Army Regulation 670-1 is a PowerPoint Presentation that was leaked on March 20 that outlines update to appearance and grooming rules by the U.S. Army. It has not been published or made official yet, but 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.
Among the grooming regulations are updated restrictions on how women soldiers can wear their hair. Unauthorized hairstyles now include twists, dreadlocks, Afros and braids that are more than a quarter-inch thick – styles commonly worn by many African-American women. You can see examples from the Army’s PowerPoint is shown here…
Former and current members of various branches of the military commented on Natural Hair Rules’s Facebook page, saying these restrictions are not new and in many cases, necessary.
Susan Whitfield commented “I’m a former Marine. Before everyone gets super offended about all this take a moment to check your individuality at the door. The mission of the military should be considered and the safety of the troops is paramount. Gear just will not fit properly with some hair styles and will thus not provide the safety needed. You join the military, not the other way around. You sign on the dotted line and agree to uphold standards that the powers that be put forth. Don’t like it? Don’t join.”
One commentator wrote, “Bulky styles are not allowed due to the type of duty that is involved in the military. You have to be able to secure the gas mask and head gears. It’s not a fashion type of career. understand that before you join.”
And B.R. wrote “These are not discriminatory, they’re functional. Anyone in the military will tell you that these hairstyles do not work. You can’t even wear a cover with these styles. It’s the military, not a fashion show. I put my hair in a single french braid…done”
You can read more about the Army’s Ban on Twists, Locs, and Afros.