SWNS

A barber shop owner blocked a woman from having a haircut - claiming men are 'put off' if they see a female inside.


Short-haired Cloë Freeman, 29, said she asked for a traditional fade at the store.

But she was stunned when her request was refused by staff at Misters Mens Hairdressers in St Helier, Jersey, - because she was a woman.

Staff later said she was denied her cut as male customers would be put off by her presence.

Jersey Evening Post / SWNS

The civil servant has said she found the incident "upsetting" and is demanding an apology from the hairdressers.

Cloë said:

"I wasn't even given a chance to say what I was looking for. I was told that they don't service women, end of."
"But I think when you look at my hair for just two seconds, it is pretty obvious I wasn't coming in looking for a bouncy blow dry."
"The only reason I couldn't get what I wanted was because I was a woman."
"I had been shaving my own hair for quite some time and a while ago decided to try out a new style and approached Image Barbers at West's Centre to get a fade."
"Initially I was a bit apprehensive, but when the guys in the barber didn't blink an eye, I then felt comfortable enough to approach a few different barbers in town."

Cloë added that she had gone to salons in the past but found that barbers had better expertise in the style that she wanted.

She added:

"I was particularly taken aback by the reception I got when I walked into Misters because I have had fades done by around four or five barber's shops in town and not one of them made me feel unwelcome, or even acted as though me being there was unusual."

In addition to what Ms Freeman described as an unnecessarily abrupt reception, she added that the shop was completely empty at the time.

She added:

"What I was looking to get done would take around 20 to 30 minutes and, as the place was completely empty, it made the situation even stranger."

Cloë said that although she recognized that the barbershop may not have intended to discriminate against her, the incident had shown 'a general lack of awareness'.

A woman who worked at Misters Mens Hairdressers, but would not give her name, defended her position to refuse Cloë a haircut.

She said:

"Women sometimes come in here looking for a haircut because it is cheaper than in salons."
"But when men come in and see a woman sitting here they are put off coming in as they don't like being here when a woman is here."

But Advocate Barbara Corbett from Corbett Le Quesne law firm has waded into the argument, and said the treatment of Cloë was discriminatory.

She said:

"This is a case of discrimination. And while there may be a defense, I cannot see which one would apply. It's like a nail technician refusing to do a man's nails."
"Men go to barbers to get a particular kind of haircut for the kind of hair they have. "
"If a man with long hair went to a salon to get his hair cut, the salon wouldn't be allowed to refuse him."
"So if this woman was looking for the same haircut as some men get, but was refused on the grounds of being a woman, this is a case of discrimination."

She said that Misters Mens Hairdressers' argument that having a woman getting her hair cut in the premises could make men feel uncomfortable was not a justifiable defense.

Since the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 was introduced in September 2014, people in Jersey have had the right not to be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race.

Since that time, the law has been extended to cover areas including gender, sexual orientation and age.

*A version of this story originally appeared on SWNS and was written by Krystle Higgins and John Bett

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