Friday, 7 October 2011

Hair Salon for Curvy Clients

Now this subject should cause some debate!

Bashar Brown, a British hair stylist, has opened Hair By Bashar, a salon that caters to plus size clients who feel uncomfortable in mainstream salons.

"Increasingly, larger women were telling me how they hate going to the salon because they are filled with slim, glamorous women," Brown explained to the Daily Mail. "For them, it feels the same as walking into a gym full of ultra-fit people. They feel like everyone is staring at them."

So Brown has created a salon where larger women and men can feel comfortable getting their hair styled. This means extra large seats, gowns and hair-washing basins.

Brown says he sympathises with curvier clients because he used to be overweight. Now he wants to make those who feel uncomfortable with their bodies glamorous when it comes to beauty.

I find myself with mixed opinions on this one. Being pampered at the hair salon is one of the lovely luxury rituals that most women look forward to. I think its admirable that Bashar is attempting to create this environment for people who may not have enjoyed the process in the past. BUT... why should the more voluptuous of us feel uncomfortable in the same salon as our slimmer counterparts? Doesn't this go against everything that we are fighting for, ie, to not be judged by size, shape, age etc?

Heres hoping for a world where we can all share a salon/gym or any other public place without judgement or discomfort.

What do you think?


The Curvy Blonde said...

I agree with your take on it. I've never felt uncomfortable in the salon or worried about the chair sizes, etc..until now! Are the thin women staring at me? Oh well if they are...I love going to the salon and have never felt uncomfortable or unwelcome. I want to know what salon these women are going to where they are being stared at!
Great article!

GG said...

I feel uncomfortable in salons for the reasons Brown puts forward. I wish I didn't but I do. Maybe it's because I feel outnumbered, maybe it's because I'm afraid I'll break their chairs, maybe it's because I'm staring at myself in the mirror for an hour under awful lights with wet hair, or hair pinned in crazy ways while the colour is going in.
Maybe it's because I'm forced to confront my appearance in this way.
I'm uncomfortable to the point where I only go to the salon 2 or 3 times a year, at the most.

In saying that, although going to a salon exclusively for curvy girls would make the whole salon experience so much better for me, I don't think it helps the more abstract, longer term goals of having society accept fat people as normal if we segregate ourselves this way.

For me, being visible is a form if activism: and that can mean anything from having crazy hair, wearing loud clothes, wearing fashionable clothes, eating in public. Mainly just existing and not hiding because I'm fat. And so my presence in a salon has two purposes: for me to get my hair done, but it's also an act of activism, putting myself out there, existing as a fat person in a thin-centric world/salon, and trying in some small way to normalise the fat body. So the choice between going to a plus-size only salon and regular salon is the choice between what I need for myself and what I need for society, and ultimately myself again, but in a more abstract way.

Still, I wish I didn't have to confront all those negative thoughts and uncomfortable feelings I get in a salon. But maybe that change has to come within me: creating a new type of salon won't make the problem of having a 'bad body-image day" go away.