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Barber in Worcester refuses to cut any woman's hair

(191 Posts)
chocolatesun Fri 20-Apr-18 10:31:16

Sorry this is long but better to give the full story, I think.

A few months ago I popped into a local trendy looking barber in Worcester to have my three year old daughter's hair trimmed. When I asked if they cut children's hair the staff said they wouldn't cut her hair because she is a girl. Something like,'we don't cut girls' hair'. I was taken aback and embarrassed but left without making a fuss.

It did bother me, though, so I called back later to clarify and specifically asked whether they wouldn't cut her hair because: (a) she is female or (b) because they don't/can't do girl's hairstyles. The staffed confirmed it was (a). I said their refusal to cut her hair because she is female is in breach of the equalities act (if it was to do with their training and ability to cut her hair, that would be different). The staff member suggested I call back to speak to the owner.

When I called again to speak to the business owner he was incredibly rude and confirmed they do not cut females' hair. He told me they were barbers and said I should go look up the meaning of barber in the dictionary. He also called me sweetheart! He was utterly misogynistic.

His attitude took me by surprise as I'd assumed the staff had just got it wrong and had been expecting a polite call and maybe an apology from the owner.

Although I was fuming I dropped the entire thing because with a baby and a three year old I really have enough to deal with. I didn't even tell him off for calling me sweetheart as I felt he was spoiling for a fight. However I've just seen that it is is now shortlisted for the MOBAA barber awards for customer service!!

What do mumsnetters think, should I drop this completely on the basis that not every battle needs to be fought? Or am I being pathetic for letting the bully barber win?

theknackster Fri 20-Apr-18 10:35:03

Why would you be asking a barber to cut a girl's hair, unless you were after a short back and sides for her?

borntobequiet Fri 20-Apr-18 10:35:21

FGS find a hairdresser who is good with kids. Why wouldn't you? Leave the barber alone.

OnionKnight Fri 20-Apr-18 10:37:41

Don't be a twat, they're barbers.

Incarnationsofunderstanding Fri 20-Apr-18 10:37:51

The "sweetheart" and rudeness is wrong.

But no I don't think it's wrong for barbers to just cut men's hair, that's what a barbers in. I wouldn't even think of going in tbh because of the naming.

If women can have women only spas etc we need to be ok with men's only barbers.

Not a fight that would do the cause any good, drop it!

aaarrrggghhhh Fri 20-Apr-18 10:42:30

Good lord - talk about bringing feminism into disrepute! Find an actual issue and spend your effort on that.

I bet if a boy asked for a"female" hairstyle he'd say no as well - its a different knowledge/skill base.

There are all sorts of issues about male/female hairstyle stereotypes but the place to tackle them is not here.

Poppyred85 Fri 20-Apr-18 10:43:19

I think there’s 2 issues here. The first is whether it’s reasonable to ask a barber to cut a pre-school girl’s hair. To me, if you just want a bit trimmed off the bottom/fringe as opposed to a style and they would do the same for a boy with longer hair, I don’t really see what the issue is.
The second is the owner’s attitude and they way he some to you as a potential customer. In particular the fact that he’s up for a customer service award and yet was rude. I think the attitude is what would bother me more. Personally, I’d just put that be down to him being an arse and leave it but if you want to take it further you could have a chat to the Worcester News or whoever runs the award he’s up for.

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 20-Apr-18 10:48:17

His insurance might state men only if he is a trained barber not a hairdresser.

SweetGrapes Fri 20-Apr-18 10:48:21

I actually am similarly surprised at this.

My kids have been going to all the local barbers for years - including my daughter. I thought it was pretty normal for all barbers to cut mens and children's hair.

Whether this warrants anything else... maybe a review somewhere online - but highlight the rudeness in answering your query rather than the answer itself.

ReluctantCamper Fri 20-Apr-18 10:48:52

do you not have a his and kids near you FGS?

OvaHere Fri 20-Apr-18 10:49:39

I think some of the issue around barber vs hairdresser is they are separate qualifications. I assume if someone is trained as a barber in specific techniques it's potentially an insurance issue if they step outside of the scope in which they are qualified.

