The Tailhook Convention Analysis

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The Navy has a tradition called the Tailhook convention, this is where Navy personnel meets up to discuss new weapons and developments. While the official events have a professional atmosphere, the social dimension - the “no-host” cocktail parties and all-night parties that take place after the official day did not. Historically, these parties proved to be an issue for attendees because of the sexual misconduct. Before the 1991 Tailhook convention, a letter warning the participants to be on their best behavior was sent out. In 1991, at least 90 men and women experienced sexual harassment and/or sexual assault (Violanti, 1997). Following the convention, all attendees, excluding the senior leadership, were interviewed to determine the causes…show more content…
The events that took place at the Tailhook convention show the exacerbated effects of Navy men’s inability to communicate or respect women or civilians. As shown, when a Naval officer says his tags give him the right to bite women and the lack of intervention when women are assaulted or support when they report. (Violanti, 1997). This shows that Navy men are unable to speak with others and that they have given themselves and excuse to treat others that they believe are not of equal status. Navy men also assume that women occupy lower position levels in the Navy, as seen when an employee of the Tailhook Association was assaulted. The harassment is particularly nasty display of sexism; the women were attacked as women. There is a clear assumption that women did not qualify for equal esteem with men – that they were powerless, and that they could be degraded through ridicule of their sex (Conrad, 1998). Overall this shows the larger…show more content…
One way that the military could combat this would be a stricter screening process to get into the Navy. The military already screens for criminal backgrounds so they could also screen for sex crimes. Legal change must take place for widespread change by changing negative normative beliefs in the Navy such as beliefs about gender, sex, and culture. This cultural issue that has been perpetuated by an “annual tradition… to harass women physically and verbally” (Violanti, 1997). It has allowed for the demeaning behavior and attitudes towards women in uniform to exist. They need to have their policies and commitments translated into action. The Navy, took the first step in correcting this culture by distributing materials to inform members of what constituted as inappropriate behavior and by having officers educate others about what is appropriate, but it all needs to be translated into action (Conrad, 1998). One way to do this would be to change the rewards system to a performance-based one. This will create change and add credibility. If the military collects data on the number and proportion of people what are promoted breaking the data down by gender, race, and ethnicity while publishing it, that will give them more credibility and insight a change in the Navy. The most important part is that the only way that

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