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February 19, 2006

On these Army recruiting commercials

I've remarked before that these commercials, though announced as a campaign to convince parents to encourage their children to enlist, actually seem to be designed to teach children how to persuade -- and, if necessary, defy -- skeptical parents.

I've also noticed that all of the commercials I've seen involve sons -- not daughters.  At first, I assumed this was because male recruits are more valuable; even apart from any inherent army chauvinism, women are still restricted from serving in front-line positions.

But it also occurs to me that maybe the Army fears that America's parents are not ready to see a direct appeal to daughters.  They might fear, perhaps with some justification, that if television audiences see sweet young things announce their intention to enlist (and, necessarily, go fight overseas), America will become more opposed to the Iraq War and the resources (not to mention lives) it consumes.

Just a thought.

(cross posted to Fantasy Life)

Update:  Someone pointed out to me that there is an ad with a daughter, described in this article  But the ad makes it very clear that she will be doing medical work.  Because medical work can be presented as more distant from the front lines, and certainly seems to be a more traditional role for women, I wonder if whether ad disproves my point, or proves it.

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Comments

Good guess.

As someone who's likely headed into the Army 18 months from now (albeit in the JAG Corps), I'd LOVE to see some commercials featuring women. I don't mind that my likely workplace is going to be dominated by men, but even a nod at gender diversity would be awesome.

I distinctly remember seeing an ad with a daughter. I don't remember when it came out.

Nicholas - yes, someone mentioned one to me with a daughter -- it's mentioned in http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/25/business/yourmoney/25recruit.html?ex=1285300800&en=f62fbd6aa86a6428&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss>this article. But the interesting thing is that it explicitly makes clear that this daughter will be receiving medical training, which is much more acceptable, gender-role-wise.

the thing i tell people is that if my recruiter had told me that when you get shot it still hurts 40 years later, i might not have been so reckless. . .

Or maybe you would have been more reckless. We all have regrets about our past, but that's not the army's fault. The army has a right to advertise their group just like I have a right to advertise Teddy Bear Cannibal Massacre

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