Grooming Standards (Facial hair) Argumentative
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What is so unprofessional about a beard, a Fu Man Chu, or even a goatee? AR 670-1 states that personnel in the Army are only allowed to grow a mustache, to a certain extent. However, there are many styles of facial hair that could be observed as being professional, given that they are allowed to be grown to a certain length, which should be dictated by a revision in the regulation. The idea may come off as preposterous or even demeaning to the outlook of the professionals that stand in our ranks. However, it may be a more appropriate decision than you think. To begin this argument, a person would need to understand what the regulation states. According to AR 670-1, the following excerpt states the policy on facial hair in the Army: “Males will keep their face clean-shaven when in uniform, or in civilian clothes on duty. Mustaches are permitted. If worn, males will keep mustaches neatly trimmed, tapered, and tidy. Mustaches will not present a chopped off or bushy appearance, and no portion of the mustache will cover the upper lip line, extend sideways beyond a vertical line drawn upward from the corners of the mouth, or extend above a parallel line at the lowest portion of the nose. Handlebar mustaches, goatees, and beards are not authorized.”
Now there are many reasons behind the establishment of this policy. One could say it is for uniformity in a military setting, which is understandable in regards to being “an Army of Professionals”, providing the people we protect with a sense of trust knowing that Service Members (SM) maintain a professional appearance. One could also say that this is for wartime efforts in regard to donning a Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) mask, which could also be included as being professional, especially to Host Nation (HN) or Local Nationals (LN). These are great alternative viewpoints and very justifiable means as to why the policy was/is implemented today. To also understand this argument, people must understand what a professional/professionalism is. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the following definitions are what the terms professional and professionalism mean: Professional – characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession; exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace.
Professionalism – the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person. Now based off of the previous information stated, there are many facial hair styles that could be grown, to a degree, and still be considered professional. Now also according to AR 670-1, as long as you have a medical profile, you are allowed to grow facial hair, based on the doctor’s diagnosis, to a certain length. Not all, but many personnel in the Army attain this profile just so they don’t have to shave every day. This could simply be alleviated so that people can still grow facial hair, but to the same policy that is given to those who receive profiles. Based off of the policy in AR 670-1, this is how one could change the policy so it maintains professionalism, while allowing soldiers to have a little freedom in growing facial hair. First, keep the medical maximum length as the overall length allowed for males to grow facial hair. The regulation states that a medical provider can only allow up to a length of ¼ inch of facial hair growth. This should suffice for all service members since it is already the maximum standard set by the Army.
Also, this would still maintain the professionalism of soldiers since they would have to maintain their facial hair and not show an unkempt look, thus taking away from their professional appearance. Second, certain styles of facial hair should be allowed to be grown. Many people that grow facial hair can’t grow a full beard. That does not help in the case of professionalism. If a person has patches all over there face when growing facial hair, then it should be at the Commander’s decision on what facial hair styles the SM is allowed. The only thing that should not be taken for granted on this is that whatever style is grown, must be connected or one piece. For example, you are not allowed to have a mustache and then a patch on your chin. It can be a full goatee, a chinstrap, a Fu Man Chu, etc. as long as whatever facial hair that is grown is connected. Lastly, there should obviously be times when you should have to or, don’t have to shave. To begin, if there are times when you are being inspected for dress uniforms (ASUs, Class B, etc.), the standard should be how it is now.
These uniforms represent the most professionalism, and are what must of the United States see on television, our SM wearing. Also, if you are deployed to an area having MOPP levels that may require you to use an NBC mask, you must also refer to the current standard for shaving. It would more than likely be more beneficial to one’s life to follow the normal standard, rather than a hindrance. To cover when this standard does not need to be followed or, at least relaxed, would be for leave. This is a time where a soldier should relax. Obviously, upon return to duty, the SM will have to obey the standard and maintain his facial hair in a professional manner. In turn, information that has been covered in this paper has demonstrated how facial hair can be grown out, while still maintaining a professional manner. These tiny changes in this policy should boost morale, as well as help a little in timeliness since SM will not have to shave every day. We are still “an Army of Professional”. However, now we have a little more fuzz on our faces.