Late last night, I was on Face­book click­ing through inter­est­ing arti­cles my friends were re-post­ing. One in par­tic­u­lar caught my eye — not because of the title, but because of the pic­ture asso­ci­at­ed used to pro­mote the arti­cle:

I saw a Black wom­an and the phrase “twists are not autho­rized”, and I was hooked. I  jumped in full steam ahead, read­ing up on the new­ly approved Army Reg­u­la­tion 670–1 and pour­ing over each slide of the leaked Army Reg­u­la­tion 670–1 Lead­er Train­ing Pow­er­point. Amid the reg­u­la­tions about tat­toos, uni­forms, and facial hair for men, there were some not-so-sub­tle hints that the Unit­ed States Army doesn’t take too kind­ly to nat­u­ral hair. Take a look at the­se two slides in par­tic­u­lar:

Appar­ent­ly, the new reg­u­la­tions seek to cre­ate a uni­form pro­fes­sion­al and clean-cut image across the board for both wom­en and men. I have no qualms with that goal (in the­o­ry), but rather how it is defined.  As with most def­i­n­i­tions of “clean-cut” and “pro­fes­sion­al”, the reg­u­la­tions seem to specif­i­cal­ly tar­get Black wom­en — those with nat­u­ral hair in par­tic­u­lar. Twists and locs are out the win­dow. Wom­en with short to medi­um length hair are allowed to wear it out — except for if the bulk of your hair pro­trudes more than two inch­es from the scalp. That auto­mat­i­cal­ly dis­counts any­one with any sort of nat­u­ral­ly tex­tured hair. Our hair doesn’t hang until it reach­es a cer­tain length (and even then it tends to extend far beyond two inch­es from our scalps) — and it most cer­tain­ly doesn’t lie flat unless straight­ened.

Here’s what the Army Reg­u­la­tions say about wear­ing hair loose, as a point of com­par­ison:

What about those ladies with hair that is con­sid­ered “long”? Bun reg­u­la­tions stip­u­late that the bunned hair itself can­not pro­trude more than three inch­es from the scalp, and can­not be wider than the with of the wearer’s head. Again, anoth­er slight toward wom­en with thick, dense nat­u­ral hair. It should be not­ed that corn­rows and indi­vid­u­al braids are per­mit­ted, but there are of course, strict reg­u­la­tions on the size, length, and styling of the­se braid­ed styles.

What I find the most inter­est­ing is that weaves and wigs are per­mit­ted. Can some­one please explain the ratio­nale behind it being okay to rock a lace­front, but not twists? And how on earth is it pos­si­ble for exten­sions and wigs to have the same gen­er­al appear­ance as the individual’s nat­u­ral hair and con­form to the AR 670–1 guide­li­nes — when her nat­u­ral hair may be unau­tho­rized to begin with?

And last­ly, before you just write me off as mak­ing a big stink about noth­ing,  note that “most of the appear­ance and groom­ing chap­ter are puni­tive”. There are con­se­quences for non­com­pli­ance. I’d real­ly like to hear from the Ser­vice­wom­en out there on this one — because as far as what I can see, the­se reg­u­la­tions deem nat­u­ral hair as unfit for wom­en in the Army.

To read the full arti­cle and Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion on Army Reg­u­la­tion 670–1, vis­it:

http://www.armytimes.com/article/20140320/NEWS/303200060/New-Army-grooming-appearance-regs-leaked-online

 

What do you all think? Do the new Army Reg­u­la­tions sin­gle out wom­en with nat­u­ral hair?

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and liv­ing in Los Ange­les, Christi­na is BGLH’s res­i­dent tran­si­tion­ing expert and pro­duct junkie. In addi­tion to lov­ing all things hair, she is a fit­ness novice and advo­cate of wear­ing san­dals year-round. For more infor­ma­tion on tran­si­tion­ing, nat­u­ral hair, and her own hair jour­ney, vis­it maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pic­tures fol­low Christi­na on Insta­gram @maneobjective.

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196 Comments on "Do New Army Regulations Unfairly Target Women with Natural Hair?"

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Tia

Wow. This arti­cle has solicit­ed very heat­ed dis­cus­sion.

If you dis­agree with the pro­posed changes, there is a peti­tion avail­able. Please check it out and con­sid­er sign­ing:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/reconsider-changes-ar-670–1-allow-professional-ethnic-hairstyles/BnR900wx

kelcie

I’m in the mil­i­tary and I do agree that the hair regs are a lit­tle exces­sive. I just fol­low the rules and fluff my fro after hours or weekends/holidays. The­se rules only apply to you when you’re wear­ing the uni­form. Not a big deal. I have a career and at this point, a fam­i­ly to provide for.

Natalia

I’d have to agree with you. I think its a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive when you are IN (or around, in my case) the mil­i­tary ver­sus being a civil­ian. There is no such thing as indi­vid­u­al­i­ty when you put on that uni­form so this isn’t real­ly sur­pris­ing. I assume most peo­ple don’t under­stand that. The mil­i­tary is about con­form­ing and being one cohe­sive group.

I agree, when it comes to the mil­i­tary, do your job then express your­self when you are off the clock.

Mika

***There is no such thing as indi­vid­u­al­i­ty when you put on that uni­form so this isn’t real­ly sur­pris­ing. I assume most peo­ple don’t under­stand that. The mil­i­tary is about con­form­ing and being one cohe­sive group.

