Staff Sgt. Cherie Wright 
Marine Corps

It was a hard battle, but women in the Marines now have more options when it comes to hairstyles, thanks in part to Staff Sgt. Cherie Wright’s efforts.

Wright, a supply chief with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C., who wears her hair in locks, challenged the Marine Corps Uniform Board 215, which had strict regulations regarding acceptable hairstyles. Wright’s own hair struggles led her to wear wigs because she found her hair difficult to style because of Board 215.

“I said something has to be done about this,” Wright told the Marine Corps Times. “I don’t understand why I have to cover up my natural hair.”

Well, now she doesn’t. According to the updated Board 215, women can now wear locks and twists, but there are several caveats.

Twists can not extend more than 2 inches from the scalp, and they can only be worn with medium or long hair. Locks can be worn with short, medium or long hair, but the parts should be rectangular or square. The locks or twists also can’t have foreign attachments in them.

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Getting the new rules wasn’t an easy task, but Wright was prepared for the hard work. She submitted a paper about the psychological effects black women had to deal with regarding the old hair regulations. On top of that, Wright submitted written proposals and oral presentations to military higher-ups before the regulations were changed.

“It definitely makes me appreciative to see that hard work pays off, and that we have great leaders who are willing to listen to the issues that arise in the Marine Corps,” Wright said.