“Black women serving in the United States Army are cheering revised regulations that permit hair locks, ending what critics said were years of scrutiny and confusing enforcement of rules about their appearance.
The change surfaced last month in an Army directive that focused largely on grooming policy changes related to religious accommodations. Buried in the directive was text allowing female soldiers to wear “dreadlocks/locks,” which were previously banned.
The change was made in the Army’s regulations about grooming, which are detailed in a larger collection of rules about appearance and uniforms, known as Army Regulation 670-1.
Sgt. Maj. Anthony J. Moore of the Army’s office of the deputy chief of staff for personnel said the new rules offered female soldiers another hairstyle option.
“We understood there was no need to differentiate between locks, cornrows or twists as long as they all met the same dimension,” he said, according to The Northwest Guardian, a publication of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State. “Females have been asking for a while, especially females of African-American descent, to be able to wear dreadlocks and locks because it’s easier to maintain that hairstyle.”