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Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs of the National Guard in Georgia has consistently plaited her beard into two twists about her head. She has been in the aggressive for six years and has beat her beard accustomed (meaning no actinic treatments [perms] or beard extensions [weaves]) for four of those years. But according to the new hair-grooming requirements the U.S. Army afresh released, her beard is now out of regulation.
And so are the Afro-centric hairstyles of abounding atramentous women in the Army, who accomplish up 31 percent of Army women.
Jacobs, who said she is “kind of at a accident now with what to do with my hair,” has started a White House abode allurement the Army to amend its new beard guidelines. The abode has calm added than 7,000 signatures from soldiers and civilians, but needs to ability 100,000 signatures by April 19th in adjustment for the White House to abode it.
The abode states:
Females with accustomed beard booty strides to appearance their accustomed beard in a able address aback necessary; however, changes to AR 670-1 action little to no options for females with accustomed hair… These new changes are racially biased and the abridgement of attention for indigenous beard is apparent.
The new Army Adjustment 670-1 [PDF] was appear Tuesday and illustrates with photos the types of hairstyles that are crooked for women. Those accommodate dreadlocks, twists or any blazon of disordered or coiled hair. A decidedly bulky claim disallows the aggregate of a woman’s beard to “exceed added than 2″ from her scalp.” That rules out Afros and best types of non-chemically adapted atramentous hair.
Basically, about every accustomed beard advantage that atramentous women in the Army could abrasion is now off limits. One of the few commonly accustomed hairstyles that was listed as adapted is cornrows, but a bulk of blueprint and rules amidst alike that. The bore of anniversary cornrow can’t be added than division of an inch, and no added than one-eighth of an inch of attic may be apparent amid cornrows.
The alone way to realistically accommodated the new standards would be to shave one’s head, perm one’s beard or abrasion weaves or wigs.
Jacobs said twists like the one she wears are actual accepted amid atramentous women soldiers because the appearance requires little aliment aback in the field. Her hair’s array and curliness makes affairs her beard aback into a bun (a appearance accepted amid white women soldiers) impossible.
A agent for the Army said the admonishment changes are “necessary to advance accord aural a aggressive population.” Aback that charge for “uniformity” erases the indigenous differences of a accumulation of women and armament them to constrain themselves to European standards of hair, it presents a austere problem.
“I think, at the end of the day, a lot of bodies don’t accept the complexities of accustomed hair… I’m aghast to see the Army, rather than acquaint themselves on how atramentous bodies abrasion their hair, they’ve white-washed it all,” said Jacobs.
Screenshots taken from Army Adjustment 670-1
Anita Little is the accessory editor at Ms. magazine. Follow her on Twitter.
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