THE BLOG

Haircuts and Misogyny

27/08/2014 16:03 BST | Updated 26/10/2014 09:59 GMT

Picture this, you're out for a long day of shopping with a male companion, be it your partner or just a friend and he decides to go for a haircut. You are greeted with the request to leave 'women aren't allowed' the owner says. Are you in the 1940s? No, guess again, you're in 2014!

Recently there has been a twitter outrage at the new barber shop opened this month, the owner stating that women aren't allowed. Not only is the fact that this has been allowed to happen in this century but their twitter responses have been a disgusting display of classic misogyny and even transphobia. The owner of the shop defended his decision on the premise that there are plenty of women only spaces in the area, including mother and toddler groups. I'm not quite sure he understands the point of women only spaces. Women only spaces are created for confidence building, safety and because, to quote the owner himself "it's a man's world" and unfortunately true, women can barely get to be in any space without the watchful eye of a man.

Now, I understand that it's a barber shop that specialises in cutting for beards and 'male' haircuts, whatever that is? But this reply really did make my blood run cold. A classic display of transphobia... men only "all you need is a dick", now it already seems ridiculous to deny someone entry to somewhere based on their genitals but what is more disgusting is the fact that somehow this person thinks that your genitals define your gender? Guess again, gender is much more complicated than that. Gender is a social construct and in this society it is constructed around a patriarchy. A system of norms put in place to decide what box we all fit in. Gender already gives us enough constraints without businesses deciding this for us too.

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This classic display of transphobia and complete misunderstanding of gender made me angry enough. But this next tweet is equally as disgusting. We live in a society that not only does misogyny manifest itself in every way but it also kills women. In a society where violence against women and girls is so normalised, rape culture, domestic violence and sexual assault are all too normal experiences for women today. So in knowledge of this why don't we make a little fun out of violence against women shall we?

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A free stick for beating girls off?

So according to the shop owner, those policies not allowing women in was not meant to 'offend' anyone. I think it is safe to say that you have offended quite a lot of people; not just your policies but your twitter response is misogyny at its best and trivialising violence isn't exactly my idea of a joke.

I am honestly quite shocked that this has been allowed to happen, especially in the city that I live in. The owner of the shop described people who are annoyed about this as 'feminists', as though to use that as some kind of insult. What more evidence do we need that we still live in misogyny where the word 'feminist' can be used as an insult. That somehow having the belief that women should have social, economic and political equality with men, is a bad thing? I'm not insulted by being called a feminist, I am a feminist. I am someone that believes that in 2014 we should not have shops that get to decide where women can and cannot go and I certainly don't think a business twitter should be controlled by men who clearly think it is funny to trivialise gender based violence and make throw away comments about something as complicated as gender.

When the word feminism becomes an insult we know that the word needs to be reclaimed and more widely understood. The word gay changed its meaning and somehow became an insult, a word used to oppress and silence people and the word FEMINISM has now, sadly, taking the same turn. Being a feminist is not an insult, it is not something you should be ashamed of. Anti-feminism is misogyny in practise, it is women hating and in 2014 you would have thought this kind of attitude would not be welcomed with open arms, like it has been for this barber shop.

So instead of making sure you #staytrue to your misogyny, how about you #staytrue to women and our right to go wherever we please.