Equality cuts loose in the hair salon

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The Independent Online
It has been decades since hairdressers went unisex, inviting men and women into the same salon, but in New York City they will now have to take the concept a step further. Pricing must be unisex too.

Thanks to a law just passed by the city council, salons that post prices in their window that distinguish between basic cuts for men and women will be breaking the law. They could be fined $500 if they persist.

Indeed, gender discrimination will be a no-no for all businesses. Dry cleaners will no longer be able to charge more for a woman's blouse than a man's shirt. Department stores that ask women to pay for alterations on clothes but offer trouser turn-ups to men for free will also have to change. And say goodbye to those come-ons that bars sometimes try out like half-price drinks for women on Fridays.

For its promoters, the move is a logical extension of the broader anti-discrimination laws. "It was an injustice what was being done to women," said Karen Koslowitz, a councilwoman. "Nowadays, it's the same thing: Men colour their hair; they have it blow-dried; they have it styled. Where I go, you see men in there all the time."

For its critics, it takes gender-correctness a furlong too far.

- David Usborne, New York

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