Thursday, August 24, 2017

Vogue article about military-approved hairstyles for African-American women

In January of this year, the United States Army revised its grooming and appearance regulations, including its ban on dreadlocks for female soldiers. Word of the policy change spread quickly, with black servicewomen up and down the ranks posting jubilant videos to social media, some of whom had endured the discomfort of wigs and damaging straightening treatments in order to comply with the strict rules, wherein authorized hairstyles are measured down to a fraction of an inch.

The implications of the new directive were far greater than a single style, signaling a seismic shift in attitudes toward Afro-textured hair that has long been the subject of intense scrutiny, both in the military and beyond.


the first signs of progress are becoming visible—in recent years, the Army and Air Force have approved for female soldiers braids of increased size as well as twists, for instance, while removing words such as unkempt from their grooming guidelines. As a result, more servicewomen than ever are seizing the opportunity to experiment with regulation-approved options for natural hair, including the 17 trailblazers photographed for this portfolio.