Too pretty to defend the country? Women sound off on controversial Army e-mail

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Female veterans sounded off Friday after a Colonel at Fort Leavenworth suggested attractive women should not be part of recruiting ads. In that e-mail, Col. Lynette Arnhart stated, “average looking women” should be used in Army materials to attract women for combat roles.

Women who have served say it shouldn’t matter what you look like if you’re willing to defend the United States.

Veniece Barnett, a former air force officer in Kansas says she’s been stereotyped because of her looks. Barnett said this statement suggests pretty women shouldn’t be serving our country.

“When I joined I wasn't really looking at how people looked in the advertisements. I was looking at what they said, that made me want to join,” she said.

Now, the colonel who wrote that email will no longer be involved in an army gender study.

Beauty queen and Kansas Army soldier Theresa Vail wasn’t pleased with Colonel Arnhart’s e-mail. Today she tweeted, “Women need to realize the stereotypes they’re facing so that we can overcome them together.”

Friday, the army tried to defend Colonel Arnharts e-mail. In a statement a spokesperson wrote, “The intent was to help ensure that images depict professional female soldiers as they are,”

For Barnett and many other women around the country, the e-mail was hurtful.

"It's very offensive because I was in a predominately male career field so it's already hard enough being a female in that kind of environment and to top it all off, I'm not supposed to be in the military because I'm pretty?" Barnett said.

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