After a lovely few weeks off to visit family, I called my favoured hair salon in Ottawa where I go to school to set up an appointment with my only trusted stylist. You see, I had been through a few tragic hair disasters until a year ago when I finally found someone who cut it right every time and also made me feel fantastic. Plus, my graduation photos will be taken next week so I needed to be looking my best as these images will be displayed prominently on the mantel in all parents, grandparents and relatives’ homes for many years to come.
The problem: The hair salon shut down over the holidays
The bigger problem: While many of the stylists moved to other salons in area, MY stylist, the only person in the world who I would trust to give me an excellent hair cut one week before grad photos, is now working at a males-only barber shop.
I called of course, and begged, but according to their lease agreement, they are not allowed to cut women’s hair. At all.
What’s going on here? I remember an incident in the summer where there was a protest in support of a butch woman who was refused service at a barber shop, even though she favoured short haircuts. I thought it was just that barber shop, not all of them. And really, while many hair salons probably do have a majority of female-identified clientele, I don’t recall any of them having a “women only” policy.
I’m trying to situate my mini crisis in a broader context here, and it seems as though there are a lot of discriminatory policies at play here, in the social expectations for women’s hair, in the gendered price points for a simple trim or short hair styling for women and men, and in the ability of some salons to serve only one half of an imagined binary.
Thoughts? Shall we mount a rebellion? Or begin the search for another stylist and be comforted that grad photo retakes are always an option?