Author: Harvey Michael
It is always disheartening to hear that in the year 2014 humans are still struggling with being decent to each other. It is even more disheartening to find out that the city I, a gay transgender man, have moved to only recently already has headlines highlighting a seemingly misogynistic, transphobic, and homophobic place of business. Regina’s Ragged Ass Barbershop has come into the spotlight after refusing to cut a woman’s hair, saying that they want to adhere to a tradition of male grooming.
If tradition and male grooming are so important, I want the owner of Ragged Ass Barbershop to research the history of barbering and go back to the true roots of being a barber. I want people to be able to walk in and ask for a leech treatment and bloodletting. I want my barber to be my dentist and doctor; as historically barbers once practiced surgery and dentistry. Is that a bad boil you have? Great! Your local barbershop, if they’re truly dedicated to the traditions of being a barber, will drain it for you. I want barbers to continue to style hair to keep the evil spirits out of their customers (also, all hairdressers were called barbers in the past. If sticking to tradition is that important, maybe Ragged Ass Barbershop should start catering to a wider clientele which is, you know, everyone besides men.) The owner of Ragged Ass Barbershop, Craig Zamonsky, is most certainly discriminating against women and LGBTQ+ identified people based on their gender and/or sexuality. It might just be me, but I’m certain that discrimination based on gender or sexuality is not allowed anymore.
This unfortunate debacle is a case of discrimination and cannot be compared to women-only gyms as Zamonsky told CBC News. These places exist out of necessity as safe spaces because women experience so much harassment and violence that is majorly perpetuated by men. Not to mention potentially religious reasons. Muslim women have every right to utilize gym facilities without violating their religious beliefs about exposing their bodies to strange men. In the end, a women-only gym falls under the same reasoning as a university’s Women’s Center or Pride Center. These are safe spaces for minority groups that require them. Besides, there are many gyms and health services that are open for use by men. Why be mad over a couple women-only gyms? Especially if your place of business is some sort of boys’ club.
Ragged Ass Barbershop specializes in men’s haircuts. When someone specializes in one field or another, it means they are particularly skilled in that area. It does not mean that they are incapable of doing something else. Are women’s heads shaped different somehow? Do they have horns or weird protrusions that make barbers unqualified to cut their hair?
To be honest, a grown man throwing a tantrum over a woman wanting to cut her hair short, or a transgender person wanting a snazzy haircut, is probably not worth the time or money. There are more important things to be upset over, but Craig Zamonsky is choosing to be upset because a woman wants a short haircut by people who claim to specialize in short hair. I’m less surprised by his blatant bigotry and more shocked at his immaturity.