Skip to main content

Do New Army Regulations Unfairly Target Women with Natural Hair?

• Mar 25, 2014

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?

About 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.

Leave a Reply

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

Notify of
avatar
ja
Guest

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
Guest

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.

Knotty Natural
Guest
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
Guest
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 »
Stace
Guest

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
Guest
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 »
lauryn
Guest

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.

niksmit
Guest

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

Tabatha
Guest

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

Shanna
Guest
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
Guest

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.

Tabatha
Guest

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
Guest

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.

transitioningchica
Guest

Lauryn, thank you for your service!!!! 🙂

iluvedges
Guest

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

Tabatha
Guest
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 »
Zy
Guest

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
Guest
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 »
smarie
Guest

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
Guest
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
Guest

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!!!

Twinkle
Guest

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
Guest

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

Twinkle
Guest

Why thank you Chica!

snomama2014
Guest
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 »
crystalc
Guest

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
Guest
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
Guest

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.

crystalc
Guest

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

Tabatha
Guest
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
Guest

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
Guest

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.

lauryn
Guest

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.

crystalc
Guest

Amen!!!!

Tabatha
Guest
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 »
lauryn
Guest

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

Hansy
Guest

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

Twinkle
Guest

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

Twinkle
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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

MsKat
Guest
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 »
Tabatha
Guest
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 »
JenniD
Guest
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 »
Thetruthisoutthere
Guest

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!

Tabatha
Guest
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 »
JenniD
Guest

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.

transitioningchica
Guest

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

naturallyme
Guest
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 »
Hmmm
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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.

Twinkle
Guest

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

Xandria20
Guest
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 »
L.P.
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest

Thanks for your service dimples!!

shareen
Guest

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
Guest

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

Flynfab
Guest

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.

transitioningchica
Guest

Or just throw a nice, short wig on!!!

transitioningchica
Guest

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.

Michele Antoinette
Guest

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

Nerri
Guest
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
Guest
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 »
Iva
Guest

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.

cacey
Guest

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.

naya
Guest

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!!!!

Kira-lee
Guest

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.

not_naya
Guest

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.…

Nova
Guest
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 »
Nova
Guest
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
Guest

umm, mixed girls…interesting

cala
Guest

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

Ms. Vee
Guest

@cala

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

ja
Guest

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?!

Mika
Guest

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/

Ms. Vee
Guest

@ja and mika

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

Dananana
Guest
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
Guest
@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
Guest
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
Guest
@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 »
naya
Guest
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 »
cacey
Guest
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 »
Kaila P
Guest
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 »
Jo
Guest

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…

trackback

[…] Army Regulations and Natural Hair […]

Kiley
Guest

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
Guest
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 »
Ajah
Guest

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

JustJoy98
Guest
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
Guest

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

Monica Kay
Guest

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
Guest
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
Guest
@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
Guest

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
Guest

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.

Nova
Guest
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
Guest
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 »
Primmest Plum
Guest

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
Guest

True say!

Alycia
Guest
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 »
Shane
Guest
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 »
Naturally Lovely
Guest

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.

shareen
Guest
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 »
Anon87
Guest

Lol you’re obviously a troll.

shareen
Guest

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

Naturally Lovely
Guest

I don’t even understand what you just said.

shareen
Guest

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

kelcie
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

***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.

Tia
Guest

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

Active duty
Guest
I see a lot of comments are coming from people that are not in the military. I have been in the Army for 8 years and I’m a female that’s natural but I wear sew-ins and a occasional wigs. As we all to do the job we do you have to take orders and listen and abide by rules and regulations if you don’t you can get out or never join the military at all. So with that being said if they say no hair bulky over 2″ well that’s what is going to happen. You can not for bulky… Read more »
Monica Kay
Guest

@Active Duty,

I’m not in the military but I totally understand your point.

Hope
Guest

Black women should not be in an army that defends and promotes and this white supremacist and patriarchal society any way!

Monica Kay
Guest

Note to self: Remove the words should and should from your vocabulary.

Black women have the right to join any organization they wish to join. While the military isn’t for me, I know that it can offer unparellaled opportunities for training, education, leadership and service that some women would not have access to otherwise.

