Uncle Sam wants you - but maybe not your hairdo.
The U.S. Army has angered some African-American female service members by issuing new regulations clarifying certain black-oriented hairstyles such as dreadlocks and two-strand twists. Army officials go into detail and the exact specifications put a crimp into some hairstyles worn by African-American women who opt to keep their hair in its natural state. For instance, female service members can wear multiple braids but they have to be small - about a quarter inch in diameter. That means no elaborate goddess styles.
As soon as the new regulations came out on Monday, female soldiers started agitating and rightly so. One of the last things a service member wants to worry about when she’s serving her country is the size of her hair braids. Having curly hair braided or getting locks, are logical solutions for black women with natural hair especially when a service member is facing deployment to a war zone.
Thousands of people have signed a White House petition asking that the rules be reconsidered because “these new changes are racially biased and the lack of regard for ethnic hair is apparent.”
In addition to spelling out rules for hair, the new regulations limit the number of tattoos and discuss fingernail length and makeup.
Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs, who started the petition, told Army Times that she’s “kind of at a loss now with what to do with my hair.”
Like a lot of black women who don’t straighten their hair, she has a thick curly mane that’s challenging to pull back. Until the rules are changed, Jacobs said she may wear a wig.