A new bill in New Jersey has prompted a debate over women’s rights in public space, as well as whether women can wear electrical box braids in public places.
State Assemblywoman Maria Elena Malave has introduced the bill to allow women to wear box braiding in public buildings.
She said it is a form of hair styling and hairstyles that are culturally accepted, and that women are more likely to want to do it for aesthetic reasons than because they want to dress provocatively.
“I feel it’s very important that women have the opportunity to have hairstyles they can be proud of,” said Malave, who is also a registered nurse.
“It’s very feminine, it’s a fashion thing.
I would hope that women would wear it in a way that is not in any way offensive to them, but that’s not what the bill is doing.”
The bill would create a new category of license for braiding electric boxes.
If the bill passes, it would be the first time in New York state.
The New York State Board of Regents would have to sign off on the license, and if it passes the state would have a 10-year moratorium on the practice.
The bill has been a long time coming for Malave.
Malave says she started thinking about the bill after she was asked to speak on a panel of state legislators about the issue.
She says the state’s licensing authority has given them “very, very limited guidance” on how to regulate electric boxes, and it has left women with no guidance on what to wear when they wear them.
Malave says in the past she would wear boxbraids to work and at home, but not at public spaces.
“Now I’m going to wear them at my daughter’s wedding and my husband’s funeral,” Malave said.
The New York City Department of Health says that there are some safety concerns associated with braiding box braid hair.
The Department of Buildings says the practice is not permitted in public areas.
A spokesperson for the city said they have no comment on the proposed bill.
In addition to the licensing authority, New York’s Board of Public Health also has the authority to regulate the practice of braiding.
Brigitte Hodge, who heads the Board of Health, said that the licensing board’s decision would be advisory.
“The Board of Fire Protection will consider the recommendation made by the licensing authorities and will then make a final decision on whether the practice will continue in the future,” she said.
“This would not be a license or permit for this particular practice.
We don’t regulate any specific practices.”
Brigitt Hodge says the licensing Board of Police will make a decision on braiding women in public.
“There are many safety concerns that have been raised and there are many concerns about the safety of this type of hair braiding,” Hodge said.
“It is important that the women wear the appropriate attire to do this.”