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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.

Originally posted to Military Community Members of Daily Kos on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:48 AM PST.

Also republished by Kossack Air Force, DKos Military Veterans, and Sluts.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If you want to let the AF Times know what you (38+ / 0-)

    think, they are looking for responses. Please email opawlyk@airforcetimes.com, and include your rank, command, and where you are stationed.

    Help a Milwife win the Photobucket contest - Please Share, Like, and Comment, not necessarily in that order!

    by angelajean on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:40:51 AM PST

  •  I applaud the effort n/t (10+ / 0-)

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:04:07 AM PST

  •  Different commands different standards (4+ / 0-)
    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.
    When I was in the Army (91-96), when we had inspections I had to take down my PG-13/R Girly posters, so to say it won't affect service men and women is naive.

    I agree with the initiative taken, just don't make barracks (dorm) life any more miserable than it already is.  There is no privacy, your space is not yours (constantly reminded of that).

    As for the workplace, there shouldn't be a single scrap/bit/iota of anything that could be considered harassing in any way.

    I applaud what the Air Force is doing, I just hope it is implemented properly.  Because when a initiative from this high comes down, by the time it hits the lower ranks/commands you would be surprised how much different the final results look at times.

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:04:16 AM PST

    •  There is always a debate about dormitories. (7+ / 0-)

      It's tough. I'm all for freedom within a person's room and since more and more dormitories are private and no longer shared spaces, it should be easier to make that happen.

      We talked a lot about this when it came to alcohol... a lot of underage drinking goes on off-base because they couldn't drink in the dorms. But then they would get caught drunk driving. I've always wished they turned a blind eye at the dorms so that the drunkenness could stay in one place and far away from vehicles.

      Help a Milwife win the Photobucket contest - Please Share, Like, and Comment, not necessarily in that order!

      by angelajean on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:11:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah private dorm rooms AF priviledge (3+ / 0-)

        The Air Force standard of better living conditions (yeah as an Army guy I was jealous of that)

        I never had a private barracks room :(

        Heck at Ft Hood, we were stacked 3 to a room, in the same building type, same room type, the AF put in only ONE Airmen/Airwomen and they got a stipend for living in SUBSTANDARD HOUSING on top of being the only occupant!

        As for underage drinking, I joined when I turned 21 and so I could legally drink when a lot of my friends couldn't. Drinking in the barracks was not allowed, so I kept a cooler full of ice and beer in my car trunk.  Still got busted for drinking in an unauthorized area :( But I was being RESPONSIBLE! (It didn't help as I thought since I was 21 I was in the clear and stalled so my underage friends could get away)

        What is worse is that when I did go out drinking, I drove and never was caught, even as I drunk-drove through the main gate at the same base as the MP waved me through

        Talk about dangerous and STUPID (I have grown up a lot since then)

        Talk about backwards, I get busted for trying to act responsible, but not busted for doing one of the most stupidest things on earth!

        Anyways, I agree with you about drinking in the barracks where it would be a LOT safer for everyone (including innocent bystanders)

        Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

        by Mannie on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:21:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No drinking in the barracks? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mannie, angelajean, Cassandra Waites

          Balls. I was at Fort Sill 93-96 and we got pretty wasted every and all weekend in the barracks. Monday morning you just hoped it wasn't your section's turn to clean the restrooms.

          And being artillery (no females) we had porn pretty much everywhere. In the field the inside of our vehicles was wallpapered with naked pics. The barracks not much different. It took a brave or stupid guy to bring his girlfriend to the barracks. I wouldn't let my sister even come to them when my family would visit.

          "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

          by just another vet on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:27:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So what do you think about all of this... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mannie, just another vet

            it means no more plastering public places, even the dorms, with porn. Do you think this would work in today's Army?

            Help a Milwife win the Photobucket contest - Please Share, Like, and Comment, not necessarily in that order!

            by angelajean on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:30:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wrestle (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mannie, angelajean, boadicea, GreenMother

              with this and women in combat arms in general. I have no doubt they can handle it. None at all. That said I also remember being there, being young and stupid. We didn't have to worry about sexual harassment. Well, it did happen, but only when we interacted with other units (headquarters) and more than once several people got article 15s from what happened.

              If the military is going to integrate more then this is what needs done. To be completely honest I am glad I didn't have to deal with it. Different times.

              So I really don't know. One of the things I appreciated about being in was the camaraderie. Yes we kicked the shit out of each other every chance we got. Yes the jokes were often sexist, even racist. Yes we partied too hard, spent too much time and money on strippers and prostitutes. But we had each others backs in the end.

              Having rambled through all that, I think its all about getting the men to do the right thing. And maybe this generation is better at that than mine was.

              "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

              by just another vet on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:49:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Difference in commands (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            angelajean, just another vet

            Especially the Men only ones (ie Artillery, Infantry, etc.) and the others like Signal Corps (Communications like I was in)

            I heard the horror stories of the type you were in, especially the from the five jump chump crowd that spent time at Ft. Bragg (like how low the age of consent was in NC at the time and the naive girls they lured into those types of barracks)

            For those that do not know five jump chump refers to someone who got their wings and then never jumped again.  I heard that term from a real Airborne guy I was stationed with and he had over 200 jumps to his credit

            Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

            by Mannie on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:34:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I could share (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mannie

              some stories but not the appropriate venue. You want to know what we thought back then? I will give one example, relating to how we 'joked' about women and what our standards were: Nine to ninety and big eight year olds. Blind, deaf and dumb, and if they can't walk we'll carry them.

              Knew more than one guy who got caught with an underage girl.

              Of course overseas that was not an issue.