What’s the point of belittling someone’s occupational choice because of grooming regs.

Kellee*aka*justleavingacomment
Guest
Kellee*aka*justleavingacomment

Why would a so-called black person in 2014 still be trying to be in the AmeriKKKan military??? Take your hair and your talents elsewhere, duh! Also, stop feeding your children lies and pipedreams about equality in Amerikkka so that they don’t wind-up getting the same repetitive slaps in the face that you do. Don’t sign-up. Simple as that. Please wake-up. WE HAVE REAL CHOICES! Make the right ones. We have at least that much power.

Anon87
Guest

100% agree. Mohammed Ali’s reasons for refusing to join the military pretty much sums it up for me. Although I know this is an entirely different debate…

Mariah
Guest
So we must choose to not serve our country and not to do the things we want to do, simply because someone gives us a hard time about it? Honestly, choosing not to join the army for these reasons doesn’t make you smart- it makes you look weak. You’re only running away from the problem, not solving it. We can banter all we want but it’s up to the women who are actually a part of the army to make sure their voices are heard because they are the ones who are directly affected. Also, we SHOULD be encouraging our… Read more »
Cee
Guest

Thank you for your comments here. As a Soldier, we do not have the option to separate from service. We are under contract and after a specific number of terms your obligation is indefinite. I enjoy serving my country. Isn’t that what freedom is all about?

KC
Guest
I totally disagree with your comment; but as a black natural female serving in the army that is what freedom is all about. You have the right to post your negative ignorance whenever you please. Running from the issue is never the answer and teaching children that is even worse. If that was the case we would not have gotten this far as black people if we depended on people with your mindset. Anyways, it is coming off as raciest and I was pissed and I still am because I currently have 2 strand twist and as a black female… Read more »
Unfortunate
Guest

I am so glad that this AR caught the eye of black girl long hair. I am currently in the service and some of us naturals were disappointed with these regulations. It’s almost as if they are deeming us naturals as unprofessional or our hair has an “unkempt” appearance and sadly I am getting heavy critism from my own kind (black women) who are either blatantly or subliminally suggesting that I perm my hair if I intend to be taken seriously in my career…

Jones
Guest
I’m in the Army, have been for 8 years, a Drill Sergeant & I’m a black woman. Of course I’m always up to date on reading regs so I can know exactly what to tell my soldiers. As I read the revised AR 670–1, my mouth dropped!!! All I could say was, “I’m out of reg, I can’t believe I’m out of reg”. I’m natural & I have two — strand twists & I’ve worn them for a while and it’s never been a problem before. What’s the problem now??? Can I do my job? Yes. Does the way I… Read more »
Marlena
Guest

Thanks for your honest opinion as a natural in the military. Thanks for serving our country.

the gypsy life
Guest
It’s my understanding that these regulations were put into place because of safety provisions. Something about gas masks not being able to properly fit over certain styles, which can ultimately threaten a soldier’s life or ability to fight. I have to say, after reading these provisions, and reading the comments, we need to find something better to do w/ our time. If you have the desire to fight in the military, the loss of hair styles, should be the LEAST of your concerns. Your in the army to serve our country, not to make a fashion statement, or have the… Read more »
Esther
Guest

I agree with you. After years of fighting for equality in the armed forces particularly as a black woman or any woman for that matter because the men see our presence as a threat or weakness, fighting hairstyles should not be an issue. Heck Id scrape my natural hair off if I have to. Because I am that passionate about being a Soldier not a natural hair style icon.

Afrochelle
Guest

Heck Id scrape my natural hair off if I have to.”

