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.… 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 »
trackback

[…] 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… 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… 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… 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… 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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