Barbering from a Woman’s Perspective

4 min read A Christiansburg female barber offers her opinion and experience within her job, an area highly dominated by males.

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Photo by NeONBRAND

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By Madison Miler | mmiller190@radford.edu

March is Women’s History Month, and International Women’s Day was held on March 8, 2021, celebrated using the hashtag: #ChooseToChallenge.

The whole month of March is geared towards empowerment and the celebration of all the girls worldwide.

There are various occupations where it is a predominately male field with a handful of women workers, few and far between. Around 30,000 hairdressers and cosmetologists are women, compared to around 40,000 for men. Even lower, only 16% of women are barbers.

“I’m passionate about my clientele. Day-to-day cutting becomes muscle memory but speaking with all my clientele helps shape me into such a well-rounded and compassionate person, someone I’m proud to be.”

Alexandria Ervin, age 22 of Christiansburg, is a barber at Lady Janes Haircuts for Men.

Ervin discussed her feelings on being a female barber in a predominantly male profession.

Q: How long have you been cutting hair?

A: “Going on five years.”

What keeps you going every day to keep cutting?

“I’m passionate about my clientele. Day-to-day cutting becomes muscle memory but speaking with all my clientele helps shape me into such a well-rounded and compassionate person, someone I’m proud to be.”

Why are you so interested in barbering?

“In my experience, the clientele is much more challenging to please. Most people assume the opposite as services such as color take so much more time.

“However, coloring clients tend to wait much longer in between services. A client who receives a good fade will often return within two weeks. This client knows exactly what they want and who they can see to provide the right experience.”

How do you feel about being a female barber?

How do you feel about being a female barber?

“I love it. Most people underestimate how much work you put into your knowledge as a barber. I continue to grow and educate myself on new techniques that I can use to make my services the best that they can be.”

Do you feel like being a woman in this profession holds you back in any way?

Do you feel like being a woman in this profession holds you back in any way?

“There have been a few occasions where I’ve been told ‘you aren’t a man, you can’t cut men’s hair,’ however, I learned early on that if you radiate confidence and professionalism in your day-to-day life, that you will succeed immensely.”

Does anything come up about you being a female barber in a predominantly male profession?

“It absolutely does; however, I am confident enough in my ability to do my job to be able to shake that off.”

Do you feel more women should be involved in barbering?

“This is a tough question to answer, as I feel like if more women wished to work in this industry, there isn’t any reason why they shouldn’t chase that dream.

“Barbering is something you need to be passionate about to succeed, and I believe if you are passionate about it, there is no reason to not pursue the career.”

Since you are a woman in this field, do you feel that anything gets in your way?

“Stereotypes are the main challenge I wish to overcome. I’ve been told, ‘your clients must hit on you all of the time.’ I cannot begin to express how untrue that statement is.

“Barbering is something you need to be passionate about to succeed, and I believe if you are passionate about it, there is no reason to not pursue the career.”

“My goal is to be respected by all men and women alike, and I will continue to work and push to be better than I was yesterday in hopes that I won’t always feel like I’m being objectified.”

Do you feel taken advantage of by men while you are barbering?

“I used to allow the client to feel in control of their service. When this was the case, my answer would have been yes. I eventually learned that they are coming to see me in my chair.

“My clients sit in my chair and let me be in control of the service, which is exactly how it should always be, in my opinion.”

Has Covid-19 impacted your business?

“Yes, this time last year, it was a huge downfall in clients. But we have picked up significantly, and we have not lost in business in months.”

“Yes, this time last year, it was a huge downfall in clients. But we have picked up significantly, and we have not lost in business in months.”

90.8% of cosmetologists are women, but only 16% of women are barbers. How do these numbers make you feel?

“This is a passion-driven industry. If the passion for the job is there, you will succeed. Anyone can achieve a fully booked schedule if they are willing to learn and apply that knowledge on how to do so. If more women were interested in barbering, I absolutely feel like there is more than enough growth potential to step into the industry.”