Okay, what does someone’s curly hair have to do with this, per say? I guess it’s not allowed in the military’s “strict” envi­ron­ment, just like gays use to not be. Don’t make me laugh. 100% Dis­crim­i­na­tion.

shareen
I think yall are miss­ing the point. The point is to have a pro­fes­sion­al appear­ance and naps are not pro­fes­sion­al. I’m black and my hair doesn’t grow UP wards it grows reg­u­lar­ly lol its an excuse some black wom­en use to not do their hair. That’s why there needs to be a hold put on the mess. It would be a riot if they couldn’t wear weave. Dreads are nice for some but not all so you have to pun­ish every­body to pre­vent those that always want to push the lim­its. Just like the hair col­or. If you know YOU… Read more »
Naturally Lovely

I don’t even under­stand what you just said.

shareen

It was in per­fect english…If you didn’t under­stand oh well. :)

Anon87

Lol you’re obvi­ous­ly a troll.

shareen

Obvi­ous­ly :) and you are obvi­ous­ly black *typ­i­cal for one to try and insult anoth­er* lol

Naturally Lovely

It’s their rules, rules can be changed. From what I see, the mil­i­tary is in a way a man’s world and it seems as though the reg­u­la­tions make it dif­fer­ent for wom­en peri­od, regard­less of eth­nic back­ground.

In my opin­ion, this isn’t a fash­ion show and if you don’t like it, don’t join the mil­i­tary. The line has to be drawn some­where and if they make allowances for some peo­ple, then they have to adjust some­where else and then it becomes about looks instead of serv­ing your coun­try.

Shane
I’d also like to add a per­spec­tive of some­one who serves in the mil­i­tary and has been around for a while… 15 years this Aug. I serve in Air Force so my expe­ri­ence is slight­ly dif­fer­ent because my Army sis­ters have always had to adhere to slight­ly stricter reg­u­la­tions than us Air­men. How­ev­er our reg­u­la­tions also do not allow for dread­locks nor twist­ed styles and we must also con­form to sim­i­lar length and bulk require­ments. With all that being said, I’ve always tak­en issue with how we as wom­en, black wom­en, are per­mit­ted to wear our hair but as stat­ed… Read more »
Alycia
Being a con­tract­ed cadet and future Air­man myself, who has to fol­low mil­i­tary reg­u­la­tions on days I wear my uni­form, I already knew about the no dreads pol­i­cy. That’s always been a rule for as long as I can remem­ber. But I think ban­ning twists as well is EXTREMELY EXCESSIVE! As long as they can be pulled back in a pony­tail, I don’t see the prob­lem!!!! But to be hon­est, I expect­ed this. Going on an army base repeat­ed­ly grow­ing up, for me it was com­mon to see young female sol­diers who did not always wear their hair in regs… Read more »
Primmest Plum

Hmm, I see a loop­hole in the wigs and exten­sions guide­li­nes.
It says:

“Exten­sions must have same gen­er­al appear­ance as individual’s NATURAL hair and oth­er­wise con­form to…” 

Now if you want­ed to, you could get an afro tex­tured or coily sew-in that’s about 9 inch­es. That’s if you real­ly want­ed to.
The­se reg­u­la­tions are unfair and biased. I’m will­ing to bet that they were writ­ten by old white men.

Nova

True say!

Nova
I’ve read through the arti­cle, and… I dun­no, I guess I’m pret­ty shocked — and not just by the restric­tions on nat­u­ral hair, either! :/ Talk­ing about the hair side of things first, I read through the new restric­tions from start to fin­ish and I had to laugh at how unfair­ly black wom­en had been tar­get­ed. When com­pared to the rest of the arti­cle, black FEMALE hair­styles (braids, corn­rows etcetera) take up more than 50% of the new reg­u­la­tions. That’s MORE THAN HALF of the chap­ter on women’s hair­styles, focus­ing SOLELY on BLACKS. Yet go back to the chap­ter on… Read more »
Nova
One oth­er thing I quick­ly want to add is that appar­ent­ly, any braid­ed corn­rows “must be done very tight­ly from the front of the head” in order to com­ply. How­ev­er, we all know that tight twist­ed or braid­ed hair­styles, par­tic­u­lar­ly when pulling from the front of the head, is pret­ty much the fastest way to get alope­cia — as well as the fact that tight hair­styles can cause sev­ere migraines which will obvi­ous­ly dis­tract an offi­cer on duty. If there’s one thing I think urgent­ly needs to be redact­ed, it’s that. Does any­body know who you would write to in… Read more »
Monica Kay

I’m all for being a nat­u­ral­is­ta in the work­place but the mil­i­tary is not a nor­mal work­place. The exis­tence of the army is based on obe­di­ence, con­for­mi­ty, com­pli­ance, & hier­ar­chy. They make that pret­ty clear when you sign up. If the rule is you can’t wear twists, you can bal­ly hoo as much as you like but you still can’t wear twists.

Nova
Yes, that’s true — but the rule also used to be that no wom­en were allowed to sign up to the army, no eth­nic per­sons were allowed to sign up to the army, no per­sons with curly hair of any eth­nic­i­ty were allowed to sign up to the army, and so on. It was only through a lot of “bal­ly hoo“ing that those restric­tions got changed. So if the­se rules appear to dis­crim­i­nate again­st peo­ple with afro-tex­tured hair (and look­ing through it seems to dis­crim­i­nate again­st curly haired wom­en in gen­er­al), we need to say some­thing about it so that… Read more »
Monica Kay
@Nova In my opin­ion, you can’t com­pare enlist­ment restric­tions based on reli­gion, sex, race, sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, and eth­nic­i­ty to groom­ing reg­u­la­tions. First, in times of war most of those restric­tions were set aside to boost the num­ber of enlis­tees (I had a great-grand­fa­ther serve in the Army dur­ing World War I). Peo­ple with curly hair were banned because one can always cut, shave or straight­en curly hair. I know you want to con­vince your­self that most of the peo­ple in mil­i­tary lead­er­ship are white males but Col­in Pow­ell (for­mer Joint Chief of Staff) isn’t a white man. Gen­er­al Lar­ry O. Spencer… Read more »
Mika

What you just wrote is so com­plete­ly stu­pid it burned my brain cells a lit­tle. You are one sick pup­py for defend­ing the mil­i­tary on this one. 

