Hello, and may I take the opportunity to welcome you all back to the TBS beard blog!
The Armed Forces are currently reviewing their ban on beards after becoming concerned that such rulings are putting off younger potential recruits from becoming soldiers.
Whilst facial hair is not entirely banned in the army, based on the grounds of religion and medical standing, the army has routinely not permitted the growth of facial hair to the majority of their soldiers.
The sudden review was first noted by a letter sent to the service magazine, Solider. by Captain David Somerville, a former serving officer in the Royal Engineers, who voiced his concerns that younger, fashion-conscious men might be put off from joining the army based on such rulings being in place.
Mr. Somerville stated - “We are an organization that needs to recruit and putting up artificial barriers because of an inability to change isn’t what we are about,”
''While attending a recent recruiting event I couldn’t help but notice that a large percentage of the potential soldiers were sporting facial hair. It made me wonder how many of them were put off joining up because they can’t have a beard.”
He highlighted his frustrations as to why after his 38 years of service he struggled to understand why such regulations were still being applied, suggesting that they were rather dated.
''I have heard the respirator excuse trotted out many times, but quite frankly that really does not make sense to me,'' David added.
''Rightly we currently allow certain individuals to have beards for religious grounds, and they are as likely to require the use of that certain piece of kit as any of us.
The most annoying reason though is tradition, much like the one where we wore red tunics and advanced slowly towards the enemy.''
In a quick response from the publication, Lt Col Rachel Emmerson from the Employment Branch of Army Manning. accepts that beards could be seen more frequently in the armed services, as more members of religious minorities continue to join.
Emmerson went onto say - ''As the Service becomes more diverse and we update policy to support represented faiths, we expect the sight of serving officers and soldiers with beards to become more familiar,’ she replied.
“We must also ensure the army attracts as many potential applicants as possible while maintaining the right appearance policies to protect the culture and ethos from which we derive our operational effectiveness.
"As such we routinely review such regulations including those relating to facial hair.”
Emmerson also reiterated how the Armed forces would not jeopardize operational effectiveness for religious purposes or for the sake of recruits' fashion choices, stating facial hair must be modified if required to ensure the protective equipment does its job effectively.
It is no secret that beards are booming in 2018, and show little to no signs of slowing down in popularity anytime soon. A survey which took place last year echoed huge support for facial hair which has increased by nearly 14 percent over the last five years. Amongst the age range of 18 to 39 year olds, a whopping 60 percent said they had some form of facial hair growing.
Times are forever changing, and with new openings, such rules do need to be revised, and many workplaces have done just that, as beards become more accepted into our positions of employment. I honestly feel it is only a matter of time before other positions of work loosen up there rather dated rulings against beards and embrace the fuzzy face instead of shunning it.
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And until next time, Beard on Brothers...