              "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

              by just another vet on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:53:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  When I graduated from high school, (5+ / 0-)

          it was still legal to drink at 18 on base. A friend of mine with a dependent ID used to take friends on base to drink. Luckily, they never got caught drunk driving. Not sure they ever got legally drunk either but I'm sure when the brass decided to raise the drinking age, this kind of issue was brought up.

          Totally off topic, but since it's my own diary, I think the drinking age should be 18. Kids are drinking anyway and they're doing it far more dangerously because they binge when they have access.

          Help a Milwife win the Photobucket contest - Please Share, Like, and Comment, not necessarily in that order!

          by angelajean on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:33:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm in favour..... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mannie, angelajean

        ...excuse the spelling, the sig line rather gives it away...but bang goes my collection of vintage WW2 nose art!

        'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

        by shortfinals on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:24:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  the WASPS tested those planes (4+ / 0-)

          Love the nose art - just wish there was honesty about sex.  I'm going to go deal with my PTSD now.  Too many horror memories.

          The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers. - The Communist Manifesto

          by nolagrl on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:34:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  :( (0+ / 0-)

            Should have put a trigger warning?

            I forget and then kick myself later.

            Help a Milwife win the Photobucket contest - Please Share, Like, and Comment, not necessarily in that order!

            by angelajean on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:37:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  YES. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            just another vet, angelajean

            The thing that scares me is that whenever there is an attempt to moralize the setting, what ends up happening is that women bear the brunt of a Victorian attitude regarding female sexuality.

            As long as no one thinks you have it, then you will be just fine. But if you do, best bring enough for everyone.

            That kind of "help" women could do without.

            The incessant bitching that took place too, by males, because they had to be all "boyscouty and stuff" because the women were around---Oh you just couldn't win!

            The example has to come from the top, it has to be consistent and repetitious.

            If you have male command figures stating that the new regs, "Make Them Do this" when they half assed, enforce the rules, then the stuff won't stick. The message there isn't to stop, the message is simply, "Don't Get Caught" and if you can get her to quit, all the better.

            One giant way that women are objectified without any pictures at all, is simply this notion that they are not allowed to desire sex unless they are willing to give up the power to say no or to draw boundaries ever again. So getting rid of items that are perceived to objectify women should be counterbalanced with the distinct understanding that women are allowed to be fully cognizant sexual beings without shame.

            Otherwise this attempt to avoid visual objectification will simply be a repeat of past failures.

            This whole notion has to go. Women and Men should be encouraged to be educated about sex and sexuality, about STDs, Pregnancy, and taught how to feel comfortable saying yes or saying no--whichever answer they need to render.

            Rape and Coercion also need to be discussed.

  •  Reminded me of a situation (12+ / 0-)

    at one of my AF duties locations, we had locked file drawers to put our personal items.  Right above mine, the owner put one of those girlie pictures on his own locker.  One day as I was getting into my locker just before my shift, my civilian supervisor walked by and realized what I had to look at each time I used my locker.  My supervisor was appalled.  That picture disappeared and neither it nor one like it ever appeared again.

    That is the type of leadership that General Walsh is looking for.

  •  One day I was in the restroom and a SSgt (10+ / 0-)

    asked if she could talk with me.  I was the ranking enlisted woman in the building.  She explained how a TSgt had groped her, and how he had done the same with a Senior Airman.  They had told the two Captains in the department about it the first incident, and the Captains were keeping it in house.

    I asked if the TSgt could be in the clean room (Vacuum seal entry with a warning light) with one of the one or two stripers and no one else.  She said yes.

    I caught up with the senior Captain and explained that he had no choice, but to bring this to the Colonel's attention.  He knew me well enough to know that I would let him do it, but if it wasn't done, then I would bring it to the Colonel's attention and he would be punished along with the TSgt.  A week later the Colonel was announcing at commander's call that he was punishing the TSgt and expected all to adhere to AF standards.  

    I'm hoping the AF still has those kinds of Colonels around and they will get through this.

  •  While they're at it (11+ / 0-)

    The need to remove the semi-official Christian proselytizing too.

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:05:13 AM PST

  •  That's why they call it the Air Farce (Go Navy!) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, just another vet

    Everyone is crying out for peace; no one's crying out for justice...

    by mojave mike on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:13:29 AM PST

  •  All the protest here about men wanting (10+ / 0-)

    to keep their porn in their dorms makes me very uncomfortable. Just look at any statistic about women in the army - how an incredibly high percentage of women are raped, sexually assaulted and/or sexually harassed on a daily basis. It's a miracle that women are such amazing troopers who, I'm sorry to say, still want to join the forces and live in this mostly antiquated, misogynist environment that is filled with pigs. The amount of women being raped and being told to shut up about it because it would taint the army's "image" is astounding.

    So comments whining about how trying to eliminate the rampant sexism would destroy the "camaraderie" (another misogynist idea, that women in the army are party crashers who ruin the manly men's bonds), would make life even more miserable for male soldiers (what about the thousands of victims of sexual assault who are told to shush and still serve despite all of the injustice?), would take away anyone's rights to have porn... I'm sorry, but that's frankly disgusting. I'm sure it used to be the norm to think like that, but seriously: these people are trying to make the army better for women - this is not about you. This is the 21st century and you're talking like the bigots who think gays will undermine team cohesion and make soldiers afraid of one another.

    Grow. Up.

    Objectifying women and general misogyny are so fundamentally ingrained in society (culturally but also institutionally) it's "par for the course" for every single female in this so-called civilized country to experience serious impediments to leading a normal, healthy life every single day, 24/7. Women in the army are, on top of that, abused like it's (even more) the norm. You think you have problems?

  •  Playmates not bunnies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, GreenMother

    Off topic but minor clarification, the women photographed in Playboy magazine as the centerfold are "Playmates".

    The women who dress up in the bunny costumes and work at playboy venues as wait staff are the bunnies.

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