***Groom­ing regs (in the mil­i­tary) that sin­gle out afro-tex­tured hair are not dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Yes they are 100%. The mil­i­tary has a record of dis­crim­i­na­tion any­way, so you are not con­vinc­ing any­one. If they required every­one to shave their hair short then it would not be. Wigs and exten­sions allowed, but not someone’s nat­u­ral hair??? My god it’s not a fash­ion show.

Monica Kay

First, it is the mil­i­tary and it a vol­un­teer force. Enlis­tees choose to join and fol­low the rules. Sec­ond, the mil­i­tary is all about con­for­mi­ty. I don’t wear wigs and nev­er will but I can under­stand that they can be used by mil­i­tary nat­u­ral­is­tas to con­form to reg­u­la­tions.

I sor­ry that makes you feel some kind of way, but this is the career path some black wom­en have select­ed and I’m sure they will not put their advance­ment on the line for a hair­style.

JustJoy98
Ok, I am cur­rent­ly in the mil­i­tary with over 15 years in. The new reg­u­la­tion is offen­sive to me. I have a TWA no where near being close enough to bun. I refuse to hide my hair away with wigs and weave. To me hair my hair is about cul­ture, and i won’t change my cul­ture for the army. What I will do is read the regs thor­ough­ly and com­ply and yes find loop holes. Like by not pick­ing out my TO my hair isn’t bulky which voids that out. I ensure my coils flow down­ward so it’s about length… Read more »
Nova

Amen — I com­plete­ly agree with you. :) And also I am in awe of how long you have been in the mil­i­tary. I’m not in your coun­try (I’m from the UK) but I wish you all the best and con­tin­ued safe­ty and good health. :) xxx

Ajah

I think it’s rude and racist I don’t think wom­an of col­or who embrace their nat­u­ral hair should join the army…I mean it’s not like they are wel­comed with open arms .…just my opin­ion

Kiley

I see the reg­u­la­tions as com­plete­ly ratio­nal and real­is­tic. While I also am African Amer­i­can and have very tex­tured and volu­mi­nous hair, I don’t mind the reg­u­la­tions at all. The goal is for soi­diers to appear uni­form and be able to per­form excep­tion­al­ly. I do have a great under­stand­ing of the var­i­ous fields of work involved in the mil­i­tary; I can think of many sce­nar­ios where sol­diers would try to “push” the kind of reg­u­la­tions that are desired and turn hair into a dis­trac­tion and hin­der­ance to their per­for­mance.

Nova
Hi Kiley, I’m not sure why your com­ment was given a neg­a­tive rat­ing because you haven’t actu­al­ly said any­thing rude. I dis­agree with you in that I feel that this arti­cle was writ­ten by peo­ple who per­haps do not under­stand how black nat­u­ral hair actu­al­ly grows; how­ev­er as you say you don’t mind the reg­u­la­tions, may I ask what length your nat­u­ral hair is and how you keep it? You see I’m think­ing of join­ing the army as well, but my moth­er nev­er put any­thing oth­er than twists in my hair and so I have grown up with extreme­ly thick… Read more »
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[…] Army Reg­u­la­tions and Nat­u­ral Hair […]

Jo

Why does the army place this much empha­sis upon phys­i­cal appear­ance? It’s won­der­ful to be clean and ready to work, but this is quite a lot…

Kaila P
I agree with some of the rules, hav­ing the hair out whether white asian his­pan­ic black is a no no for many pro­fes­sions includ­ing the army for saftey rea­sons and honeslty some­times the hair just keeps you hot and gets in your way and also for safe­ty rea­sons. How­ev­er, I do believe that the twists and dread­locks thing is a bit exces­sive, yes uni­for­mi­ty is expect­ed and the­se are the rules of the army but will you real­ly jeop­ar­dize nation­al secu­ri­ty by not hir­ing some­one per­fect­ly capa­ble of serv­ing a coun­try because of their hair? real­ly? that’s ridic in my… Read more »
naya

I’m sor­ry but this arti­cle is fish­ing for noth­ing!!! Gosh why does every­thing have to be BLACK or WHITE? it’s just hair and if you want the free­dom to do your hair whichev­er way you want don’t join the mil­i­tary (and cer­tain indus­tries peri­od!!!!

cacey
did you even read the arti­cle? i think the point is that your only options in the eyes of uncle sam (if you’re black)are that you either must darn near shave your head or straight­en your hair or slap on a wig/weave (most prefer­ably one that is of a silky tex­ture, not one that actu­al­ly looks like high­ly tex­tured hair we nat­u­ral­ly pos­sess). cor­rect me if i’m wrong, but i think that’s the gist of the arti­cle. which isn’t fair, because if non-black wom­en are able to wear their own hair loose or even in a sim­ple bun and we… Read more »
naya
wow i didn’t think i was going to get such a respon­se!!! Thank you and I’m sor­ry if I offend­ed anyone…definitely not my inten­tion. I did read the arti­cle and I under­stood clear­ly what was being said. It seems to ME that it’s not about the “hair grow­ing out of your head” it’s the style you choose to do with that hair. Every style pro­hib­it­ed can apply to cau­casian hair. I know nat­u­rals who don’t do braids or twists, they are styles they just don’t care for. all i’m say­ing is if we claim nat­u­ral hair is so ver­sa­tile then… Read more »
Nova
Also, you have to remem­ber that this is a web­site about black and mixed girls with nat­u­ral hair. If you want me to spin this arti­cle so you don’t imme­di­ate­ly see colour, imag­ine a white wom­an with very long and curly hair also try­ing to adhere to the­se rules — it would again be extreme­ly dif­fi­cult for her. What this arti­cle seems to say, irre­spec­tive of race, is that who­ev­er runs the army sees very straight hair as the only way to go, and that as long as you have what they deem to be “nor­mal”, you are fine. For­get… Read more »
Nappy4C Rocks

umm, mixed girls…interesting

cala

Please explain how that’s “inter­est­ing”? Are you try­ing to shadi­ly sug­gest that this web­site is not also for mixed girls?