The grey area in this I suppose is whether it should make a difference if the client receiving a barber cut is male or female.

In this case wanting longer length hair trimmed/styled on a girl I think would fall outside their remit/qualification therefore invalidating insurance.

HoppingPavlova Fri 20-Apr-18 10:49:44

It’s a barber. By definition they don’t do female hair. I’m not understanding your lack of understanding and incessant phone calls?

Archduke Fri 20-Apr-18 10:52:54

FGS leave the barber alone. Let men have their space and women have theirs. Or go to a unisex hairdresser. This gives me the shits for self entitled mum-ness.

chocolatesun Fri 20-Apr-18 10:54:09

I hadn't been looking for and argument. I was just desperate to get her hair trimmed that day (had my newborn with me at the time) and all the nearby hairdressers were full! I didn't think it would be a big deal as her hair is so easy, no fringe or anything

I think the issue for me was that it was the fact that she was a girl, and nothing to do with style of haircut. We didn't even get far enough to discuss hairstyles.

It sounds like some barbers are almost male-only spaces. Maybe the owner felt threatened by me, that could explain his aggression.

But I agree with posters here that it probably is not the right battle to fight, even if the owner was incredibly rude.

Ginger1982 Fri 20-Apr-18 10:54:37

Why would you even waste your life pursuing this?

Archduke Fri 20-Apr-18 10:58:08

OP do you really not understand that barbers are male hairdressers?

aaarrrggghhhh Fri 20-Apr-18 11:01:18

"It sounds like some barbers are almost male-only spaces"

so what?

the objection to many historically "male only" spaces e.g. golf clubs, business clubs etc - is (i) that this is where deals get done/networking made etc so excluding women from these spaces excludes them from power (ii) women then don't get to have a space to do these activities themselves. Neither of these apply in this case.

Ellenripleysalienbaby Fri 20-Apr-18 11:01:32

Is this some kind of reverse to show how ridiculous the demands of some TRAs are?

chocolatesun Fri 20-Apr-18 11:05:19

I really hadn't thought of barbers as male-only spaces! I just thought they cut hair, mostly guys, but assumed they would also cut women's hair in certain styles. It seems kind of old fashioned to not want women in a barbershop but I hadn't really put much thought jnto it this issue before. I should add that I've lived in the UK for 10 years but wasn't born here so maybe this is something cultural that I had overlooked into now.

SporadicSpartacus Fri 20-Apr-18 11:05:28

I think you’re right in that he is in breach of the EA. You haven’t asked for a salon service, you’ve asked for the same service that would be provided to a boy, and if they’ve refused it solely on grounds of her sex, that would be discriminatory. Worth fighting? Probably not.

Maybe being her back in khaki shorts and a blue top or something and see if the attitude changes.

WhatToDoAboutWailmerGoneRogue Fri 20-Apr-18 11:06:02

A Barbers is a hairdressers for men only. There is nothing wrong with that and it is not discriminatory.

It sounds like some barbers are almost male-only spaces.

Of course try are. I think the owner is right that you need to look up the meaning of barber in the dictionary:
a person who cuts men's hair and shaves or trims beards as an occupation.

I know this isn’t AIBU, but you are being very unreasonable here and spoiling for a fight.

Childrenofthestones Fri 20-Apr-18 11:06:22

I think sometimes it is worth taking the femigoggles off.

chocolatesun Fri 20-Apr-18 11:07:27


Yes it is a breach but I'm going to let it go. Very amused by mumsnetters indignation at my confusion/ consternation! It does help to give perspective though.

FlaviaAlbia Fri 20-Apr-18 11:09:04

I get my hair cut at a barbers confused what on earth is all this horror at barbers cutting womens hair about? It's quicker, cheaper and they're usually better at styling short hair.

Saying that, this lot sound like arses and I wouldn't want to give them my money, just find another hairdresser or barber and move on...

Pratchet Fri 20-Apr-18 11:09:47


Pursue it

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