But why should you have to? This isn’t about vanity. It’s about racial equality. Which is worth fighting for.

cnj
Guest
Women aren’t taken seriously in the armed forces because of sexist jerks like you. People like you piss me off. Just because you don’t care doesn’t mean others shouldn’t. Just because you are a sheep and don’t question authority doesn’t mean others shouldn’t. It is OK to ask why.Especially when the reasoning seems off. How is it vain to question why someone cares so much about vain things? Clearly, the army isn’t doing this for safety because they allow loose hair, weaves, and wigs. This is about looks. This about the army caring too much about appearance. So how is… Read more »
Michele Antoinette
Guest
This has been the navy regulations for some time and I had a talk with my mti about this and she sat there, a white woman with some of the straightest hair I’ve ever seen and said it’s not targeting black women because I (meaning her) can’t dye my hair purple and cut it into a Bob if I wanted to. Face palm moment. She thinks that her not being able to dye her hair purple is the same thing as them saying the way that my hair naturally grows from head is unprofessional while simultaneously outlawing over 90% of… Read more »
Fran
Guest

I have worked in acute mental health and although I am not a service woman, I have seen a few women being grabbed by their hair; one in particular had a chunk ripped out and had some thinning/ bald patch as a result. I guess it’s a safeguard, more than discrimination.

Peggy
Guest

How is that a safeguard? None of us are allowed to have hair below our collar, if it is longer it must be secured in a bun so regardless of if the woman’s hair is straight or twisted, it shouldn’t be available to grab.

Schureen
Guest
I’m so happy to see this article!! I’m in the Navy and a friend of mine just forced to shave her head bald a few weeks ago because her hair was “out of regs” she had dreads for 5 years…been in the military for just as long. The regulation stated “widely spaced locs are unauthorized” but hers were not-which is why she was able to keep them for so long! But one day a man told her they didn’t look good and she needed to look “like everyone else” so he made her shave them. Everyone else is white with… Read more »
Meliieboo
Guest

Focus on what you can do. Two braids on either side of head, with a part down the middle.
Or read between the lines. Three-strand twists also seem to be allowed.

Schureen
Guest

Unfortunately those options are not in regulations as well (I’m navy) I’m going to have to just cornrow it up and use the duty free weekends to rock my natural hair however I choose

ND
Guest
I just joined the army and last night I found out about the hair regulations and was very upset so I talked to my mom about it. I thought I would be good with just wearing my 2 strand twists and tying them back into a small bun and it honestly is very disappointing. Now I’m wondering are micro braids ok even though I really didn’t want to wear them all the time. I just really want them to change the twists thing and when you have other black women who may not agree with wearing natural hair that makes… Read more »
trackback

[…] Do New Army Regulations Unfairly Target Women with Natural Hair … http://blackgirllonghair.com/Doesn’t it strike you as INCREDIBLY odd that next to nothing has been said about black male hair, but as much emphasis has been put on natural female hairstyles as it has been put on the male “punk” hairstyles? If we’re … […]

FineAuto
Guest

There is a petition circulating on WhiteHouse.gov to reconsider the AR 670–1 changes before they are implemented. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated with spreading the word and signing the petition. Anyone can sign the document. Thanks!

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

Kendra
Guest
I am a woman of color in the military with natural hair and i do believe that some of these regulations are targeted toward women with natural hair. I understand why you should not have a fro, coils, or curls because it will pretrude from your cover and cause issues in donning mask but there is no reason that dreads or twist should not be allowed. It is crazy how weaves, wigs, and box braids/ individuals are excepted but natural styles such as twist and dreads are not. Dreads and twist can be done just as neat as box braids… Read more »
Raygon Fields
Guest
I’m an Air Force veteran, but when I was enlisted my hair was relaxed. This is not a crusade worthy topic and Black hair in the military won’t be a top priority. When one makes the choice to serve, no matter the branch they are committed to, you’re life is not your own. These manuals and regulations are available to prospects prior to enlistment, so signing up is a choice. That is why there’s basic training and other methods to recondition a civilian into military life. When your four years is up, you have again a choice to stay in… Read more »
Raygon Fields
Guest
I suppose the feedback for my comment is negative, because I chose to self identify first with being a veteran instead of disclosing that I’m a woman of color, 10 years natural. The crux of this post was relative to the military experience. Most people commenting on this thread ate civilians. Yet even with the response from veterans and active duty, most are still not catching hold of the perspective. Don’t call to petition in a lifestyle and/or career field you hadn’t experienced. The regs are not all written by old white men. What’s more important. ..having dreads that won’t… Read more »
Esther
Guest

WELL SAID.….

Dham
Guest

I totally agree!

