Col. Lynette Arnhart Becomes Scapegoat for “Ugly” Email

Col. Lynette Arnhart via Dailymail
Col. Lynette Arnhart via Daily Mail

Col. Lynette Arnhart, and there aren’t a lot of women with that title in the military, was heading a gender integration study and was speaking directly about the communications strategy of introducing  women into combat roles when she suggested that “average” looking women be used in marketing materials, writing in an email obtained by Politico, “In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead.”

Sound harsh? Where would she get such a skewed view on women? She’s career military. I’m not surprised by her perspective, are you? And, frankly, she wouldn’t be too far off.  A University of Colorado Denver Business School Study found “attractive women were discriminated against when applying for jobs considered “masculine” and for which appearance was not seen as important to the job,” like women soldiers.

So, she knew what she was taking about. Unfortunately, her coworker and one of just two people she sent her “ugly” email to, Col. Christian Kubik, a training and doctrine command public affairs officer, passed along her email to all public affairs officers with a note: “A valuable reminder from the TRADOC experts who are studying gender integration — when [public affairs officers] choose photos that glamorize women

Cpl. Kristine Tejeda
Cpl. Kristine Tejeda

(such as in the attached article), we undermine our own efforts. Please use ‘real’ photos that are typical, not exceptional.”

Someone sent it to the news media and the rest is history and, no doubt a nightmare for Col. Arnhart. From there, the public had it and Col. Lynette Arnhart was hung out to dry.Arnhart referenced an article that showed Cpl. Kristine Tejeda (right) who has acknowledged wearing eye make up and liner. Is this image a far depiction of women on the front lines?

Replacing Col. Arnhart allowed the system to take another top female commander.

What do you think?