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Canadian military to allow skirts and hair coloring for soldiers — Analysis

Canada has introduced changes in the nation’s military dress code, allowing servicemembers to have long nails, face tattoos, and to dye their hair. New rules allow men to wear shorts. 

The FAQ was released Tuesday by the Canadian Military. It states that the revision to the dress code had been long overdue but not lightly. “The appearance of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has not kept pace with the Canadian society which it serves,”This is what the document looks like.

CAF states that the goal of this reform will be in effect from September 2022. It is meant to improve the inclusion and gender equality of the rules. 

One of the major changes is that uniforms will be no longer divided into the categories ‘male’ and ‘female’. You can now wear skirts for servicemembers who are male, as all gender-related references in items, such as purses, nylons, or skirts have been eliminated. 

“Both catalogues are open to all members and they may be intermixed. CAF members may choose whichever design best fits, as long as it is worn as per the Dress Instructions,”The military stated that, except for parades and special occasions, the exceptions were made. 

Additionally, recruits won’t have to trim their hair during basic training. There will also be no restriction on the length of their hair unless this hinders performance. Servicemembers will also be allowed to dye their hair and have long fingernails and ear piercings, if it doesn’t interfere with their duties.

Facial tattoos can also be accepted, except when they are part of criminal gangs and/or discriminate against others. 

One paragraph in the revised Dress Instructions was deleted. It prohibited chewing gum, sitting down, or walking with one hand. However, the FAQ states that uniformed servicemen should not chew gum or slouch while wearing uniform. “project a positive military appearance.”

While praising the push to honor diversity in the military, General Wayne Eyre, Canada’s chief of the defense staff, admitted the move could spark debate. 

“Some will consider this progress, while others may see this as unwarranted,”Eyre spoke. “We must be wary of the false dichotomy that we must choose between changing our dress and appearance, or be strong.”

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