Inspections happen all the time in the Air Force, at every level. Your new recruit has to make the bed properly and your most seasoned Chief Master Sgt. has to show that his records are all in order. The most golden of butter bars (that's a second lieutenant in case you didn't know) has to stand at attention in front of his troops when the command walks by and even the generals, yes the generals, stand a little taller when the Inspection Team shows up to rifle through documents to make sure everything is up to code.
But this inspection is a little bit different.
As of yesterday, it is no longer acceptable to have items in the work place that objectify women.
Thank you General Mark. Welsh.
As reported by the Air Force Times, all Active, Reserve, and Air National Guard units must complete inspections for illicit material by December 17th. Happy Holidays!
If you're a woman, this news probably comes with a big sigh of relief. Or maybe that just happened to me. I can be a little gullible when it comes to taking steps in the right direction. I was tickled pink to hear that this was going on until I shared the news with my husband. He said something that surprised me, "That's old school."
I had to stop and think for a moment. I guess this kind of action is "old school." But when my husband joined the military over 22 years ago, he could never have imagined online pornography or the rampant sharing of compromising photos via cellphones and social media. Today's society embraces the objectification of women more than ever and so it shouldn't come as a surprise that what had been pushed into hiding in desk drawers or behind closed doors 20 to 30 years ago has slowly seeped back into a public arena.
And if you think this is just about calendars and magazine covers, think again. It's about slides in power point briefings and skits at the holiday party. Gen. Welsh has spoken to enough women who have felt like they just had to put up with, shall we call it, minor harassment, in order to make it in the workplace. Offensive images and comments just became a normal part of the day for many women. No more.
Gen. Welsh sees a direct connection between this kind of behavior and the assaults and abuses that have been taking place in military circles:
“In my view, all this stuff is connected. If we’re going to get serious about things like sexual assault, we have to get serious about an environment that could lead to sexual harassment. In some ways this stuff can all be linked,” Welsh said Dec. 4. “I’m not saying every case is linked, but it could be linked, and why would we want to tolerate there even being a chance of that?”Just in case you're concerned that this will turn into some kind of freedom of speech issue, think again. They are not after people's personal items. No pockets and no personal drawers. This could be an issue when it comes time to inspect the dormitories. If guys still want their Playboy bunnies, they'll still have them, they just can't have them posted in a place where their buddies can see them. And they certainly can't have them in the desk drawer at work. This latest action won't prevent the Class 6 or the Post Exchange from selling pornography from the top rack either. Cosmo magazine will still be sold and the Victoria Secret's Catalog will still arrive in on-base mailboxes.
As Gen. Welsh says, “If the commanders during this inspection find things that cross the line between stupid and criminal, I expect them to do their job within all the appropriate guidelines and authorities that they have to do that,” he said.
If you think that this is overblown - then I want you to visit Youtube. I won't post the video here, but the link is yours to visit if you would like. This isn't an Air Force example but a Navy one. But don't kid yourself... this is the kind of crap that we have been fighting of late. And it happens in all services.