An accusation levied towards a barbershop sparks debate about gender-specific services
Accusations that a barbershop wouldn’t cut the hair of two young girls has led to hate mail and sparked a conversation about barbershops and gender.
One of the Boys Barbershop posted to Facebook on Jan. 20 explaining that a patron had accused the shop of refusing to serve her two daughters.
The owner of the shop, Leanne Clarke, said no one was denied service, but she doesn’t want to bring any further attention to her shop.
“I think our issue had unnecessary attention, to begin with,” said Clarke, who employs all female barbers at her shop.
The customer, Stacey Blackwood, also refused to be interviewed. She claims to have received hate mail in connection with her original social media post condemning the barber shop.
The issue, however, has sparked debate about gender-specific services and perceptions surrounding them. Barbershops traditionally provide service for male hair care needs, but the increasing fluidity of gender norms challenges that idea.
Jeremy Edgar runs J. Edgar’s Top Notch Barbershop at 2a Bates Hill in St. John’s. Edgar said that he often cuts women’s hair, but works with short haircuts, traditionally considered male haircuts.
“Barbering is a very old trade,” said Edgar. “Previously, barbers have been associated with men’s haircuts and hairstylists and salons have been associated with women’s cuts.”
Barbers date back to the age of the pharaohs in Egypt.
“What we’re seeing now is a change in society’s view of that and people want barbershop style haircuts.”
Edgar said that he serves anyone at his shop, but his shop specializes in short haircuts.
“It’s a bit of a difficult situation because if anyone, a woman or a man, came into my shop with longer hair and wanted me to cut it into a shorter style, it can be difficult for me because I haven’t trained in that,” said Edgar.
Nicole Hibbs has a short hair and says she has a friend cut her hair.
“Going to a barbershop would be cool, though,” said Hibbs.
However, she says, perceptions about barber services as only for men are an issue.
“I’ve never considered (a barbershop) before because I didn’t want to seem manly.”