It’s just hair isn’t it? Until what you are allowed to do with it – or not allowed to do with it – could get you killed.
In January this year, as Barack Obama was preparing to hand over his presidency, the US military reformed its grooming and appearance regulations for female soldiers allowing dreadlocks, cornrows and twists.
This may not sound like a big deal, but for black women whose “natural” hair naturally flouts military regulations failure to uphold grooming standards could result in disciplinary action. Yet taming their hair could also put them in danger.
This week US Vogue interviewed service women whose lives have changed dramatically due to the change in grooming regulations.
Major Tenille Woods Scott, a 12-year veteran, tells how straightening her hair while on active duty regularly put her at risk.
“In Iraq, I would relax my own hair every eight weeks, which was quite dangerous,” Woods Scott, who served in the region in 2007 and 2008, told Vogue. “In the hour or so that it took, I was nervous, thinking, What if a rocket or mortar comes in?”