New Army Regulations Pose A Problem For Women With Naturally Textured Hair – Refinery29

Posted: Thursday, April 03, 2014
Screenshot-2014-04-02-12.49.21Photo: Courtesy of U.S. Army.

On March 31, the Army released an update to its Army Regulation 670-1, along with an educational PDF to assist leaders in instructing soldiers on acceptable forms of grooming. The PDF included clarifications for both male and female soldiers. Though the 60-page document is loaded with new information, one piece in particular has received a lot of attention: “Twisting two distinct strands of hair around one another to create a twisted rope-like appearance” — a popular style among black female soldiers — is now forbidden. And, in case there’s any confusion, there’s a collection of images that illustrate exactly what they mean. In response to the ban, Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs started a petition asking the White House to reconsider the changes to AR 670-1, as they “offer little to no options for females with natural hair.” And, she’s got a point.

This feels especially true when we see the choice of illustrations in the document. You’ll notice the prohibited styles are largely portrayed by black women. You’ll also notice the example of an acceptable hairstyle is an illustration of a white woman wearing a low bun — a hairstyle many natural-haired women cannot successfully replicate according to the new standards. As Jones explained The Army Times, women with natural hair can’t always pull it into a secure bun. “Most black women, their hair doesn’t grow straight down. It grows out.” That leaves very few hairstyle choices for a woman with natural hair.

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