A place of greater safety

Oh for god’s sake.

this is Scotland’s first ‘halal hairdressers’ – a beauty salon which conforms to the strict rules of Islam; a place where Muslim women who wear the veil or headscarf can be seen uncovered without the risk of the gaze of men.

The salon will be a ‘man-free zone’. The frosted windows will stop any inquisitive men passing by from gawping at the clients. No-one can get in without passing through a secure buzzer entry system with CCTV. All this means that the Muslim ladies who have come for a new hair-do can remove their headscarves safe in the knowledge that only other women can see them.

Was this article written by an imam? Probably not, since the name is Helen McArdle. What is she doing buying into the ugly, infantile assumptions behind this stupid enterprise? The “gaze of men” is not really much of a “risk,” especially since pretty much no men in the universe want to look through the windows of a hairdresser’s to watch women getting their hair worked on. “Inquisitive” men won’t be “gawping” at the clients anyway, because they don’t give a fuck. And all this fuss and precaution just feeds into the idea that women need to be hidden away at all times and aren’t “safe” taking their headscarves off unless only other women can see them.

“There are hair salons in Glasgow that are ladies-only, but not like our salon. Our salon is completely discreet, completely hidden from the public, from men, whereas the salons here, men still walk past and they can still see in or come in. Ours has a buzzer entry system, and we’ve got CCTV so that we can see who’s actually approaching the door.

 “Muslim husbands can feel relaxed knowing that their wife is safe, where no man is going to be able to see them, and then they can come home and show their beauty. Muslim clients have never experienced this ever. It’s a great feeling.”


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