In response to a portrait of Cpl. Kristine Tejada featured alongside an Army magazine article, Col. Lynette Arnhart has launched complaints about the use of a conventionally attractive woman in military press materials. In what she believed to be a defense of women in the military, she wrote her peers about the issue: “Such photos undermine the rest of the message (and may even make people ask if breaking a nail is considered hazardous duty.)” Even more concerning is her assertion that “In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead.”
She misses the mark in that while of course our female troops should not be sexualized, being conventionally attractive certainly doesn’t necessitative objectification! In the image, Tejada may well be wearing makeup, but the subject of the image is certainly not her beauty; it’s her authority. She looks into the distance protectively, acknowledging the viewer’s existence in her comforting defensive stance; she is far from sexualized. She’s armed, and her physical appearance is irrelevant.
Rep. Jackie Speier would agree. She finds the email to be an “offensive” and “backward” expression of the way the military views women. Let’s face it: no one’s talking about a man’s appearance on military press photographs. Let’s start treating our troops equally for a change!
Thanks to New York Daily News
Image via New York Daily News