WhitLuhv
Guest
Truth be told…the regualtions are directed towards BLACK WOMEN. Why? Because we can do things to our hair that others can’t. Heck I’m in the Marine Corps for crying out loud with natural hair and one day i decided to wear a french role that is allowed according to our regulations yetI was still questioned by higher because they had never seen anything like that before. SMH. Dreads and two strand twist can be put into a neat bun, so whats the problem? Cornrolls were only accpeted because that was the only thing to do to tame the fro people… Read more »
Cassyp4cHair
Guest

Very interesting post. I am happy to see both sides of the spectrum in the comment area. While I greatly appreciate the people who suit up and take the responsibility of protecting this country and our freedoms; I never thought or wanted to join the armed forces in my youth for the reasoning that you have to give your freedom up while protecting others. Sadly, I’m not that evolved honestly. But I love and appreciate our Soldiers of the Armed Forces no matter what branch. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

Danielle Savitsar
Guest

This is a fight best fought from the inside. Neutrals should remain natural and if they receive punishment for their hair they should sue stating discrimination. There would be no defense. I don’t think proud Americans who are able and want to serve their country should be defined by color or hair texture. Perpetuating this type of image sounds reminiscent of Nazi idealism.

Shelley
Guest

You can’t sue the military only family members can…atleast in the Navy anyways.

Jessi
Guest

A petition should be started on change.org to get this changed. This is not right.

Peggy
Guest
I am in the Air Force and was shocked when I heard about the new regulations. It can be challenging enough to stay within regulations with natural hair as is but this cuts a huge portion of style options out. I feel that these new rules target hair that is not straight and unnecessarily boots out hair options that don’t pose any problem to looking professional. Twists are a staple hair style of mine and the fact that my Army sisters may feel forced into wearing wigs in order to comply saddens me. Yes, we signed up to conform and… Read more »
Jessi
Guest

Peggy thank you so much for posting the link to the petition! I’m going to be telling everybody I know in order to get the word out.

18+ years
Guest
I have been in the Army for more than 18 years and, while I take exception to some of the new grooming guidelines, I’m not signing any petition against it. I’ve been natural for about two years and I’m not going back. When I saw the policy changes, I took note and made necessary changes. I’ll conform because I believe in what I’ve been committed to for the past 18+ years. I had long, thick hair, but cut it very short about six years ago to make it easier to deal with during deployments and the day-to-day rigors associated with… Read more »
Cee
Guest
I am Active Duty Army and just taken back by the proposed changes. I big chopped prior to entering service. Growing from the TWA is always a challenge. Those of us on this journey know how much courage it takes to embrace and love our hair in all phases. I chose to wear two strand twists either bunned or pinned up in a nice professional roll. I have always received compliments and have been an inspiration for others to go natural as well. The questioning of my hair was always by african american women. Mind blowing! I am curious about… Read more »
maggie
Guest
Ok, here is the deal, for all of you Concerned with the Dread Locks not being authorized need to read the previous AR 670–1 THEY WE’RE NEVER AUTHORIZED they have always been thought of UNKEPT Hair!!! And more to the point twist are unauthorized now because you cannot put on your gas mask and have a proper seal with the bulk of the hair. I understand you have natural hair, but the point of the matter is that some do not abide by the previous AR 670–1, so if your upset over the changes look to the left and right… Read more »
Laurie
Guest

JUST LIKE MEN IN THE ARMY HAVE TO SHAVE THEIR HEADS OR KEEP THEIR HAIR NEAT AND SHORT regardless of their “race”.
Come on ladies. You sign up for the army, you abide to its rules.

Laurie
Guest

abide by*

Rudy
Guest

WOW. All of you people who don’t see a problem with this DON’T GET IT. SORRY. You’re another “deluded black women!” The military should conform to us, not the other way around. This is discriminatory and racist.

Rudy
Guest
Women aren’t taken seriously in the armed forces because of sexist jerks like you. People like you piss me off. Just because you don’t care doesn’t mean others shouldn’t. Just because you are a sheep and don’t question authority doesn’t mean others shouldn’t. It is OK to ask why.Especially when the reasoning seems off. How is it vain to question why someone cares so much about vain things? Clearly, the army isn’t doing this for safety because they allow loose hair, weaves, and wigs. This is about looks. This about the army caring too much about appearance. So how is… Read more »
maggie
Guest

Actually the ARMY does not conform, there are rules and regulations for a reason. The ARMY is a Volunteer force here is the issue I see you VOLUNTEERED TO BE A SOLDIER THE ARMY DIDN’T PICK YOU, so you need to abide by the Army’s rules and regulations not the other way around.

