Why I’m Not Mad at the Army’s New Hair Policy

I’ve always thought of the Army as a strict and disciplined organization. Just the idea of it conjures up images of a tough-as-nails commander shouting orders and leading strenuous drills to whip a group into shape.

Although my perception of the Army is likely skewed as an outsider, I’m sure we can agree that it is no doubt a stringent union.

That’s why the updated regulations on hairstyles come as no surprise to me, though they’ve certainly inflamed some in the blogosphere.

The new standards, Army Regulation 670-1, which ban most twists, dreadlocks and large braids, have caused quite a stir. Some argue that the hair policy unfairly targets African-Americans. In fact, 11,000 people have already signed a petition requesting President Obama to review the guidelines.

Hair regulations 1

Hair regulations 2


Hair regulations 3

The purpose of the revisions is to create a more unified and neat appearance for the Army as a whole.

Yes, natural hairstyles are neat, but the goal is to achieve a look of sameness. Rules for piercings and tattoos have also been modified.

While I don’t understand why dreadlocks and twists, in particular, are prohibited, there are other styles women can wear to display their natural coils. You can sport individual braids, basic cornrows without intricate designs, French braids and French rolls.

Sure, the list of options is shortened, but at least there is a list.

Natural hair isn’t barred by the U.S. military, so let’s not make a fuss about this one and save our energy for other outrages, like THIS for example.  And this is coming from an unapologetic naturalista.

The Army is a regimented place and is certainly not for the weak, so crying and whining about hair modifications is pointless. They are not changing their minds.  So soldiers, and supporting civilians, need to adjust on this issue.

About Najja Parker

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Najja Parker is a writer and editor with experience in multimedia journalism. Her work has been featured in various publications, such as and She holds a BA in English and Theater from Spelman College and an MA in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. When she’s not writing, you can find her playing in nail polish, creating some of the trendiest and coolest nail art designs. Follow her at @NajjaNotes.