The Gentrification of the Barbershop

A sociologist on the race, class, and gender dynamics of the “men’s salon.”

With their red, white and blue striped shafts, dim Naugahyde chairs and straight razor shaves, barbershops hold a unique place in American culture. (Barber East Village)

In any case, numbers demonstrate that barbershops are diminishing. As per evaluation information, from 1992 to 2012 we saw a 23 percent diminish in barbershops in the United States (with a slight uptick in 2013).

As a humanist, I discover barbershops captivating in light of the fact that they’ve additionally customarily been places where men invest energy with other men, framing cozy associations with each other without ladies. Numerous benefactors will even stop by day by day to just visit with their barbers, examine the news or play chess. A genuine network is made in these spots, and the network is critical to well-being and prosperity. (Barber East Village)

So by what method would it be a good idea for us to translate the decrease of the barbershop? Is it yet another sign that, as indicated by Robert Putnam in “Knocking down some pins Alone,” our locale ties are disintegrating? Or on the other hand, would it be a good idea for us to truly be taking a gander at exactly what kind of men are never again getting haircuts at a barbershop—and what kind of men still go there?

 

Men with a professional bent

In the meantime, barbershops are shutting, men’s salons are flying up the nation over. They take into account men, furnishing them with a top of the line benefits that incorporate hot towel facials and hand-itemizing (a doublespeak for a nail treatment). They’re more costly than the normal barbershop or chain store, have smooth contemporary style and aren’t precisely helpful for hanging out and mingling. (Barber East Village)

In my book on these men’s salons, “Styling Masculinity,” hairstylists depicted the barbershop as a vanishing place. They clarified that men are searching out a spoiled preparing background that the barbershop—with its dusty TV, tile floor and heap of auto magazines—doesn’t offer. (Barber East Village)

The youthful authorized barbers working in these salons additionally appeared to be upset with the old school barbershop. They saw these more up to date men’s salons as a “resurgence” of “a men-just place” that gives more “care” to customers than the “filthy little barbershop.” And those barbershops that are staying near, one barber let me know, are “attempting to be somewhat more upscale” by repainting and including level screen TVs. (Barber East Village)

When I solicited customers from one men’s salon, The Executive, in the event that they’d ever get their hair trim at a barbershop, they clarified that they didn’t fit the statistic. Barbershops, they stated, are for old men with little hair to stress over or young men who don’t have anybody to inspire. As expert professional men, they, for the most part, considered themselves to be having outgrown the barbershop. (Barber East Village)

A salon, then again, with its emphasis on definite haircuts and different administrations—nail treatments, pedicures, hair shading and body waxing—assist these men with obtaining what they consider to be an “expert” appearance. (Barber East Village)

As a salon client named Gill explained: “Professional men…they know that if they look successful, that will create connotations to their clients or customers or others that they work with—that they are smart, that they know what they’re doing.”

 

Barbershops still important—for some

In any case, the salon supporters I met were for the most part white, well-to-do men. They offered just a single perspective for what a barbershop is, the thing that it can offer and who can go there. For instance, in my prior research on a little ladies’ salon, one male customer revealed to me the barbershop is a place for the repairman, or “oil monkey,” who couldn’t care less what he looks like, and for “machismo” men who incline toward a heap of Playboy magazines as opposed to the delicacy of a salon. (Barber East Village)

These mentalities about the barbershop as a position of yore, as a blurring organization offering obsolete trends, are both classist and bigot. (Barber East Village)

With all the sentimentality for the barbershop in American culture, there’s shockingly minimal scholastic expounding on it. However, it’s telling that examination considering the significance of the barbershop in men’s lives, by and large, tends to center around dark barbershops. The corner barbershop is fit as a fiddle in dark networks, and it serves as a key part in the lives of dark men. (Barber East Village)
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In her book “Barbershops, Bibles, and BET,” political scientist and TV host Melissa Harris-Perry wrote about how an everyday barbershop talk is an important place for black political thought. Scholars have also shown that the black barbershop can strengthen community ties and improve the economy in black neighborhoods while acting as a place to socialize young black boys.

 

Paying a premium for nostalgia

So instead of asking if the barbershop is vanishing, we should really be asking: Where are they disappearing, what is replacing them and what are the social relations underpinning the emergence of the new men’s salon? (Barber East Village)

For example, in some white gentrifying neighborhoods, the barbershop is actually making a comeback. In his article, “What the Barbershop Renaissance Says about Men,” journalist Thomas Page McBee writes that these new barbershops primarily act as places where men can channel a form of masculinity that supposedly existed unfettered in the “good old days.” Sensory pleasures are central to the experience: The smell of talcum powder, the cool burn of aftershave and the site of shaving mugs help men to grapple with what it means to be a man at a time when traditional definitions of masculinity are in flux. (Barber East Village)

But these new, repackaged barbershops come at a cost, charging much more than the usual $12 for a haircut—a price point that will exclude a huge swath of male consumers.

Thus in a place that connects with strains between thoughts of nostalgic manliness and another kind of dynamic man, we might just observe open doors for social equity fall by the wayside. The trendy person marvel, all things considered, is a generally white one that appropriates images of white common laborers manliness (think white tank finish with tattoos or the plaid shirts of lumbersexuals) without extremely surrendering class benefit. (Barber

East Village)

What can the men’s salon mean?

When we return to neighborhoods where barbershops are actually disappearing—replaced by high-end men’s salons like those featured in my book—it’s important to put these shifts into context.

They’re not indications of a crumbling former culture of masculinity. Or maybe, they connote a change of white, well-to-do manliness. Previously, the barbershop was a place for these men. Today, while the old model may flourish in dark or cutting-edge neighborhoods, white proficient men are looking for a spoiled affair somewhere else. (Barber East Village)

Also, they’re making personal connections in these new men’s salons. Be that as it may, rather than drenching themselves in single-sex networks of men, they’re regularly constructing one-on-one classified associations with ladies hair beauticians. Beauticians regularly clarified this closeness as a component of their occupations. For white men with budgetary means, however, the men’s salon turns into a vital place where they can buy the feeling of association they may somehow be absent in their lives. (Barber East Village)

(Barber East Village)

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