Mika
Guest

Well tell your precious military to go back to hiring all white men, fucking moron! Black women like you are the reason why this is even a problem in the first place! Black women probably started these issues with our hair in the military.

ella
Guest

Geez calm down! Can someone express her opinion without being insulted SMH?

Natural Girl in the Army
Guest
Natural Girl in the Army

I’ve never had a problem with the Army regs. It’s as simple as getting box braids instead of twists. I rocked a TWA that was in regs and I wouldn’t recommend it. We wear hats/helmets so often it’s not worth the struggle. I know plenty of natural girls who just bun their hair up/lightly twist and pin their hair and drive on. It really isn’t that big of a deal.

CherishBomb
Guest
I believe these new regulations are indeed not-so-subtly directed at naturals. There is absolutely no reason that natural twists should not be allowed, but extensions and wigs are fine. Wigs fall off and slide, extensions fall out, and it seems there is absolutely no regulation on length of those items. Faux hair seems more a more likely candidate for being out of reg. I can understand afros and SOME locs (because locs come in a plethora of sizes from super thin to super bulky, which may or may not cause issues with equipment even when in a bun, but the… Read more »
NubianPrize
Guest

As far as white counterparts understanding, I’ve come to realize that the majority of them will never really understand because it isn’t something they go through; they can’t relate, much like they don’t understand/can’t relate to many race issues minorities face.”

Natural hair battles were fought in the 60s & 70s when afros became popular. Standards for “good grooming” & “professional appearance” were challenged with lawsuits. History repeating itself.

TRANSLATION: Whites still believe their physical traits & standards are the natural default setting of the human race. Anything that deviates from that is abnormal & must be fixed.

emotionalwreck
Guest
TRANSLATION: Whites still believe their physical traits & standards are the natural default setting of the human race. Anything that deviates from that is abnormal & must be fixed. You have an excellent point, and shockingly we blacks believe that as well. I’ve been out of the Army for several years and the regulations have always been the same. The men’s hair cannot be long and therefore, that means, Afros have to be really short as well. . But like I stated before, my husband has beautiful,super thick, long curly hair, it’s pretty bushy and he also had to have… Read more »
Hairboom
Guest
Thank you for your honest and insightful reply. I know all too very well that other races have no idea what goes into caring for black hair, and especially people with straight hair thinking their hair is the “normal” default hair. It isn’t only Caucasian people who think this, I’ve seen it over and over again with Asian, Native American, and Latino people. I was born with curly hair in a straight haired family (mixed Latino and white) and went to this site to learn more about caring for my dry, coarse, 3A/B hair. What I’ve learned is that as… Read more »
Quia
Guest
I served active duty for 6 years and I have to agree with what one person states above, many of the things listed are not changed, they have always been. Locs were never permitted. Twists are added to the list because many a female have skirted around abiding my the regs regarding locs, stating that their sister locs are different from “regular locs” ans should be allowed, their starter locs are only temporary & can be taken out, etc. Rather than to allow exceptions to the rules & having ppl of authority who aren’t familiar with textured hair afraid to… Read more »
Jenny
Guest

Amen!!!
Clearly spoken by someone who is actually in the military 😉
Navy has had the two inch standards for years.…
It is what it is–if you dont like it, dont sign on the dotted line.

Aisa @forusnaturals
Guest

When I was in the Army we were able to wear cornrowed hairstyles and flat twists. Those are changes you didn’t mention. Why the limit on the number of braids? Multiple braids come out smaller and actually help the hair to fit better under hats etc.