Ms Vee
@Dananana “I claimed my Black­ness in my last com­ment, but you just skipped right over that and start­ed imply­ing that I’m some­thing I’m not” How so? Did you not see me say you don’t have to be “pure” black? My stance is direct­ed to those like ja that will erro­neous­ly con­sid­er some­one bira­cial black. Since YOU don’t sub­scribe to the one drop rule then clear­ly you are draw­ing the line in some way. My ques­tion to you was a gener­ic, hypo­thet­i­cal one which flew over your head. I was not imply­ing what you are/not. The ques­tions sim­ply entailed that if some­one… Read more »
Dananana
Ms. Vee, I clar­i­fied my stance on admix­tures by say­ing that I was not a sup­port­er of the one drop rule in my pre­vi­ous com­ment. In sim­pler words, I think that if some­one who is hypo­thet­i­cal­ly half-Black and half Chi­ne­se should be able to claim both her­itages or nei­ther as they see fit. Fur­ther­more, I claimed my Black­ness in my last com­ment, but you just skipped right over that and start­ed imply­ing that I’m some­thing I’m not. Race is not as clear­ly defined through genes as it is in soci­ety. That was the main point I was try­ing to get… Read more »
Ms Vee
@Dananana “Do you seri­ous­ly have no under­stand­ing of genet­ics?” Do you? I love how you con­ve­nient­ly ignore that most White Amer­i­cans have some admix­ture. Why aren’t you mad that they don’t claim half whites? Why can’t a half black per­son “iden­ti­fy” with white or Chi­ne­se (Asian)? “I did a 23and­Me DNA test and found out that I’m over a quar­ter Euro­pean.” Okay…Are your HALF or more non-black? If so then what’s your point? You don’t have to be pure black but its peo­ple like you that make no effort to draw the line. And since your are over a quar­ter… Read more »
Dananana
Ms. Vee, Do you seri­ous­ly have no under­stand­ing of genet­ics? While I am by no means a sup­port­er of the one-drop rule, Black­ness is not a mono­lith, and peo­ple should iden­ti­fy in what­ev­er way feels right…meaning that yeah, mul­tira­cial girls can also be con­sid­ered Black. Hell, most Black Amer­i­cans are mul­tira­cial, and we don’t even real­ize it half the time. I did a 23and­Me DNA test and found out that I’m over a quar­ter Euro­pean. Am I still Black with wide cheeks, a wide nose, and most­ly kinky hair? You bet­ter believe it. Do some research before you spout that… Read more »
Ms. Vee

@ja and mika

That’s fine…just don’t com­plain when bira­cial wom­en remain the stan­dard of BLACK beau­ty. ;)

Mika

Why don’t you take a look at the about page which clear­ly says the site is for black and bi-racial wom­en.…

***Black Girl with Long Hair is a web­site ded­i­cat­ed to the ever-grow­ing com­mu­ni­ty of black and bi-racial wom­en who choose to wear their hair nat­u­ral­ly

http://blackgirllonghair.com/about/

ja

Wow, Ms. Vee, so you mean to tell me that a mixed girl is not also black? Nar­row mind­ed! Try to tell that to all the white peo­ple who see her every day! lol! Plus, some mixed girls have thick, very tight­ly kinky hair sim­i­lar to what any oth­er black girl might have, so where, pray tell, should they be look­ing for hair advice?!

Ms. Vee

@cala

…I direct you to the name of the web­site. Look at it and let it mar­i­nate in your mind.

Nova
Naya, the prob­lem with your respon­se is that whilst you may well have had some­thing con­struc­tive to say, it comes across as pret­ty hys­ter­i­cal with all the CAPITAL LETTERS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!! More impor­tant­ly, I’m not sure if you’ve read the arti­cle through in its entire­ty before see­ing red. What the author is talk­ing about is not “check it out guys, the army is racist” but “check it out guys, it seems that the men and wom­en who com­posed this arti­cle are so used to see­ing black wom­en with straight, relaxed or exten­sion braid­ed hair that they deem many of… Read more »
not_naya

Naya every­thing will ALWAYS be about race because that is what every­one else wants. You think you are above such things but none of us are unless one day the race issue becomes irrel­e­vant! As for me if I am not good enough with my hair, I will not fight for a coun­try that does not accept me. Addi­tion­al­ly I guess you will need to research the career you want based in your hair type and/or look! How low have we gone.…

Kira-lee

What indus­tries do you deem not fit for nat­u­ral hair? If it is just hair why should it mat­ter? The per­son fit to do the job should not depend on the hair grow­ing from their head but abil­i­ty to do what is required excep­tion­al­ly. Where I can some­what agree with your point is where hair would pose a secu­ri­ty and safe­ty risk for the per­son and those work­ing with said per­son. But a lawyer ot accoun­tant or dancer with a fro is no more or less capa­ble in their field BECAUSE of their hair.

