Army slammed for sexist “Military Makeup” campaign

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Sarah Biddlecombe

The British Army has come under fire for trying to encourage more women to join their ranks with the use of a misguided “Military Makeup” initiative.

The official Army recruitment channel has been targeting women across the country with adverts for events that include "girly” makeup tutorials, in which they can try out some “cam cream” and “take some selfies with Our Girls”.

One particular advert, posted on Facebook, was designed to attract women to visit the Army stand at the Girls' Day Out fashion and beauty show, held in Glasgow.

A message, which has since been deleted, read, “Ladies, have you been to our ‘Military Makeup’ stand at SECC #Glasgow yet? We’re here all weekend, so come and try out some Cam cream and take some selfies with Our Girls. Make sure you pop along to see us and ask your #ArmyJobs questions and to take some #selfies with the team. #ABetterYou #ItsanArmyGirlThing.” 

Imagery used in the British Army's Military Makeup campaign

Imagery used in the British Army's Military Makeup campaign

The advert was followed by a post containing images of women soldiers applying camoflage makeup, with a message from the 154 Scottish Regiment RLC reading, “The @GirlsDayOutShow has an all female recruiting @ArmyScotlandteam. Come and chat to our team. We want to know the girls behind the make up! We are searching for real beauty #SheWhoDaresWins.”

The post has also been deleted following criticism across social media. In a statement, Liberal Democrat equalities spokesperson Baroness Lorely Burt said, “If the Army thinks that some green make-up is the way to recruit women, they are very seriously out of touch with modern women.

“This kind of patronising gender stereotyping will do nothing to enhance the image of the army – to men or women.”

The Army has since apologised for the campaign, with a spokesman saying in a statement: “We’re proud that the Times placed us in its top 50 Employers for Women this year because we’re firmly committed to promoting equality.

“We regret any offence caused by this light-hearted appeal for visitors at a make-up fair to trial military camouflage.”  


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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Features Editor at Stylist

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