I read a post on one of Instagram’s most popular barber pages the other week asking it's 1 million plus followers the most bizarre question I think I’d read in years, “Would you trust a female barber to cut your hair?”
Now I’m not gonna go off on some crazy rant or try to start an argument on this but since when did the sex of the barber matter? We have a bunch of female barbers in the HG Family and they are not only insanely talented but bring an amazing dynamic to the shop. Surely it’s simply down to talent and service, right? You wouldn’t find a consultant ask “Are you ok with a female doctor performing your heart surgery today?” before they rolled you into theatre! A doctor is a doctor, a barber is a barber, regardless of age, race, sex etc.
I understand that predominantly barbers were a “man's zone” in the past but don't we now live in the 21st Century? I know so many men that cut women’s hair in salons and have done for years, that’s just standard. It isn’t questioned or ridiculed let alone a debate being required.
There have been women cutting men’s hair for generations so why now, with such a boom in the industry, do we feel the need to ask such a backward question?
Regardless, if you’ve ever wondered to yourself if you should trust a female barber or don’t follow the social media and industry magazine wave right now, I think it's important for you to know the females are fucking taking over. There is so much crazy talent out there just now and the women are right up there getting the recognition they deserve.
I've been really lucky in this industry and formed some amazing relationships with people, a lot of whom I genuinely regard as friends. And what would you know? A lot of them are female and they are barbers! It just so happens that some of them had comments to make on this topic.
Vikki Smith of SB Barbering Academy has been a mentor and industry leader long before the hype and she’s always faced this stigma.
“I took over the oldest barbers in my town from a man almost 14 years ago. Everyday I got a comment asking if I could cut mens hair. ‘Of course I can’ I'd say, as I whipped the gown around them which was often followed up by ‘That’s the best haircut I’ve ever had’. You can only be beaten if you allow it to happen. Own your own power and use it. Be confident in your abilities and don’t be afraid to be heard. Learn to laugh through the stigma and let your work do the talking. Know your worth and never let it slip as self promotion is crucial to success”
Also making waves in the industry is Siobhan of the Cavalier Barber Club in Bedford. Together with her sister Emma they are putting out some insane work with no egos or attitude, just pure love of their craft and work that makes a lot of male barbers probably quiver.
Here is what she had to say on the topic.
“As a female barber, I consider myself quite lucky that I have not had many negative experiences in my working life. In the early days of my career I worked in a shop with both male and female employees. On a few occasions men had said they would rather wait for a male barber but it never really bothered me. I think that some people are sometimes surprised by our skill set and have referenced that it's because we are women but that just makes me feel proud all the more. Within the industry itself the growth and skill coming out of a lot of female barbers at the moment is impossible to ignore, I do believe we are getting taken more seriously and better respected, more women are making it to the stage and so on; controversially, I don’t believe its equal within the industry yet, how many female educators are there compared to male? Again, I'm not saying it's intentional from the male side, it's just harder to be recognised in my opinion. I believe one of the greatest things about being a female barber is the empowerment between the women, it’s a real sisterhood and I'm so proud to be a part of it”
Its great to see the change happening and the recognition increasing. There is no doubt it’s happening. Just look at the amazing Maisie Speed, from Mr Robinsons, front cover shot on the last edition of Barber Evo. We caught up with her on the issue and she concurs – “skill is down to the individual not their sex. Maybe it comes down to “lad banter” but I know some females that can give it just as good as the rest.
Not only as a barber but as a person too, I have nothing but love for anyone that is pushing their craft and skills and trying to be the best they can be in this world. You don’t need recognition or likes on social media to know you are doing a good job. Just keep grinding and focusing on your own abilities and goals and block out any stigma that gets in the way. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and stand tall against the bullshit. Let your work and your attitude speak volumes and believe me, any issues of trust, regardless of sex, will be quickly squashed.