Nerri
This is ridicu­lous and based sole­ly on igno­rance. They should just require every­one to have their hair in a bun or short. I’m sick of read­ing this stu­pid con­for­mi­ty crap????!!! To hell with that stu­pid shit, they should just go back to what they use to do and employ all straight white men! STUPIDITY run by some igno­rant m’fers! But of course as a paci­fist I’ve nev­er been in favor of the idea of mil­i­tary, or war like those con­ser­v­a­tive hicks.  I would nev­er want to be in the mil­i­tary with some igno­rant m’fer yelling com­mands in my face like boot… Read more »
Nova
You know what’s inter­est­ing? If you read the com­ments on the link to the full arti­cle, you can see that almost every sin­gle com­ment is com­plain­ing about the­se new reg­u­la­tions in some way. The gen­er­al opin­ion is that, as you’ve said, the army is about pro­tect­ing and serv­ing the coun­try — not about how pret­ty it looks. There are loads and loads of dif­fer­ent peo­ple com­plain­ing, the most com­mon com­plaint again being women’s hair and then also the new tat­too reg­u­la­tions. It’s prov­ing extreme­ly unpop­u­lar with pret­ty much every­body… BUT one thing I’ve noticed by read­ing the com­ments is that… Read more »
cacey

yeah i’m mad at the tat­too reg­u­la­tions, which def­i­nite­ly bar me from join­ing since i have a very vis­i­ble behind the ear tatt and a nape tatt. hasn’t stopped me from being pro­duc­tive in my own spheres of influ­ence, but can’t tell that to uncle sam since he seems to care more about what you look like as opposed to how much work you can get done and how good a job you can do.

Iva

Agreed. It’s a way to down­size the mil­i­tary. Look at the tat­too regs. There is no grand­fa­ther­ing in for enlist­ed men which means, to me, if you have a tat­too that was accept­able that is now not you have to leave the ser­vice.

Flynfab

Hon­est­ly if I ever joined the mil­i­tary I would just cut all my hair off and rock a twa or buzz cut. In the end it would be much eas­ier to deal with every­day and I wouldn’t have to wor­ry about it. It can always grow back after I left the ser­vice. Prob­lem solved.

Michele Antoinette

Buzz cuts are actu­al­ly out of reg­u­la­tions.. they believe it makes wom­en appear mas­cu­line.

transitioningchica

Or just throw a nice, short wig on!!!

transitioningchica

lol why the thumbs down? Not every­one wants to rock a twa, so a wig is a rea­son­able alter­na­tive! Def­i­nite­ly was not sug­gest­ing that Fly­n­fab must rock a short wig. She should rock that twa if she so choos­es! I was sug­gest­ing that, wom­en in mil­i­tary who want to grow out their hair could sport a wig instead of a twa.

shareen

I agree with the changes. Whether it’s geared for black wom­en or not. Black wom­en are known to take any hair­style and push it to the lim­it then get offend­ed. Nat­u­ral hair means unkempt for a lot of wom­en. Nat­u­ral hair is not for every­one and going nat­u­ral doesn’t mean nap­py but that’s exact­ly what it looks like. It’s about time the Army catch­es up to the oth­er ser­vices. I am an Army vet with nat­u­ral hair just in case some­one wants to attack me lol.

Monica Kay

@Shareen
Some­times, it is total­ly okay to keep your opin­ion to your­self.

L.P.
Recent­ly the Army has come up with a new reg­u­la­tion that gov­erns the where of hair­styles. A vast of which affect wom­en of col­or or of eth­nic descent . I’m ask­ing for your strong con­sid­er­a­tion and sup­port of this peti­tion the for recon­sid­er­a­tion of this army reg­u­la­tion. In short the reg­u­la­tion is dri­ving wom­en of col­or or eth­nic descent to con­form to a stan­dard that is not a nat­u­ral and cul­tur­al ele­ment of our way of liv­ing. If you’re inter­est­ed in see­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion for lead­ers which shows the pic­tures and the changes to the army reg­u­la­tion, I can send that… Read more »
dimples
I am a black wom­an with nat­u­ral hair and cur­rent­ly serve in the U.S. Army. This reg­u­la­tion effects all wom­en. Black wom­en are not the only wom­en with tex­tured hair. I am just glad the mod­els are Black wom­en. I have worn corn­rows, braids, french braids, etc all because I choose to keep my hair in its nat­u­ral state. Yes, I said choose. Being in the mil­i­tary is a choice as well. The Army does not accept every­one that applies nor should we focus on the hair style or groom­ing stan­dards that are not allowed. Its a stan­dard just like… Read more »
transitioningchica

Thanks for your ser­vice dim­ples!!

Xandria20
I’m giv­ing this a pass bc the mil­i­tary is not about the indi­vid­u­al. It’s about the group. In order to fos­ter group men­tal­i­ty, most areas of free expres­sion are reg­u­lat­ed. Grant­ed, afro hair is often dif­fi­cult to reg­u­late but when choos­ing to be in the mil­i­tary you are agree­ing to the ‘terms and con­di­tions’. There­for, you choose to keep your/ hair at a length that allows your buns/updos to con­form to reg­u­la­tions (no waist length hair goals dur­ing ser­vice) or wear a cropped cut. I don’t see this as unfair tar­get­ing. I see this as try­ing to create/maintain uni­for­mi­ty among… Read more »
naturallyme
Hav­ing served in the Air Force where this was their exact reg­u­la­tions. It seems the army has sim­ply adopt­ed what the rest of the mil­i­tary has always done. It may make it hard­er for wom­an with nat­u­ral hair to wear it to work. But the mil­i­tary is not about indi­vid­u­alal­i­ty. There is a lev­el that must be uni­form the reg­u­late the col­or your hair can be the style etc. I have seen peo­ple of all races called out on their hair. If any­thing black wom­en got more of a pass because it is accept­ed that it is more dif­fi­cult to… Read more »
Twinkle

Thank you! I am a vet too this is old news!

Hmmm

I’m won­der­ing if that changed, con­sid­er­ing I’ve seen nat­u­rals in the AF with all hair types from relaxed and straight, to dreads, twists, and braids. As long as it was neat and pre­sentable, there was no issue.

naturallyme

Because not every­one knows the regs are enforces them. I nev­er knew nor do I know now any­one I. The mil­i­tary with dreds. A girl had them in basic train­ing the made her cut them off.

