A day or two ago when I wrote a status on Facebook questioning why women should automatically pay more for their hair cut then men, I didn’t quite expect the response from people that I know that I got.
These questions cut to the core of why we need feminism (and none of that non-intersectional, sex worker and trans-exclusionary pseudofeminism).
I suppose this all starts with getting my hair cut, something to which I was loath to do as I knew that I still don’t pass yet [as a woman] (I am probably a long way off that), so off I went. The first hairdresser gave me the run around and I left, second one was much better — they even seemed to know what I wanted. But when I paid up I wondered why I was charged $25 dollars, when the bloke next to me was charged for a more complicated cut — I mean he had weird bits of foil on his head — yet he was charged $17. Turns out that I was charged a female rate while he got the male rate.
So as I was mulling it over on the train, I posted a status about it on Facebook where of course a [cisgender] man immediately shifted the blame back on to us women for having more hair, a point which is utterly bullshit as you usually for long haired people don’t get the whole thing cut, and excludes women with shorter hair like mine.
I was soon joined by other women and the Sôgmô who posted to my status that they agreed that it was sexist whereby this male told us to stop whining and to go back to Tumblr.
Herein lies the crux of the problem. The misogynists and sexists don’t like being called out on their bullshit, so they try and belittle us feminists and others who call them out for their blatant sexism. Yes, Tumblr is home to some of the internet’s more … erm, interesting people but the point is trying to compare women who are engaged in questioning the patriarchy – and, in this case, the sexist policies of many hairdressers – to something that is perceived as insane or crazy is itself a reinforcement from these men of the sexist structure of capital and of society in general.
When we women tried to engage, it was not taken seriously. Indeed it was treated like a joke by some of the males who made the assertion that whining was quite sadly prevalent in society. Is this what questioning sexist pricing gets us? Labeled as whiners? This is why feminism is needed, because fighting for equality is not whining.
The argument was then put forth that the market dictated the prices. That is true, but how can women challenge these prices if the majority of hairdressers charge different prices based on the perceived bits between your legs? That seems to also exclude gender non-binary people. Change can’t be done without intervention of the regulator of the market and to influence the market regulator — that is where you need feminist activists like myself.
The only way to fight these misogynists and sexist people is to engage in feminist activism and slowly but surely they will change their song or will as we progress society.
Anna Lindström is the Foreign & Society Minister of Zealandia. Her editorial is published here under a joint executive agreement between the governments of Sandus and Zealandia to cooperate on LGBTQ+ rights, pending the ratification of a formal partnership agreement between both nations. May both nations develop Socialism and Equality!
The reason women pay more than men for haircuts is because women typically have more and more complex hair than men. You’d actually be sexist if you forced hairdressers to charge the same for different services, because then men would pay more, relatively speaking.
While I do believe that charging more money for the same service because of gender is idiotic (my personal opinion), I must disagree with this line:
“Change can’t be done without intervention of the regulator of the market and to influence the market regulator”
I’m sorry, but this statement could not be more wrong. By going to a discriminatory barbershop and paying them, you agree that the price you pay is not too high for you to dish it out; while you may be annoyed about it, you’re not so annoyed as to boycott the place, clearly. And therein lies the beauty of the market: if you don’t like something, you *aren’t forced to buy it*!
You suggest petitioning the local government authorities to legally ban such a practice, because your personal opinion is that this is immoral. But think of it this way: if a majority or sizable minority of barbershop customers hate the practice enough to boycott discriminatory barbershops in favour of egalitarian barbershops, then the discriminatory barbershops decrease in number (barbershops may become egalitarian to reach more customers) or go out of business altogether. In this situation, the law is unneeded.
If, however, almost all barbershop customers do not believe that such policies are bad enough for a boycott, then your proposed law would *force* all barbershop customers and owners who may be indifferent to or supportive of such a practice to change their ways; in effect you are legislating your morality onto others who voluntarily choose to provide and pay for such services (and perhaps there is some reasoning behind the practice beyond “the patriarchy”, but that’s another topic entirely). In this situation, the law is unwelcomed, unwanted, and probably counterproductive and inefficient.
If you are so concerned about the practices of these barbershops, it would be better for you to focus on customers instead of on the government, convincing these barbershop customers that the discriminatory practices of the barbershop merit a boycott. Follow the example of the green foods movement, who have succeeded in providing organic foods as an alternative to regular foods in most supermarkets, without banning the use of pesticides or GMOs.
tl;dr: Feminism is not necessarily a socialist movement, and other alternatives should be considered.