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U.S Air Force pushes recruitment campaign promoting female pilots as superheroes

March 7th, 2019

The U.S. Air Force has released an ad that is inviting women to join its ranks — by depicting them as superheroes.

The 30-second spot shows a series of clips of female pilots, some in the cockpit, others standing and staring the camera down.

“Every superhero has an origin story,” says the announcer.

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YouTube Screenshot/U.S. Air Force Recruiting Source: YouTube Screenshot/U.S. Air Force Recruiting

It’s a targeted effort to interest young women in enlisting in the Air Force.

And it’s a particularly timely ad considering International Women’s Day is March 8. There’s also the upcoming release of Captain Marvel, a female superhero and fight pilot that’s attracting international attention.

“We all got our start somewhere,” says the announcer. “For us, it was the U.S. Air Force.”

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YouTube Screenshot/U.S. Air Force Recruiting Source: YouTube Screenshot/U.S. Air Force Recruiting

It’s a significant step, considering that women were not permitted to enlist in the Air Force until 1976.

They weren’t permitted to become fighter pilots until 1993. Nowadays, the split between men and women in the Air Force is still roughly 80/20.

Currently, the U.S. Air Force along with the Marine Corps and the Navy are all floundering for more pilots, with about 25 percent less than they need. In light of this, they’re making every attempt to reach out to potential recruits. But their particular interest is in young women.

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U.S. Air Force Source: U.S. Air Force

And the effort is being led by a woman who has a vested personal interest in the issue: Brigadier General Jeannie Leavitt.

Leavitt was the first woman to become a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. Now, she’s leading the effort to get more women inspired to enlist.

Leavitt organized the ad spot, collecting 80 female pilots of every rank to appear. But their moment in the spotlight isn’t relegated to a 30-second ad spot. Each pilot is also featured on the U.S. Air Force website along with a personal biography.

“Female pilots serving in the U.S. Air Force reach new heights every day,” reads the site. “These women inspire everyone they meet and serve as reflections for young girls to set their sights higher than they think possible. Join them, wear the uniform, and know you’ll be inspiring the next generation.”

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YouTube Screenshot/U.S. Air Force Recruiting Source: YouTube Screenshot/U.S. Air Force Recruiting

The effort is continuing with coordinated showings of the ad spot throughout the first half of March.

Advertisers will focus on youth-dense markets and even show the spot in movie theaters.

It’s a timely release, considering the global attention the up-and-coming “Captain Marvel” movie is attracting. The movie will be released on March 8 and features Brie Larson as the titular character. It’s already attracted plenty of vocal opinions online for featuring a female superhero protagonist.

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Marvel Source: Marvel

Meanwhile, fans are quick to point out that the original Marvel comics featured a female Captain Marvel.

They say that complaints about the movie are not just sexist but also not in line with story canon.

The movie depicts Captain Marvel, the superhero persona of Carol Danvers, getting caught in a battle between two alien species. Danvers is also a fighter pilot, another connection with the U.S. Air Force ad.

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Source: The Drum, U.S. Air Force, Air Force’s Personnel Center, U.S. Air Force, YouTube

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