Army Bans Natural Hairstyles-2

Army Bans Various Natural Hairstyles

Army Bans Natural Hairstyles

Twists, dreadlocks (locs), Afros and braids seem to be the target of discrimination once again.  We saw a similar list of ban or unauthorized hairstyles by an elementary school last year which labeled these styles largely wore by natural African American woman as fadish.  This time the ban is from the US Army.

SEE ALSO: Former and Current Military Members Support List of Army’s Unauthorized Hairstyles Saying It Not Discriminatory But Necessary

As a woman with natural hair, I’m starting to take this personally.  Many of these styles are key to the maintenance of our naturally textured and fragile hair. But you can read the details of this unofficial suggestion of changes to the Army’s Grooming Guidelines below:

According to America Aljazeera, The U.S. Army is coming under fire for changes to its appearance and grooming standards, which some say discriminates against black women who wear their hair natural.

Army Regulation 670-1 has not been published or made official yet, but the new rules were detailed in a PowerPoint presentation that was leaked on March 20. Among the grooming regulations are updated restrictions on how women soldiers can wear their hair. An example from the Army’s PowerPoint is shown below:

Army Bans Natural Hairstyles-2

Within and outside of the Army, women of color have been calling the guidelines racially biased. A White House petition has amassed more than 3,000 signatures to date requesting that the Army reconsider.

Tweet: Reconsider changes to AR 670-1 to allow professional ethnic hairstyles. via @naturalhairrule


6 thoughts on “Army Bans Various Natural Hairstyles

  1. Kyra

    Well I wore my hair natural 19 years ago in the military an I never had one problem. But I also wore a low,professional looking bun under my cap . Do yall know how unprofessional it looks to wear big hair in t he military. I just don’t approve of it for a soldier. Soldiers are not civilians. . See, your hair cannot hit your collar while in basic training. It’s just not professional. I don’t t hink puffy styles should be permitted either, the military is just not into individuality or creative expression. You are being trained to protect an serve. . they don’t like the white females to wear their hair out either It’s suppose to be in a bun above the collar and you will get gigged during inspection if you wear some creative style.. I never heard anything so foolish as this article. The white females can’t wear theirhair all out and they can’t wear really f ashionable styles, it’s just not functional. But sure you can wear your natural texture, it just depends on the s tyle. I’m not even great with the braid wearing the f ake ones are ok if you have your hair above your collar. The men get their hair buzzed all the way down. Males can’t wear long hair or pony tails, it’s just not acceptable and it looks ratchet. We are the United States Military wehave to look like soldiers.

    1. jane

      I think kyra is absolutely right. Its just unprofessional looking. I myself want to be in the army and I wouldn’t mind it al. The guys have to cut of almost everything. We just need to be glad we dont have to. When you are in the army you are there to serve and protect, not to show of your natural hair.

