The United States Army’s revised regulations now permit locks, ending years of scrutiny and enforcement of rules about black womens’ appearance. 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.”
The Army directive says that each lock, or dreadlock, “will be of uniform dimension; have a diameter no greater than a half-inch; and present a neat, professional and well-groomed appearance.”
The change was hailed as overdue by service members who said they had labored to stay in compliance under the old rules.
“For me, it wasn’t just about hair,” she said. “I am completely against blind conformity, and I’m rebellious by nature,” said in a video posted to Facebook.