The Marine Corps Uniform Board 215 has decided to make traditional female hairstyles permissible options, as long as the styles are “professional and neat in appearance,” the Marine Corps Times reports.
The hairstyles may also be easier for female Marines to maintain “in an expeditionary environment,” the Times writes. Military hair policies have been at the forefront of conversations for nearly a year, with advocates saying current policies disregarded the traditional and healthy styles often worn by Black women.
This change in policy makes locs a permitted hairstyle.
From the Marine Corps Times:
The changes were driven by the recommendations of Staff Sgt. Cherie Wright, who is assigned to II Marine Expeditionary Force. She told Marine officials that “for some, this change is culturally liberating, has financial benefits, and is simply convenient.”
Locks may be worn with short, medium or long hair; partings must be square or rectangular to achieve a neat and professional military appearance.
Twist hairstyles allow two sections of hair twisted together, which forms a rope or cord-like appearance. Twists may only be worn with medium or long hair, and can extend no more than 2 inches from the scalp. Medium length does not extend beyond the collar’s lower edge and extends more than one inch from the scalp. Long hair extends beyond the collar’s lower edge. One- and two-twist hairstyles such as the French twist are authorized as long as a neat and professional military appearance is maintained and the hairstyle does not interfere with the proper wear of headgear.
This move by the Marines makes perfect social, ethical, and convenience sense. Kudos to them for this decision.