Hmmm

That hap­pened in my basic too. They didn’t make her cut them all out, but they made her short­en them because her bun was too big.

Tabatha
You may­be a spouse, but are you a Vet? I agree about when you are out to sea or patrol that the reg­u­la­tions are to keep you safe. But its hilar­i­ous that this is about all WOMEN, NOT ONE COLOR. If a white woman’s hair sticks out she will be rep­ri­mand­ed the same way. I knew a Hawai­ian Girl hav­ing long hair is her cul­ture and she couldn’t keep it in bun reg­u­la­tions. She had to cut her hair. Where are her tears and screams of dis­crim­i­na­tion at? She’s not even black? I had a guy friend Souix Indi­an Straight… Read more »
transitioningchica

Good insight and great exam­ples. Thank you for enhanc­ing the con­ver­sa­tion!

JenniD

Good points and exam­ples. I think this is one of those things where you got­ta be involved to real­ly know whats up. As long as the rules apply to every man/ wom­an or race Its all good.

Tabatha
Ms. Christi­na Patrice I’m gonna have to write you off and in fact be con­tent with the knowl­edge that you are cre­at­ing an issue over noth­ing; ABSOLUTE FUBAR. I say this because I am speak­ing from per­son­al expe­ri­ence, not a REGS book. The­se reg­u­la­tions are not a BLACK or WHITE or OPRESSING of any­thing. This is safe­ty reg­u­la­tions. See you were only look­ing at a pic­ture. Which by the way they didn’t tell that ser­vice mem­ber to go get that hair style so they can show it as unau­tho­rized that per­son was already wear­ing it and used her as an… Read more »
Thetruthisoutthere

Well said. I was an HM2 and cosign on all you wrote. Many respon­dents will just not get it. I got sent to get a hair­cut to get it off my col­lar. The styl­ist dust­ed the ends, curled it in a flip and schooled me Good about what to expect!

JenniD
Tabitha your tone is a bit much. Yes we are civil­lians and don’t quite under­stand the whys and the hows of the way of the Mil­i­tary so cut us some slack. I agree that many of the­se “out law” hair­styles are a safe­ty issue. Hair can snag and get caught into things.You’re not in the armed forces to be “cute”. I’m sure poliece offi­cers have sim­i­lar rules and reg­u­la­tions for safe­ty rea­sons. From a prac­ti­cal stand point this is HOW IT SHOULD BE. I don’t think it as so much racist or fem­i­nist its just that when the law allowed… Read more »
MsKat
I’m pret­ty sure that wom­en with nat­u­ral hair do every­thing with­in their pow­er while on duty to keep their hair low-pro­file; it is, after all, the mil­i­tary, and they would not have joined if they couldn’t abide by the rules, includ­ing those regard­ing appear­ance. I’ve nev­er seen a uni­formed female offi­cer with­out her hair hav­ing a neat appear­ance, up and out of the way some­how so as to not draw exces­sive unnec­es­sary atten­tion to them­selves. That being said, I think the­se new rules are a bit extreme; what do we want the sol­diers to REALLY be wor­ried about-pro­tect­ing one anoth­er… Read more »
lauryn

1. I’m still try­ing to fig­ure out how this pass­es the com­mon sense test… all you would need is ONE black wom­an on the board to explain why this is cross­ing the line…

2. For those say­ing the mil­i­tary is about uni­for­mi­ty, you are WRONG. The mil­i­tary is about accom­plish­ing the mis­sion with dis­ci­pline and pro­fes­sion­al­ism. If the Army wants every­one to look alike, they should go ahead and rein­sti­tute their racist and sex­ist poli­cies of yes­ter­year and let only white men serve. Good luck hav­ing enough Sol­diers for the mis­sion with only them.

Twinkle

If the mil­i­tary isn’t about con­for­mi­ty then why do they have to dress the same,march the same,report the same and have to live their lives by the same rules and regs on and off post?

lauryn

As I said, the mil­i­tary is about accom­plish­ing the mis­sion with dis­ci­pline. Does corn­row­ing, rather than flat twist­ing, my hair make me a more dis­ci­plined sol­dier? Does it make me more pro­fes­sion­al? Is there some­thing unsafe about flat twists? 

Just think about it from a very prac­ti­cal per­spec­tive. The­se reg­u­la­tions are not about the type of con­for­mi­ty that leads us toward dis­ci­pline and pro­fes­sion­al­ism. The­se are the type that uphold one idea of “what a Sol­dier looks like.” That’s not real­is­tic in a mul­ti-gen­er­a­tional, mul­ti-racial, gen­der-inclu­sive force.

Twinkle

I under­stand what you mean but I hon­est­ly think those hair­styles are viewed as a dis­trac­tion. Sounds sil­ly I know but I real­ly do not believe this is a race thing.I’ve served in the mil­i­tary and have seen white wom­en get in trou­ble for their hair­styles on more than one occas­sion. I think that they do want peo­ple to look the same in mil­i­tary but it’s real­ly up to your command..some are more laid back than oth­ers

Tabatha
Miss thing I am so not wrong. If that is the case then why are we all in the same uni­form?! there is plen­ty of sense being made, but you don’t want to accept it. Just be hap­py that you haven’t served and most like­ly nev­er will. When its not war time the mis­sion isn’t real­ly there. Oth­er than to keep your head on a swivel at the home front. So why don’t you look up why the reg­u­la­tions are like that and edu­cat your­self. See your ances­tors just rolled over in their grave. They fought and died just so… Read more »
Twinkle

Excuse you but the mil­i­tary has plen­ty of mis­sions includ­ing good will mis­sions bring­ing aid all over ther world..not just war.

