• Fri, Aug 15 - 1:35 pm ET

The Military Lifting Its Ban On Black Women’s Natural Hair Is A Reason To Celebrate

military hair regulations

It’s no secret that women in the military face a unique set of challenges, and just like with most things in the United States, women of color have even more obstacles thrown in their way. For months, people have been debating a new set of military regulations that banned several of the most popular, convenient, and affordable black hairstyles. Not only that, but black women’s natural hair was deemed inappropriate, with the military trying to rationalize that wigs are a more acceptable choice than the hair that grows out of people’s heads. Thankfully, due to complaints from the sixteen women in the Congressional Black Caucus, we’re finally seeing an end to that discriminatory (and moronic) decision.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced in a letter to the caucus that the regulations are being rewritten. (It should be noted, though, that from the looks of this New York Times article, Hagel didn’t add a “P.S. I’m sorry old white men tried to explain your own hair to you.”) The chairwoman of the caucus, Marcia L. Fudge, released this statement in regards to the decision:

These changes recognize that traditional hairstyles worn by women of color are often necessary to meet our unique needs, and acknowledges that these hairstyles do not result in or reflect less professionalism or commitment to the high standards required to serve within our armed forces.

Good. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must have been to deal with this bullshit from the inside, but I’m glad to see it all come to an end. Now if only we could convince public schools to distribute pamphlets to little white kids called How To Understand– And Not Be A Dick About– Black Women’s Hair. That’d be a start.

Via Jezebel / Photo: US Army, via Associated Press

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  • Msgt Word

    Written by someone who is obviously clueless about the reason for military regulations. Appearance guidelines are primarily for two reasons. One – professional appearance. everybody needs to look as much alike as humanly possible. Your preferences and ethnic background mean diddly shit. Being able to wear your hat properly and not look like you just fell off the turnip truck trumps your hurt feelings. Restrictions on braids and twists are for the same reason white women can’t wear barbie braids, multiple braids or pony tails. It looks like shit in uniform most women can’t even wear the simplest of military hats properly in these configurations. Two, and more to the point, is the ability to function in a combat environment. That means things like wearing a helmet and maybe a gas mask. If you don’t comprehend the difference a half inch of hair can make to these items fitting properly, you have no valid opinion on this issue. Military hair styles aren’t about your feelings or you femininity or you ethnics. They are about everyone maintaining a standard that allows them to professionally and safely do their jobs. Maybe while you are distributing pamphlets to little white kid dicks, you can distribute this information to stupid journalist cunts too.

    • Samantha Escobar

      I’m going to guess you’re around the age of 16, because most adult human beings are capable of explaining their thoughts and feelings on a subject without resorting to bizarrely aggressive attacks.

    • Iang

      Woman of color particularly those of African-American descent have hair with a different texture than those of most other people. Sometimes that hair is hard to manage and the best and easiest way to keep it in control is to braid or twist it. Obviously they won’t be keeping it extremely long or adding beads to the end.

  • Samantha Escobar

    Hooray!