“You can’t carry it off. You’re too fat.”
That’s what a hair stylist told one of my clients when my client showed the stylist a picture of a new short haircut she wanted to try.
Not that it matters, but my client happens to be a size 14…
She left the salon with her old, longer haircut. At home, nursing some feelings of hurt and shame, but mostly anger, she shared the story with her husband. He supported her whole-heartedly, saying “It’s your hair…if you want a short haircut, get a short haircut!”
A friend suggested she attempt to cut it herself . “Create a mess. Then, she’ll have to fix it.”
Instead, she took the more direct route back to the salon. She returned and used her voice, showing the stylist a picture of her sister’s wonderful short hair cut, which looks great on the sister. The sisters are about the same size. Still, the stylist called over three other stylists, in an attempt to talk her out of it. Even if the stylist, this “artist”, believed she knew best what would look most “attractive” on this woman, she was clearly oblivious to her own weight bias and rude behavior.
My client held her ground! She got her short haircut, just in time to celebrate her 50th birthday. She loves it! So does her husband! She posted her new “do” on Facebook. She looks absolutely beautiful! Feedback, across the board, has been wonderful! But most importantly, she feels beautiful!
I am so proud of her for using her voice; for speaking up and getting her needs met.
She has been going to the same hair salon for thirteen years—working with this stylist for two years. When I heard this story I felt compelled to use my voice, too. I told her I thought it was time for a new salon!
Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org