Hansy

You need to learn how to write before you tell some­body else to go edu­cate them­selves.

lauryn

“Just be hap­py that you haven’t served and most like­ly nev­er will.”

Tabatha, thank you for show­ing every­one on this blog how igno­rant you are. The Navy must be proud.

Sin­cere­ly,
Cap­tain Riley
ARMY, Mil­i­tary Police
Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom and Oper­a­tion New Dawn vet­er­an

crystalc

Amen!!!!

crystalc

Okay I swear I’m going back to work lol I can wear wigs too if I want to grow my hair. I’m not real­ly going to sweat it, there is ways around it.

crystalc

I’m going to keep my hair shaved I look bet­ter that way any­ways!

Tabatha
Girl you ROCK that shaved head! GI Jane style! That’s dope, but guess what. My ship mate did that and she was sent to mast. She didn’t want any issues about hair and we were in Dubai at the time and after our patrol (yes there are some navy boots in the sand)she went into the head and shaved off her hair! They took her mass the next morn­ing. *Shrug* I can’t remem­ber the arti­cle that they wrote her up with oth­er than nor­mal­ly dis­or­der­ly con­duct, but I didn’t think it was fair. They were dis­crim­i­nat­ing again­st her because she… Read more »
crystalc

Peo­ple make a big deal if I rock it shaved or my lit­tle TWA. I can nev­er win but its okay because there is more impor­tant things think about then hair.

crystalc

YES!!!! I’m a para­le­gal in the army and I’m sup­posed to be work­ing but I had to jump in this lol. When I saw this last week I thought they were tar­get­ing black wom­en. I was a lit­tle upset but I can find oth­ers ways to wear my nat­u­ral hair. I can’t wait to get out so I can grow dreads.

Tabatha
Crys­talc, You are total­ly one sid­ed. Its not tar­get­ing any­one. Its about safe­ty. I guess we black wom­en just choose unsafe hair­styles. I don’t know. I see safe­ty. you see dis­crim­i­na­tion. And yet as a para­le­gal why aren’t bring­ing up the dis­crim­i­na­tion on men. Why can’t men wear their hair the way they want. Why can’t they grow out their beards in uni­form. If you tru­ly feel that way then I think its time for you to get out. Don’t renew your EAOS. Hair styles is hair styles to me. I don’t care who the hair is on. why isn’t… Read more »
transitioningchica

Tabatha, I think peo­ple feel this is dis­crim­i­na­tion, because though some styles are banned for all, who typ­i­cal­ly wears them???? Who typ­i­cal­ly wears locs? twists? Euro­pean hair in its nat­u­ral state does not grow upward, but afro hair does. It is what it is, and those in the Army must abide by the rules, but no two ways about it, the rules inher­ent­ly dis­crim­i­nate again­st black hair.

snomama2014
I am a mil­i­tary wife and I DO NOT think this is okay. Every day I see black female sol­diers rock­ing their nat­u­ral hair. It doesn’t look out of place at all. I think the prob­lem aris­es when the­se wom­en are deployed in remote areas with no access to speci­fic hair care. Some start off in braids or corn­rows because of the need­ed get up an go fac­tor, but if they don’t know how to do the­se styles them­selves the only oth­er option with nat­u­ral hair will be to cut it. Even the ones who start off in relax­ers will… Read more »
Twinkle

Get over it..if you are in the mil­i­tary you are prop­er­ty of the military..period. Those are the reg­u­la­tions. I am a vet of the usaf and I’ve seen peo­ple of all hair types get in trou­ble for their hair..I per­son­al­ly hat­ed pulling my hair back but there is no oth­er choice. That’s why there is free time after work to wear it how you want.

transitioningchica

Twin­kle, thank you for your ser­vice to our nation!!

Twinkle

Why thank you Chi­ca!

smarie

This does appear to be dis­crim­i­na­to­ry. The most dis­crim­i­na­to­ry reg­u­la­tion, in my opin­ion, is the one pre­vent­ing wom­en from wear­ing hair that is more than 2″ away from the scalp. The eas­i­est way to han­dle is to cre­ate a caveat for nat­u­ral­ly curly wom­en, to wear their hair as it grows out of their scalp. The reg­u­la­tions regard­ing hair­styles are also dis­crim­i­na­to­ry.

Tabatha
How can it be dis­crim­i­nat­ing when its for all wom­en to abide by? Unfor­tu­nate­ly this arti­cle is one sid­ed and is not giv­ing the whole reg­u­la­tion. Men can’t grow their hair out either. They can’t even grow beards “Unless they are serv­ing long term in the Mid­dle East because they need to blind in for their own safe­ty. Us not look­ing like them in some way appar­ent­ly makes them kill us faster. My hus­band had to grow one when he was there. I still kept my corn­rows when I was there and there was no issues. I think you need… Read more »
transitioningchica

Inter­est­ing point Tabitha. I am inter­est­ed to know what the regs were 10, 15+ years ago. I can imag­ine they have changed a lot. Per­son­al­ly, I was sur­prised that they allow weave, exten­sions and wigs!!!

Zy

I hon­est­ly won’t even want to wear my hair out if I was in the mil­i­tary but Not even my tight­est of buns will be at 3 inch­es. and twist/locs vs braids I think is sil­ly … And we still are faced with the bun thing cause all 3 of those styles are thick on their own.

