The Military introduced new official hair and grooming rules on Jan. 26. Examine them here.
Senior Military leaders are discussing making long-awaited modifications to hair and grooming rules they usually plan to announce the finalized modifications in January 2021, Activity & Objective has discovered.
The modifications being mentioned amongst Military management embrace permitting some girls to put on ponytails in uniform and eradicating wording from the prevailing rules discovered to be offensive or racist in an effort to “replicate the Military values and the Military’s dedication to variety and inclusion,” based on slides obtained by Activity & Objective.
A sequence of suggestions have been first offered earlier this month to a “overview panel” made up of representatives from across the Military, together with from Military Coaching and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Military Forces Command (FORSCOM), Military Particular Operations Command (USASOC), and the Military Nationwide Guard.
An Military official conversant in the panel stated the vast majority of representatives have been girls.
The panel voted on the suggestions outlined within the slides; these suggestions have since been handed to Sgt. Maj. of the Military Michael Grinston who is predicted to log off on them, after which ship them to Secretary of the Military Ryan McCarthy and Chief of Employees Gen. James McConville, for ultimate approval. It’s unclear which of the modifications can be finalized and applied within the new 12 months.
The suggestions have been recognized after a July directive from then-Secretary of Protection Mark Esper which ordered a overview of haircut and grooming insurance policies for racial bias.
Hair rules are supposed to reinforce uniformity within the army, however many ladies — particularly Black girls — have stated that the stringent rules don’t take note of completely different textures and lengths of hair.
Earlier this 12 months, Lt. Col. Andrea Peters, a Black teacher at West Level, wrote at Military.com that when she was a cadet, the regulation on the time included a photograph which confirmed “a white girl together with her hair uniformly laying down and pulled to the again of her head in a bun.”
“That picture strengthened the identical European customary of professionalism and sweetness that had turn out to be mine as a woman; the pure me was not adequate,” Peters wrote.
She stated she felt pressured to perm her hair to be able to “look skilled, ‘squared away’ and ‘stunning’ on the Academy and within the Military.”
“For these not conversant in textured hair, particularly a Black girl’s hair, this implies I used to be speeding to straighten my hair with a house no-lye relaxer product of calcium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide because the energetic ingredient,” Peters wrote. “The relaxer burns the scalp, typically leaving sores or irritated, tender pores and skin.”
The problem of hair requirements particularly was reignited on social media final week, with women and men alike calling for change and describing what they view as damaged and antiquated insurance policies that put pointless burdens on girls who serve.
Nicole Kirschmann, a profession Military civilian, stated on her private Twitter account that she believed the service ought to permit girls to put on ponytails and take into accounts completely different textures and kinds of hair. Having “grooming requirements that present sensitivity to the cultural and ethnic variety already current in our Military would go a great distance in ‘strolling the discuss’ about variety and inclusion,” she informed Activity & Objective.
It appears a few of these modifications could possibly be coming to troopers initially of 2021.
At present, Military Regulation 670-1 — the newest model of which was published in 2017 — categorizes girls’s hairstyles into three sections: quick, medium, and lengthy size.
In response to the rules, quick hair is just not longer than an inch or shorter than a 1/4 inch from the scalp; medium size hair is hair which “doesn’t lengthen past the decrease fringe of the collar,” however that’s longer than an inch from the scalp; lengthy hair is outlined as that which does lengthen previous the decrease fringe of the collar.
Lengthy hair should be “neatly and inconspicuously mounted or pinned above the decrease fringe of the collar,” based on the rules.
However the suggestions offered to the panel this month acknowledge “frequent use of tight buns or ponytails” as a high-risk coiffure class, and a slide detailing the chance of hair loss related to tight hairstyles, corresponding to Traction Alopecia, and the way it impacts Black girls.
“Direct results of pulling hair tight,” the slide says about traction alopecia. “Impacts 1/3 of [African American] girls who put on extended, tight hairstyles.”
One other slide included the abstract of a medical study published in 2016 titled “All hairstyles usually are not created equal: What the dermatologist must learn about Black hairstyling practices and the chance of traction alopecia (TA).”
“Prevalent amongst Black girls, traction alopecia (TA) is a sort of hair loss that’s typically attributed to sure hairstyling practices,” the abstract says, mentioning the “restricted literature on Black hairstyling strategies” and the significance of “rising the information and understanding of those practices and their danger of inflicting TA.”
The slides go on to record the psychological impacts of hair loss and the way an individual’s high quality of life is impacted by one thing like TA which can lead to further challenges like nervousness, melancholy, and poor physique picture.
The slides additionally acknowledge that some girls “are unable to create a bun because of the size and/or texture of their hair,” and the potentials modifications would authorize them to put on ponytails “in any uniform.”
“Permitting this modification will alleviate some pressure to the scalp brought on by necessary bun for medium and lengthy hair,” the slides say.
The modifications would additionally permit girls to put on two hairstyles directly — “for instance, locks or twists might be braided or twisted to the scalp,” the slides say — and authorize them to put on a facet twist or braid “to maintain the hair neat,” so long as it doesn’t “impair the flexibility to put on approved headgear and protecting gear.”
Whereas the prevailing regulation says that ladies’s hair can’t be shorter than 1/4 inch from the scalp, the brand new rules say that “it must be a lady’s alternative if she needs to have hair or not.”
“This will even assist to alleviate the stress and embarrassment of feminine troopers who are suffering from Alopecia or different medical situations that causes hair loss or prevents development,” the doc says. “This can assist to extend well being and wellness.”
The brand new coverage will even take away numerous phrases from the regulation which can be offensive to some cultures, or have racist ties. Within the facial hair part of the rules, the phrase “Fu Manchu” can be eliminated, for instance, because it “has been thought-about offensive to Asian Tradition,” the slides say.
“Dreadlocks” can be modified to “Locs,” the slides go on to elucidate, as a result of “the time period dreadlocks has ties to the American Slavery expertise.”
The present rules state that ladies’s hairstyles “will not be eccentric or faddish and can signify a conservative, skilled look.” However the advisable modifications would do away with the phrases “eccentric” and “faddish,” saying they “appear to focus on a selected demographic.”
“The phrases ‘excessive’ and ‘exaggerated’ are ample when describing violations to the Grooming and Look Customary,” the slides say.
Different suggestions within the slides embrace permitting girls to put on authorized earrings within the Military Fight Uniform in garrison, and permitting nail polish that doesn’t “distinctly distinction with their complexion.” The present regulation permits girls to put on solely clear polish or clear acrylic nails.
When requested by Activity & Objective why these points have been essential, Sgt. Maj. Grinston stated that they have been essential to him “as a result of they’re essential to our troopers.”
“I’m always evaluating our insurance policies to make sure that they meet the wants of the pressure,” he stated. “That is one other means we’re working to make sure that we put our individuals first.”
And as Peters stated at Army.com again in August, Black girls “haven’t all the time had a voice,” however “the one factor they’ve all the time managed and brought pleasure in is their hair.
“This actuality makes the subject of hair monumental within the eyes of Black girls,” Peters stated. “And it’s time that society and the Military perceive and embrace this reality.”
You may view the slides under: