Colonel removed from assignment over controversial message about pretty soldiers

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FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- An army colonel at Fort Leavenworth who was reportedly trying to advise the Army on how to attract more women to combat roles, has stepped down as director of the Gender Integration Study she was leading, after she offended women, and most especially attractive women.

In a message to Army spokesmen and spokeswomen, Col. Lynette Arnhart suggested that the Army needs to break its tendency to select nice-looking women for publicity photos.

She criticized one photo in particular which showed the woman wearing makeup while on duty.

Read: Politico article on 'average looking women' and see the picture 

"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 reportedly wrote.

“In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead,” wrote Col. Arnhart. "

On Friday, Gen. Cone, Commander of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, accepted her resignation from that leadership role.

"In order to protect the integrity of the ongoing work on gender integration in the Army, Col. Lynette Arnhart agreed to step down as the gender integration study director," wrote George Wright, deputy director of media relations.

"The comments cited in the Politico article were an internal email conversation. They were not an Army position," Wright said.

FOX 4's Abby Eden is following this story, and will have reaction to Col. Arnhart's statements.

Tune into FOX 4 News at 9 and 10 for more.

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4 comments

  • Peggy Dalton

    Sexism is alive and doing well in the US Army today. COL Arnhart is a graduate of USMA and is well-indoctrinated in turning a blind eye to the sexual innuendos and catty remarks that are commonplace to most uniformed women’s experience.

    “The Warrior Mindset” has evolved over the course of time. Defeating armies have long believed they were entitled to the spoils of war, to include diminishing women to objects of their sexual pleasure.

    Yes, we can say we in the 21st Century and primitive behaviors are no longer tolerated. But the reality is innate feelings remain unchanged, and not as bold as pin-up girls painted on aircraft.

    As long as leadership believes that victims of sexual assault were “asking for it” nothing will change. When derogatory remarks are made about personal use of makeup by a senior woman officer, little if any progress has been been to the integration of women.

  • CJA

    Seems pretty reasonable from an advertizing or branding standpoint. Since only 1-4% of females would be considered “model material”, the hyper attractive female is not representative of women. To continue to promote hyper attractive women as the benchmark of social acceptability is both sexist and unhealthy. Being an anverage looking guy (I hope), I do not define my worth by my appearance, but rather my character. Sexy, hunky men in uniform would not make me join the army. rather, average men who looked like me would make me feel I could identify with them. I spent yearsin the army and met only average men, and very few action adventure models.

  • James

    Unfortunately for the Army, the truth hurts and this also happens every single day in the corporate world. If you’re attractive, then you will rise quicker than a less attractive person with twice the qualifications. Happens on the male side, too. It’s unfortunate but is what it is

  • ss

    This is pure PC BS! There was nothing wrong in her critical comment about the photograph. Click on the link and you’ll see a photo of a woman in full gear with weapon as if she was ready to engage in combat. Makeup in this situation is absolutely wrong, there is no need to glam up anyone in this context. She spoke the truth and the leadership has been drinking the same PC spiked punch everyone one else is drinking these days. Shameful….