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Buns Upon a Time: A Look behind the Locks

From their very first moments at boot camp, female Marines are taught that how they do their hair defines them as a Marine. It may seem like a small thing, but to female Marines, their hair is just one more detail that sets them apart from other female service members. (U.S. Marine Corps photos by Sgt. Daniel A. Wetzel/Released)

From their very first moments at boot camp, female Marines are taught that how they do their hair defines them as a Marine. It may seem like a small thing, but to female Marines, their hair is just one more detail that sets them apart from other female service members. (U.S. Marine Corps photos by Sgt. Daniel A. Wetzel/Released)

From the moment recruits arrive at Marine Corps boot camp, they learn that appearance is of utmost importance. For female recruits, this is especially important when it comes to their hair.  Contrary to what G.I. Jane portrays, female Marines do not have to shave their heads like the males. Female Marines are permitted to have long hair, but the guidelines for how they can wear their hair are the strictest of all the services — and they’re proud of it.

In forming days, female recruits are taught how to execute a proper sock bun and are regularly reminded by their drill instructors how “busted” their hair is. By the time female recruits become Marines, their hair has become a sense of pride. Whether a female Marine wears her hair in the classic sock bun, braided bun or cinnamon roll twist, how she wears her hair demonstrates just how squared-away she truly is. It’s no secret that female Marines immediately judge one another’s motivation by one look at their hair. One misplaced hair could potentially end your good standing among your peers.

Female Marines are very familiar with gel, hairspray and other types of “glue” that keep their hair plastered to their head even while in the field, deployed or during physical training. Although not issued, female Marines carry at least one extra bobby pin in their cargo pocket to eliminate any hairs that think they’re “back on the block.”

It may seem like a small thing, but to female Marines, their hair is just one more detail that sets them apart from other female service members. Here’s to those squared away locks and female Marines who labor over them every morning in the mirror.

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