Tabatha
See if you can’t do a bun then you might be able to try a French twist if you don’t have braids or weave. I have real­ly thick kinky curly hair and when I wasn’t out to sea I did my hair in French twist ( some peo­ple say its a French bun, but I’ve always called it a French twist). We’re all adults so we know how thick our hair is so they leave it to us to keep it in reg­u­la­tions, so if nor­mal­ly your hair is super thick in buns then you might want to keep your… Read more »
iluvedges

how is the pay in the Army? oth­er than the GI Bill…I’m curi­ous

Tabatha
The GI Bill is for school and school alone. pay depends on your pay grade. You can look it up online. But don’t get excit­ed when you see the amount. Think about it this way. As a civil­ian you get your hourly wage what­ev­er it may­be. When you’re off you’re off right? Well in the mil­i­tary you work pret­ty much 24/7 365 days as long as you are enlist­ed. If your com­man­der or who ever is over you and calls you to come in, you need to come in or else you go to mast ( that’s what we call… Read more »
Shanna
They don’t want the hair to be stand­ing out. The mil­i­tary is not about indi­vid­u­al­i­ty. It is about con­for­mi­ty. Con­for­mi­ty is how they get every­one work­ing togeth­er like a well oiled machine for the good of the whole. The­se rules are def­i­nite­ly tar­get­ing Black wom­en but there are so many ways to look at this. The mil­i­tary, right now any­way, is vol­un­tary. When you join, your num­ber one pri­or­i­ty is to serve your coun­try not wor­ry about your hair. So if they want every­one to look the same with no hair stick­ing out of the hat,then that is what you… Read more »
lauryn

Actu­al­ly, the mil­i­tary is about fight­ing the nation’s wars. At least that’s what I thought when I joined in 2004. After 10 years, deploy­ments, pro­mo­tions, mul­ti­ple degrees paid for by the Army, awards, etc. you’re going to tell me my com­man­der should be wor­ried about me wear­ing flat twists?

Sor­ry sweet­ie, please take a seat.

transitioningchica

Lau­ryn, thank you for your ser­vice!!!! :)

Tabatha

Lau­ryn you take a seat and yes actu­al­ly you should I was there when it all start­ed way before you even thought about join­ing. At first I thought it was dumb to until I saw a girl lit­er­al­ly get her hair and scalp yanked off her head. Just because you didn’t see dan­ger doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You need to take a sit and while your at it twirl. You know that dan­ger can come from any­thing.

lauryn

Tabatha, why are you talk­ing about dan­ger??? The­se regs aren’t say­ing “hair must fit appro­pri­ate­ly under pro­tec­tive gear and head­gear.” That’s in anoth­er part of the reg. This post is address­ing STYLES and BULK, which have frankly noth­ing to do with safe­ty. I’m glad you were there before me, but unfor­tu­nate­ly I was only able to enter the force at 17. Thanks for paving the way, but I’ll keep stand­ing. The seats are for my elders.

niksmit

I find it inter­est­ing that quar­ter-inch sized corn­rows are allowed but no flat twists are allowed at all.

Tabatha

They con­sid­er it “fad­dish” Let’s not for­get this is for every­one not just black wom­an.

Knotty Natural
I don’t think it’s unfair; the mil­i­tary is all about uni­for­mi­ty and falling in line. As one who has been on many army bases, wom­en of all races and hair tex­tures have worn buns. For they type of work they do, I believe it’s more func­tion­al. As for the puni­tive reper­cus­sions, I think the guide­li­nes are laid out clear­ly enough that one will not suf­fer reper­cus­sions if the uni­form is fol­lowed. The only part I think may need to be revised the rule that states ” the bunned hair itself can­not pro­trude more than three inch­es from the scalp, and… Read more »
Anon87
You can wear a bun with twists though. I don’t under­stand the dif­fer­ence between hav­ing your loose hair in a bun and hav­ing twisted/ loc’d hair in a bun except the person’s pref­er­ence of style?  Quite frankly, the rules are not made with afro hair in mind. That may not be inten­tion­al, but it speaks vol­umes. They view straight (or typ­i­cal­ly “Cau­casian” look­ing hair) hair as “nor­mal” — any­thing oth­er than that is a “style.” I’m not say­ing it’s inten­tion­al, I’m actu­al­ly say­ing they’re prob­a­bly going by what they SEE. They see that the major­i­ty of black wom­en wear “straight hair”,… Read more »
lauryn

True! I’ve seen plen­ty of WAC pho­tos where the black wom­en were wear­ing neat­ly kept afros. That being said, the major­i­ty-white male pop­u­la­tion has no idea what our hair looks like in its “nat­u­ral” state, so they assume straight and fine is “nat­u­ral,” not kinky/curly and thick.

Stace

I com­plete­ly agree with you. They do view our hair as hairstyle/hairdos/haircuts as opposed to how it just nat­u­ral­ly is. I’ve been say­ing this for years. That’s why they are say­ing wigs and weaves are okay, because that’s what they see us wear­ing. This must be the ratio­nal because why would wings and weaves be okay but not twist/dreads or an afro? That wig or weave could fall out/off.Even nat­u­rals are using wigs and weaves to cov­er up (pro­tec­tive style) their hair.

Tabatha
Stace that is not true. Let me tell you why they say weaves are ok. Its because we wom­en made such a stink about it that they allowed it. It had noth­ing to do with that is what they saw us wear­ing. We caused a com­mo­tion about it. Now fast for­ward into the shoul­da coul­da would thought process if your weave should get snagged or god for bid catch fire your entire head will be messed up. If fatal­i­ty doesn’t hap­pen. So now they have to rethink the safe­ty. If they real­ly want­ed to they could keep us like the… Read more »
ja

Makes no sense — corn­rows are accept­able but flat twists are not?!?!? Small braids are accept­able but 2-strand twists are not? I guess you could resort to ringlets, if your hair does that, but WOW, so unfair to make unnec­es­sary restric­tions.

Stace

Yea I agree it makes no sense at all. I think “they” see twist and dreads as being the same thing,and lots of peo­ple still have neg­a­tive per­cep­tions about dread­locks and dread­lock wear­ers. I think because they can’t read­i­ly tell the dif­fer­ence between the two and that some peo­ple refer to dreads as twists, that they just lumped the two togeth­er and so no no no to both.

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