysts tasked with suggesting the best ways to integrate female fighters into combat units that were previously closed. Her message was circulated among Army spokespeople as a guide to messaging the new combat roles for women to the public.

“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,” she continued, Politico reported.

For instance, she suggested, stay away from illustrations of women wearing makeup during deployments.

“Such photos undermine the rest of the message (and may even make people ask if breaking a nail is considered hazardous duty),” she wrote.

Better: Use pictures of women with mud on their faces. Those tend to give “a much different message,” she said, Politico reported. And that is: “Women [are] willing to do the dirty work necessary in order to get the job done.”

The memo initially was sent to only two people, but it’s been forwarded to all public affairs officials with the Army Training and Doctrine Command, Politico reported.

Army spokesman George Wright said the recommendations “were an internal email conversation” and not to be taken for “an Army position.”

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