  2. Mandy

    I am currently an officer in the Air Force and while I do not believe these regs are “racist”, as some would call it, I do believe the regs did not take into consideration hair that is afro-textured. I’ve been relaxer free for 16 months and 100% natural for 8 months. I use curlformers to stretch my hair and then finger comb my hair back into a bun and wear that for the week. If I was out in a field setting and did not have the luxury to curlform my hair, I would just pull it back into a pony puff and have to flat twist my crown because it is not long enough to reach back into the pony puff (my hair is about 6″ in length now) or two strand twist it and bun the twists. Luckily, the AF does not have regs against twists (yet) and unless your hair is just totally not conservative and blatantly out of regs (such as hair touching collar, too bulky, headgear is not fitting properly because of hair) most of the time no one will say anything for (what I think) fear they might offend someone and because we have bigger things to worry about than hair regs. I read the comments about this new Army reg and people think black women are complaining because they just want to wear their hair any kind of way and be an individual in uniform, which I don’t believe is the case. There is a purpose for the hair regs. Back in the day, men would shave their head completely bald because of issues with lice. Now, it’s just common practice for men to shave their head when they first go to basic. Your hair cannot be long because it can be a safety issue (could get caught in equipment, could be pulled if engaging in combat, etc). Also your hair cannot be bulky because bulky hair will prevent headgear, helmets, and face masks from being worn properly. So since afro-textured hair won’t easily pull back into a flat bun to fit the regs (I know some people argue that curly thick coarse hair can be pulled back into a bun so any hair can do so too… not fully understanding that afro textured hair is a lot different. At least I know mine is. It repels water and won’t lie down easily we use braids, cornrows, twists, etc. as a way to get the hair to lay down flat to be in regs; it’s not because of a fad! I believe that if the hair is conservative, neat, off the collar, and doesn’t prevent proper wear of headgear and protective equipment, then it should be allowed. Example of non-conservative hair: I saw this Airman one day with her hair braided up into a giant bun on top her head. The hair was cornrowed up into the bun with alternating jumbo cornrows and then skinny cornrows. It was a cute hairstyle, but totally inappropriate for military. Example of conservative hair: locs, twists, flat twists, braids, and cornrows that go in one direction, are uniformed in size that can either hang loosely without being too bulky or touching the collar or be pulled into a bun, and the person can still wear their headgear and PPE properly.

  3. Raven

    You that’s the problem you guys can put your hair in buns what about the women who are natural growing their hair back and can not fit their hair in a bun or ponytail ?!

  4. colleen

    I am a retired vet from the Army and I do not feel that the new Red is racist. You are to have a professional look when you are in uniform and your headgear has to fit right and with many of these natural styles you can not wear your head gear the right way. The military is an Organization and every organization has rules. Wearing more than one braid is not new. If you check the regulation back in the 80 ‘ s multiple braids were not allow. There is no racism involved and I support the military. Let’s stop making everything about black and white and be more concern with important things like sex trafficking, wars, young men killing each other, and terrorist.

    1. Nikki

      I totally agree with Mandy, and I am very glad she shared her sentiments regarding this issue. It’s pretty evident that the person who wrote the laws have no idea about hair types. They should take time to work on the language so that the military doesn’t exclude a group of people based on the type of Afro-hair that grow out of their head naturally, especially where braiding/ corn row the hair flat to the surface is one of the few ways to keep Afro-hair in regulation. Afro hair is naturally “bulky”, and it’s not practical to flatiron the hair straight to fit under a helmet. The best way to do it (especially if you’re exposed to water, heat and sweat), is to cornrows or flat-twist the hair down, so that the hair is smooth and out of the way. But I’m responding to Colleen because of the “lets stop making everything about black and white and be more concerned with important things like sex trafficking, wars, etc…” In response to that last line, I must say 1. This IS an important issue to people with Afro hair because it bans an entire hair type and people with that hair type (I can safely assume this is NOT your hair type, so you may fail to see the importance because it doesn’t affect you). 2. Just because an article focuses on this hair issue, it doesn’t diminish focus on other issues. People can multi-task. An issue of black lives matter doesn’t take away from child pornography. An issue on terrorism doesn’t take away from global warming. Sometimes issues that seem unrelated are quite related to other issues and the solution can solve more than one problem.

      And “Lol” To the person who wrote she put her hair in one French braid and keeps it moving! Obviously this person has 1b-2b hair! Please google “4b hair”. 4b hair which I would consider Afro hair can not be put into a single French braid if you want to wear a helmet. Lol… that one braid is going to be too bulky… Multiple flat corn braids will be needed to make the hair flat enough to the head to allow for a helmet to go on. To be honest, that’s how a lot of people with nice thick beautiful 4b – 4c hair, braid their hair down to get a wig on or to put a weave in, so I’m sure it would work for a helmet too. It’s all about awareness and education. But the people with the “privilege” must be willing to educate themselves in order for “this” to work.


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