When a controversy erupted over Black female Marine’s hairstyles last year, some observers thought Black women in the military were asking for special treatment. But the argument was this – that Black women in the military were prohibited from wearing many of the natural styles including locs and cornrows that might make it easier for them to keep their hair neat and professional while doing their jobs.
The changes were orchestrated by a female staff sergeant serving in the Corps and this week, The Marine Corps announced new regulations on natural hairstyles. While there are still restrictions on the kind of hairstyle even if you’re natural, this is a victory for natural hair advocates and we presume for many of those who serve.
The Marine Corps has approved two new hairstyles for female Marines, citing a request from a staff sergeant that prompted the change.
According to a Marine Corps administrative message released Monday, two-strand twists and thin locks are now approved for wear in uniform. The decision to approve both hairstyles was made by the Marine Corps Uniform Board in October, according to the message.
In a video released by the Marine Corps in conjunction with the message, Marine Staff Sgt. Cherie Wright of II Marine Expeditionary Force is credited with prompting a review of female hairstyle regulations. Wright submitted a recommendation letter to the Marine Corps Uniform Board asking for the change, officials said.
“For some, this change is culturally liberating, has financial benefits and is simply convenient,” Wright said in a statement released by the Corps.