Black women serving in the United States Army are celebrating the lift of a ban that previously forbid braids, twists and locs as an appropriate hairstyle.
Although the regulation was adjusted within the Army’s large list of rules regarding appearance (Army Regulation 670-1), the January 2017 change also emerged within a smaller directive concerning hair as it relates to religion.
In addition to text allowing women to wear “dreadlocks/locks,” Muslim women are also permitted to wear hijabs and Sikh men are authorized to don turbans.
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Sgt. Maj. Anthony J. Moore, a member of the Army’s deputy chief of staff personnel, told The Northwest Guardian, “Females have been asking for a while, especially females of African-American descent, to be able to wear dreadlocks and locks because it’s easier to maintain that hairstyle.”
He continued, “We understood there was no need to differentiate between locks, cornrows or twists as long as they all met the same dimension.”
So, although women are free to wear locs with their uniform, each one must also be in “uniform dimension; have a diameter no greater than a half-inch; and present a neat, professional and well-groomed appearance.” Despite the fact that all loc styles aren’t included in this victory, it’s still a step in the right direction.
Since the change has gone public, several servicewomen have expressed their relief on social media, including Staff Sgt. Chaunsey Logan of Fort Stewart, who went as far as printing out the rules in case they disappear.
“January 5, in the year of our Lord 2017, we are now allowed to wear locks in uniform,” she proclaimed in a Facebook video. “For me, it wasn’t just about hair. I am completely against blind conformity, and I’m rebellious by nature.”