New Army regulations, in process of publication, are marginalizing women with natural hair, and there is a petition on whitehouse.gov to correct their racial bias.
The new changes to AR 670-1 says flat twists and two strand twists — protective styles that Black women with natural hair rely on — are unauthorized because they are not professional or neat in appearance.
Dreadlocks, which defined by the new article as “any matted or locked coils or ropes of hair” are not allowed either.
The concern of the petition’s creator, and the nearly 2,000 who have signed, is: Natural women, who have often made the personal choice to avoid weaves, wigs and perms — all Army-authorized — to embrace their own hair, are not being given options that show that their natural hair is valued or accepted by the military branch for which they have chosen to serve.
If the changes are published, women with natural hair in the Army will have to figure out ‘what to do’ with their hair because an institution has deemed it an issue that needs to be fixed to maintain a certain standard.
Natural hair is not a problem, nor are natural hairstyles. Curly tresses can be well-kept, neat and presented in a professional manner which does not negatively reflect on the image the Army desires to uphold — this should be the sole requirement when regulating women with natural hair, the petition states.
A total of 100,000 signatures are needed by April 19, 2014, for the policy (AR 670-1) to be reviewed.