DeeW
Guest
I completely agree. To those who aren’t in the military, these regs look ridiculous and they couldn’t possibly understand why anyone would go along with it. Well, this is the way it’s been for YEARS. All it takes is one slight change and it gives people the ammo they need to say “those regs are racist!”. I tell you what, when we test for promotion, skin color and what your hair looks like isnt judged. If the military had it the way they really wanted, every womans hair would be in a sock bun and every mans head would be… Read more »
emotionalwreck
Guest
None of you know what you’re talking about. Number 1 Most of y ou weren’t in the military. You have to look like a soldier and that’s that. Hairstyle should look professional not fashionable. There are reasons why the females (black or white) have to wear their hair about 3 inches abover their collar. Reasons you wouldn’t understand. There is a rule for all females whether black or white. White women also cannot wear their hair all over flowing It has to be in a simple bun or tucked in as long as it’s 2 to 3 inches above the… Read more »
Mika
Guest

You sound ignorant. This isn’t about wanting to be fashionable or not conforming. A white women can wear her natural straight hair out if it is abouve her collar but a black women cannot. That’s what makes this a racial issue. It’s the same as saying women with blonde hair need to dye their hair brown. Totally ridiculous. Too bad most people are too brainwashed and ignorant to see that. This should totally be illegal!

Natarche
Guest

I’m natural, and I just wear my hair in a bun. My hair is long. No big deal. Most of the reasoning is proper fit of head gear and ppe. Black women can wear their natural hair down, it has to be one length or each length no longer than 1″ of the others. There are standards for everyone to abide by, they just limit certain ways that you would wear your natural hair.

Luca
Guest

It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, blue, purple, or orange. The regs apply to all.

Jon
Guest

What do you mean ‘reasons we wouldn’t understand’? They’re not classified & the rules have been around since Roman Soldiers. Women in the Military can fight battles now so they have to be battle dress ready. Soldiers are trained to grab beards & long hair to snap the neck or to immobilize the head to cut the throat. Your mass produced, one-size-fits-all helmet must also fit over your head.

emotionalwreck
Guest
As for braids, I wore braids in the army an so did some of my other black friends. I wore braids for about 2 years in the Army. I never got any flack, because I wore my braids tucked up. If I saw a soldier with her natural hair all out and loose barely fitting under her army gear, I would see her as an impostor, because all female soldiers know that they need to wear their hair up above the collar. In fact white women in the army can’t wear loose long pony tails, it has to be bunned… Read more »
Puff
Guest

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

This is outrageous and shows a real lack of understanding for black hair (no surprise since this decision was made by a white man). Again, please sign this petition to show them that Black women should not be treated as an after thought and straight (white) hair is not default!

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

Anon
Guest

No thanks. There are battles to fight and there are battles to watch. There are too many other things in this world to worry about. The right of black women in the Army to wear two strands, locs and cornrows will not end the lack of social mobility and decrease income disparity.

Mika
Guest
They should NOT be able to say “bulk of hair” isn’t allowed because that’s the natural state of many black women’s hair. As a women with thick hair I’m extremely offended and insulted by this and I’m not even in the military! I know my hair can smash flat to my head if I lay down or put something on my head so that reasoning they’re using about head gear is not valid just an excuse. They’re just trying to say black women’s natural hair isn’t professional looking, that’s all. I think they can all go to hell. Too bad… Read more »
maggie
Guest

Actually the bulk of hair is for EVERYONE white, black, hispanic, and asian there is no one race that doesnt have bulk. My hair when down is bulky and when i had short hair i had to conform to miltary standards, i got yelled at in basic training in 2003 because it looked like it was below my collar when i tried to wear it up it was not enough to fit in a bun. So honestly you dont know what your talking about.

Mika
Guest

Are you serious? That’s like saying blonde hair is not allowed whether you’re black, white, Asian, or Hispanic. How many people of other races have kinky poufy hair? And how many black women do?? Yea most of them do, and most women of other races do not. I don’t get your comment? The vast majority of black women have that hair type, NATURALLY. Get off of here with your whitewashed BS.

