A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, 'We want beards'

By JENNIFER McDERMOTT
Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Now that women in the Navy can wear ponytails, men want beards.

The Navy said last week that servicewomen could sport ponytails, lock hairstyles, or ropelike strands, and wider hair buns, reversing a policy that long forbade females from letting their hair down.

Servicemen immediately chimed in on social media, asking the Navy if they could grow beards.

A sailor's Facebook post with a #WeWantBeards hashtag was shared thousands of times.

Beards were banned in 1984. The Navy wanted professional-looking sailors who could wear firefighting masks and breathing apparatuses without interference.

The Navy says that's still the case. Still, some hope the change in female grooming standards opens the door.

Travis Rader, a 29-year-old naval physical security officer, says allowing beards would boost morale for men, just like allowing ponytails and locks has for women.

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