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Splitting hairs between genders

When a transgender student approached the Algonquin College salon for a haircut a few years ago, Algonquin’s hairstyling program coordinator realized that it was time to move away from the concept of men’s or women’s cuts.

“I encouraged us to start asking ‘is it a clipper cut or a scissor cut?’” Deanna Douglas, said.

Typically, clippers are used for speedily cutting hair, while scissors are used to define and style.

Though both methods require ample skill, scissor-cuts are more technical and often require more time, which is usually needed for longer hair.

The term “gender” has recently undergone a significant evolution. Once used as a simple term to differentiate between masculinity and femininity, gender has expanded to include how people class their sex, gender identity and gender roles.

Due to this massive shift, the hairstyling industry has begun adapting and moving away from the concept of gender-specific cuts.

With the popular emergence of man buns and hockey hair, hair salons like Ottawa’s Hair Junkie has made the change to gender-neutral haircut prices.

At the suggestion of his staff, Hair Junkie’s owner, Fady Assad, decided to base prices on short, medium or long hair rather than the customer’s gender.

“Hair has no gender,” said Fady, “We finally decided that now was the time to make a change.”

Hair Junkie is the only hair salon within Ottawa to offer gender-neutral prices. Other salons in the city typically offer men’s haircuts at a significantly reduced rate and sometimes even as little as half the price of women’s cuts. Algonquin’s hair salon offers women’s cuts at $20 and men’s at $10.

As North Americans continue pushing for equal rights between men and women, it may be unfair that hairstyling prices remain so uneven and based on an out-of-date system.

“I do think the wave of the future should be to identify the technique and the time versus the person,” added Douglas “I think that’s really important. It’s about the hair and the way in which you cut and not whether you’re a male or female.”

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