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Army colonel looking for 'average-looking' women steps aside in study

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Sept. 16, 2009: A U.S. soldier keeps watch as detainees spend time at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq.Reuters

The Army colonel who suggested fewer photos of attractive females in promotional material to recruit women for combat duty has resigned from her role in the campaign.

Army spokesman George Wright said this weekend that Col. Lynette Arnhart agreed to step down as the military branch’s director of gender-integration studies.

Arnhart created a firestorm earlier this week when she said in an internal email that “average-looking women" should be used in the material, a comment that has also resulted in a military investigation.

The Army this year lifted a ban on women in combat and has been working since then on how to best integrate them into such roles.

Critics of the email argue it implies attractive females succeed on looks , not competence, and that pictures of them in combat might discourage  women overall from applying for such jobs.

Wright also said Gen. Robert Cone, commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command, accepted Arnhart’s offer and that the general also suspended Col. Christian Kubik from his position as the unit’s public affairs officer for his part in the email, “pending the outcome of an investigation."

Messages seeking comment from Arnhart and Kubik have not been returned.

The news comes after Theresa Vail, who is the reigning Miss Kansas, said on Friday that Arnhart's comments reflected entrenched stereotypes that attractive women aren't competent enough to serve in combat or other military roles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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