Twists? Forbidden! Dreadlocks? Prohibited! Afros? Forget it! The US Army’s new hair regulations have infuriated the social media world. “The US army basically just banned black women from wearing natural hair,” a Twitter user said.
Since the Army Regulation 670-1 was leaked on March 20, the US Army has been in boiling hot water due to suspicions of racial bias against natural black hair. Dreadlocks, defined as “matted or locked coils,” are strictly forbidden. Not even twists will fly in the military. “Although some twists are temporary (can easily be untwisted), they are unauthorized,” the rules said.
Dreadlocks and twists are still prohibited when they’re pulled back into a bun. Strangely enough, hair that is not locked or twisted are accepted in buns.
A female soldiers is allowed to wear her hair loose — as long as her tresses does not surpass her collar. But this does not apply to women whose hair protrudes more than two inches away from the scalp. Welp, guess ‘fros are out of the question! “That automatically discounts anyone with any sort of naturally textured hair. Our hair… most certainly doesn’t lie flat unless straightened,” wrote BlackGirlLongHair.
But what adds fuel to the fire is that the US Army has no qualms against lace fronts, wigs, or hair extensions — just as long as it has “the same general appearance as the individual’s natural hair,” the hair guidelines said
“How on earth is it possible for extensions and wigs to have the same general appearance as the individual’s natural hair…when her natural hair may be unauthorized to begin with?” BlackGirlLongHair added.
A dreadlock-rocking army veteran, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Stream about her thoughts on the new hair regulations:
“It’s very targeted because we all know who they’re talking about even though they never explicitly say the world ‘black’ or ‘African-American.’ We all know who typically wears these types of hairstyles and then they went as far as to include pictures of black women in the PowerPoint.”
Ruffling some feathers, the US Army’s new guidelines compelled the circulation of a White House petition urging the military to allow women to wear natural hairstyles in a neat and professional fashion: “These new changes are racially biased and the lack of regard for ethnic hair is apparent. This policy needs to be reviewed.”
So far, the petition has amassed nearly 5,000 signatures.
Do you think the Army should revise its hair guidelines?