Are The New Army Changes (AR 670-1) Discriminatory to Women with Natural Hair?
Updated Female Grooming Standards include the following:
- Clarifies unauthorized hairstyles (dreadlocks & twists)
- Defined as twisting two distinct strands of hair around one another to create a rope-like appearance.
- Although some twists may be temporary, they are still unauthorized.
- This includes twists formed against the scalp or in a free-hanging style.
- Defined as any matted or locked coils or ropes of hair (or extensions).
- Any style of deadlock (against the scalp or free hanging) are not authorized.
- Any unkempt of matted braids or cornrows are considered dreadlocks and are not authorized.
Subsequently, on March 20th, 2014, a petition was started on whitehouse.gov to petition the Obama Administration to reconsider the changes to the AR 670-1 to allow professional ethnic hairstyles. The petition reads as follows:
“More than 30% of females serving in the military are of a race other than white. As of 2011, 36% of females in the U.S. stated that they are natural, or refrain from chemically processing their hair. Females with natural hair take strides to style their natural hair in a professional manner when necessary; however, changes to AR 670-1 offer little to no options for females with natural hair. In the proposed changes, unauthorized hairstyles include twists, both flat twists as well as two strand twists; as well as dreadlocks, which are defined as “any matted or locked coils or ropes of hair.” These new changes are racially biased and the lack of regard for ethnic hair is apparent. This policy needs to be reviewed prior to publishing to allow for neat and maintained natural hairstyles.”
I found out about these proposed changes through a Facebook friend who currently serves in the military. I wholeheartedly support the petition. Neat and maintained natural hair styles can be professional. By banning all twists and dreadlocks, the Army is stating they do not believe a women’s hair can be professional in this state.