A movement in Ontario to make it a human rights violation to charge women more than men for haircuts, toiletries and dry cleaning picked up steam Thursday. The legislature approved in principle a Canadian first: a bill that would fine merchants up to $5,000 for asking more to trim women's hair than men's or more to dry clean a blouse than a shirt.
"It's something that makes common sense, to charge the same price to women or to men for the same good or service," said Lorenzo Berardinetti, a Liberal government backbencher who proposed a private member's bill he says mirrors laws in New York, Miami and California. Private member's bills rarely make it into law. But Berardinetti's passed second reading Thursday and will be sent to a legislative committee for public hearings.
Berardinetti, a rookie politician, is also a rookie husband. He says he did not realize the extent of the differing prices for men and women until he went shopping for cologne and clothing with his new wife, Michelle. "I soon learned what gender tax was all about," he said. "It's my wife, it's her fault." Michelle Berardinetti told reporters Thursday she too quickly tired of watching her husband pay less for everything from deodorant to suits and haircuts. "When it's brought to your attention, it's like 'Wow, that's amazing, I can't believe that,' " she said. "It's the same as a racial issue or something. When it's brought in your face, then you start to realize it."
I am literally outraged that the provincial government thinks it has the right to tell retailers, hair stylists or dry cleaners what they can or cannot charge for their goods or services. Furthermore, I am incensed that the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (which already has a backlog of far more serious cases to hear) could potentially be further burdened by having to adjudicate the cost of shirt versus a blouse that these “gender based pricing” issues will generate.
Whatever happened to the letting the consumer decide where to spend their bucks? When MPP Berardinetti was asked if his private member’s bill was passed into law could it not result in far higher prices for the everyone MPP Berardinetti glibly replied “I think that if I was a dry cleaner or if I had a hair salon, I would compete. Those that offer the best prices are going to get the most business." You can’t have it both ways.
Listen up Dickhead – If I was running a salon and had to comply with a gender price law I would not have a choice but to raise the price for everyone. I am not in business to lose money to comply with your notions of gender equality. I have a good friend who owns a unisex hair salon. She charges women more for the same services she offers for men. Here’s the difference: she can wash, cut, blow-dry and style three men’s hair in one hour’s time. A simple hair cut for a woman takes 40 minutes to 1 hour because their hair is longer. Not to mention that the styles women often desire require more hair products. But you know, if you’re a woman; there is nothing to stop you from going to a man’s barbershop to get your hair cut. And speaking from personal experience - they won’t charge you a different rate but they won’t wash, dry or style your hair either.
And for the record, there is no law stopping any woman from buying men’s socks, underwear, pants, shirts, coats, sweaters or deodorant if that is what you want. When you show up at the cashier in Shopper’s Drug Mart with Mennen’s Speed Stick for Men they don’t suddenly up the price because you are wearing a bra. Tell your wife to learn to buy on sale for deodorant. My dry cleaner doesn’t ask me if I bring in a man’s shirt if it’s for me or my sons. But if it’s a tailored woman’s shirt with darts over both breasts and in the back he charges me more. You know why? It takes longer to press. No darts, no pleats and all cotton – same price as a man’s.
Berardinetti, you need a new dry cleaner, and tell your wife, no one is compelling her to buy women’s clothing or go to a woman’s hair salon – there’s no law against it - at least not yet. Shh, don’t tell Berardinetti but women’s clothing frequently goes on sale more often than men’s – no doubt if he found that out he would want to introduce a bill to stop that. I’m emailing MPP Smitherman in the morning as I want a private member’s bill introduced against dickhead Liberal MPP’s.
(tipped off by Neale News)