The Navy says it will now allow servicewomen to sport ponytails and other hairstyles, reversing a policy that long forbade females from letting their hair down. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson says it makes the Navy more inclusive. Many black women had asked for changes to the female grooming standards. A female sailor, Yeoman First Class LaToya Jones, announced the new policy during a Facebook Live event Tuesday with Richardson, the AP reports. The new standards went into effect Wednesday. Lock hairstyles, or ropelike strands, are also now allowed. Wider hair buns, too. And women can wear ponytails while in uniform.
At the US Naval War College in Newport, RI, on Wednesday, women say they're excited to switch from buns, which don't fit well under helmets. Legalman First Class Tamatha Schulmerich says she has to twist and wrap her hair into a bun because it goes down to her lower back. She says it was uncomfortable to wear that way when she had to wear a flight deck helmet in a previous assignment. Lt. Cmdr. Jess Cameron says while allowing new hairdos may seem like a small thing, it sends a larger message. "I think it's a step forward," she says. "They're getting more female feedback in the service, and updating what I think are somewhat antiquated guidelines that maybe no longer serve their purpose in today's society, today's military."
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