“Hairs are being split in Denmark as a new front line has opened up in the battle of the sexes over the price of a haircut,” writes Matthew McGarry on this ABC piece on price discrimination for haircuts. You know this is some important reporting on gender and price discrimination.
Denmark, along with most Scandinavian countries, prides itself on gender equality compared with most of the rest of the world. Recently a Danish citizen filed a complaint against a salon that posted lower prices for men’s haircuts than for women’s haircuts. The complaint was upheld and it was found to violate Denmark’s equality laws to charge different prices based on sex.
McGarry did his due diligence on this important matter with interviews various salon-side people, including the Danish union for hairdressers and barbers.
“It is completely absurd that the Gender Equality Board, without even inquiring with us about the reason for various women’s and men’s rates, just declared them illegal,” Connie Mikkelson, chairwoman of the Danish organization for independent hairdressers and cosmeticians, said to ABC News in a statement. “There is a reasonable explanation as to why there is this difference in price.”
Well, first of all, rarely does gender discrimination take place without some sort of justification. Women just prefer to pay more for haircuts! But second, a point raised, why not just charge based on complexity of the haircut? The stylists say that charging based on length of hair causes too much conflict with customers, but luckily people can get over that. Let’s detach our social construction of sex and gender from our beautiful haircuts. Sometimes a man might be flattered by some well-done layering and a woman might look hot with a bowl cut. I’m just now recalling that I paid full-price for a woman’s haircut when I had my Tony Hawk circa early ’90s ‘do. Not fair when my partner has luscious wavy shoulder length hair and he gets fancy haircuts for 1/2 of what I pay. I think Denmark is really onto something with this whole gender equality thing.