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Update: Pentagon Reviewing New Army Regulations For Hair Discrimination

Apr 30 2014 - 1:05pm

Recently the Armed Forces released updated guidelines for how female soldiers can style their hair for both safety and professional purposes. Army Regulation 670-1 [1] lists the dos and don'ts of hairdressing for both men and women, yet some of the rules have been called into question as "racially biased." In fact, there is a White House petition [2] against the regulation. "Females with natural hair take strides to style their natural hair in a professional manner when necessary," the document states. "However, changes to AR 670-1 offer little to no options for females with natural hair."

AR 670-1 prohibits twists, large cornrows, dreadlocks, and hair that extends more than two inches from the scalp — which are all natural hairstyles. In addition, zigzag parts and lopsided buns are also not allowed. However, wigs, extensions, and buns are OK. "Most black women, their hair doesn't grow straight down, it grows out," Sergeant Jasmine Jacobs, who started the petition, told The Army Times [3]. "I'm disappointed to see the Army, rather than inform themselves on how black people wear their hair, they've white-washed it all." This isn't the first time that Afro hair has been categorized as unprofessional. But if it's not allowed in corporate America or the Armed Forces, where does that leave the 36 percent of women who opt to wear their hair in natural styles?

See all of the unauthorized hairstyles below, and tell us your opinion in the comments!

Update on April 29, 2014: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that the Pentagon will review these controversial hair regulations [4] in order to eliminate any discrimination based on race or hair type. Within the next three months, all branches of the military will be responsible for updating policies that could be considered offensive to women of color.

Source: U.S. Army [5]

Source: U.S. Army [6]

Source: U.S. Army [7]

Source: U.S. Army [8]

Source: U.S. Army [9]

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