maggie
Guest
Are you serious? That’s like saying blonde hair is not allowed whether you’re black, white, Asian, or Hispanic. How many people of other races have kinky poufy hair? And how many black women do?? Yea most of them do, and most women of other races do not. I don’t get your comment? The vast majority of black women have that hair type, NATURALLY. Get off of here with your whitewashed BS.   Actually I am right. It has nothing to do with the type of hair you have, you can have bulk no matter what race you are. You said your… Read more »
ella
Guest
I have to agree with Quia. While I understand the issue of natural hair, you have to keep in mind that this is the military and some natural hairstyles are not allowed in the army for safety reasons and uniform purposes. It’s rather ironic that wigs and weaves are allowed but that’s another story. I have been natural for years now and I’ve also served in the army and unfortunately I have to conform to army standards. Twists and locks have been banned for years now. I usually wear cornrows and french braids and no one batted an eye or… Read more »
Hairboom
Guest

My question is do they expect you to relax your hair as a matter of course? If you’re stationed way out in the boonies somewhere will you be punished for growing out a fro or do they ship in hair relaxer by the crate full so you can do your hair by some stream or well, polluting the water with nasty poison? I think it sounds ridiculously clueless, like they’re demanding you grow your hair out differently. What’s wrong with cornrows or twists? They are pretty mainstream nowadays.

trackback

[…] on hair styles, citing the rules as discriminatory toward soldiers with natural hair. Recently, the Army issued regulations against twists, afros, buns above a certain size, and locs while in terms same breath allowing […]

Summerglo
Guest

[img]http://blackgirllonghair.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/9justice12copy.jpg[/img]

BeautyDefined
Guest
I am currently in the Military, serving in the US Air Force, been in for 7 years. I’m seeing a lot of comments about “the force is voluntary…don’t sign the dotted line if you don’t like the regulations” …What’s missing in this point is that the mission of the armed forces should always be considered when making ANY type of regulation. The regulations are subject to change, and have over the years. If you don’t believe me, please remember that at one point blacks weren’t allowed in the military.… women weren’t allowed in the military…at one point, the Air Force… Read more »
AmandaH
Guest

I’m white and I don’t have natural straight hair that all. My air is frizzy, not curly, but a little wavy and frizzy and I put that shit in a bun. Quit nothing and nut up… I want pretty dirty blonde highlights for weekends when I staighten my hair. Guess what OH WELL BROWN GAIR NICE NEST BUN FOR ME cause I’m a fucking solider not some magazine model.

TannieB
Guest

Amanda H, I bet u wouldn’t know what to do with coarse, kinky nappy hair. Frizzy hair? GTFOH!!! you’re a soldier 24–7 so wear your hair in a bun all the time.

Rose
Guest

What a fool you are to compare your hair to true afro hair. It is totally unalike. Your opinion is useless here.

Dimples
Guest
I have had black people in the military tell me I should get a perm. My hair when not in braids or a weave is pinned down . At this point I don’t think the issue is about race. The SMA might be white but I can bet on it that there are just as many black people that don’t care for these hair styles in the military. I want equality before I care about my hair type. Women still are mistreated or thought less of in the army still. Sexual assaults and harrasements would not be as high if… Read more »
armygirl
Guest
I think a lot of you have not experienced what I have experience in the army. I am a soldier first. I love being a soldier. I respect and value my branch and all that comes with it. When I joined in 2007 the only thing that was not authorized was dreads. Now I do agree that this regulation targets black women because we are generally the ones wearing braids, twists, bulky hair, and dreads. That is our culture. That is what is easiest for our hair. The problem though is not the regulation, it is the reason behind the… Read more »
Talya McNickles
Guest

You sound like you are okay with changing your self to be accepted by the white man.

TannieB
Guest
I’ve been in the Army ten years and yes I do believe those who amended the regs were uninformed. How they gonna allow fake hair, but not twists? C’mon, all you wanna be hoah hoah females are out of regs in some way. Half of ya’ll are probably overweight or tatted up like ya’ll are some thug ass dudes or something, or ya’ll wear weave all day long. My natural hair grows the way it grows. I know I can’t wear a ten inch fro, but I can’t wear twists? But female Soldiers can wear fake eyelashes? Ya’ll sound stupid.… Read more »
Solita
Guest

I agree ive said something about that from when i wanted to go natural these regs should be amended.. they amended regulations for people that want to be married to the same sex, why not amend them for people that want to wear their hair natural… it is discrimination or lack of inclusion in my opinion

Shopping Cart