I Was Fat-Shamed At The Salon -- Here's What To Do If It Happens To You

For 10 minutes, as I was nearly in tears, the hairstylist berated me about the idea of getting a pixie cut.
Publish date:
July 8, 2014
haircuts, fat shaming, salons, short hair, pixie cuts

It had taken me eight months to get that cut.

After my dad passed away of pancreatic cancer, the “war hair” I’d grown as a sort of secret talisman to try to keep him alive was starting to weigh on me. I was getting hard-to-remove knots every day, and rather than being a blessing of remembrance, it was turning into a burden.

It needed to come off.

So I went to a hair salon in the suburbs; no big-city $80 cuts for me, just a quick wash and dry and snip. But then the questions started coming.

“Are you sure you want to do this?”

That short?”

“Let me ask my coworker if she thinks you should do it.”

“Have you ever done this before?”

I respect a hairdresser for wanting to give me the best cut possible, but the questions didn’t stop. It seemed like it was more about what she wanted to give me than what I wanted from her. If this was a deli, she would’ve been pressuring me for turkey if I just wanted ham.

For 10 minutes, as I was nearly in tears, she berated me about the idea of getting a pixie cut, my haircut of choice this time around. I could’ve left, certainly, but I didn’t think I was brave enough to go to a different salon and try again.

As her questions continued, they seemed to be less and less about my “rash” decision to cut my hair, and more about that typical, boring rule: Fat girls don’t get to have pixie cuts. Not that they don’t get them, that they don’t get to get them. Some kind of weird law.

After I convinced her that, yes, I really did want to get this haircut (without having to resort to Sad Dad Stories) the wash and dry went pretty normally. I sat, turned my head, answered random questions about my life, the normal things one does when sitting in the pneumatic chair. I thought everything was going great, actually.

When a bulk of my previously mid-back-length hair was gone, she reminded me how much weight I’d just lost.

This is one of those quotes that I get the feeling is just in a hairdresser’s closet of spieling. When used on someone overweight, however, it takes on a sinister tone, especially after trying to convince said overweight person to keep their hair “flatteringly” long.

I got quiet and a bit awkward after that. You don’t argue with someone with scissors in their hands, after all. I just wanted to get out of there. After the haircut I basically flew out of there. I’ll never return.

I never want this to happen to anyone again. If a haircare or other beauty supplier tries to pull this on you, remember the following...

Be Confident

Explain that, yes, you do want the haircut/neon nails/nose job/whatever it is you want. Use short sentences. Besides saying “yes, I want this,” don’t make excuses for your ideas. You don’t need a reason to do something to your body.

Be Cool

Answer defiant-seeming questions or statements with either silence or an explanation. If you’re in a situation where someone’s care might change if you argue with them, like a hairdresser or dentist’s chair, consider waiting until after the procedure is over.

Take Your Business Elsewhere

Simply leave. Go on a review site not only to give them a negative review, if you feel it necessary, but also to research a place where the people might be a bit kinder.

Nobody should have to give their life story or have their self-esteem knocked just to get some snips done. Be smart with your body and brain and vote with your wallet.