Gender Role Reversal in Hairdressing Profession and Female Clients' Perception of Male Hairdressers in Ibadan North Local Government Area, Oyo State, Nigeria.

AuthorNnadi, Daniel Chidozie
PositionHuman Hair: Intrigues and Complications - Report


Over the years, some occupations have been perceived to be either best suited for men or women. However, in recent times, gender role reversal is gradually taking place in most of these occupations as women are beginning to pursue careers earlier known to be male dominated and vice-versa. With less attention being paid to other factors affecting men such as the decline in male wages and men's labour force activity, together with growing labour market uncertainty with nothing being done to minimize this menace, many more men are being forced into the informal economy for life sustenance (Olah et. al., 2014). In addition, the on-going gender revolution in higher education, which have women now out numbering men in universities across the globe and also graduating more successfully tends to affect men's productivity within various families and the society at large (Vincent-Lancrin, 2008) as citied by Olah et. al., (2014). Hence, causing a gradual role reversal with some women moving into jobs that are perceived as masculine and vice-versa.

One of the jobs that is traditionally associated with females that is gradually experiencing a gender role reversal is the hairdressing profession. Hairdressing, a profession formerly regarded as an occupation for school-dropouts partly because their techniques were very simple in those days, has become more specialized since the introduction of new techniques from Europe and America (Oda, 2005). There is a rebranding of the hairdressing profession which can be accounted for as the reason it has so many entrants now including males who never took interest in the profession before this time. For instance, some salons give a graduation examination to their apprentices and award a certificate as a reward to those who passes their examinations.

To many people, it still remains a mystery how men tend to perform better at dressing a woman's hair a business that was traditionally perceived as feminine in nature, than women themselves. However, salient questions have being raised as to whether these men are actually better at hair making or it is just in the minds of women who are perhaps thrilled about having the opposite gender touch their hair (Agbonkhese and Aganbi, 2016). Various studies have looked at the communication patterns within hairdressing Salons, young people's job perception and preference in relation to hairdressing (Milllward,, 2006). Salon culture among female undergraduate students of University of Ibadan (Ogundipe 2016) and how the profession of hairdressing was used as a site for debates and discussions about identity, belonging and nationhood during the twentieth century among Ghanaians (Essah, 2008). Bloggers and newspapers have also looked at reasons why women are drawn to male hairdressers but few scholarships have addressed the issues or factors responsible for the recent trends of role reversal in the hairdressing profession. Therefore, this study investigated the factors responsible for the increasing rate of male entrance into the hairdressing profession and female clients' perception of males in the hairdressing profession in Ibadan North Local Government. The aim of this study was to investigate on the factors responsible for the recent trend of gender role reversal in the hairdressing profession. The population of this study were male hairdressers within Ibadan North Local Government and female clients' within the ages of 16 years and above who at one time or another have had their hair dressed by a male hairdresser. 50 participants were consulted with 10 participants consulted in each of the 5 communities that were selected. Key concepts in this study include role reversal; a situation in which someone or a group of people suddenly begin to move into a role which is normally assumed in relation to someone else. While perception in this study is the organization, identification and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent, understand, deduce and notice something easily about a particular thing or persons. Through this discussion, four of the research questions identified in the introduction are addressed; 1) what are the factors responsible for the role reversal in the hairdressing profession? 2) What is the perception of female clients' about male hairdressers in Ibadan North local Government, 3) To what extent does the customer service skills of male hairdressers influence their client's patronage? 4) To what extent does gender difference increase patronage of male hairdressers? This study is important in addressing issues of gender occupational stereotypes held by some clients. This work will be of great benefits to researchers in the field of gender scholarship as it will be investigating issues of traditional gender role and the contemporary role reversal in various occupations with changes in the stereotype held about gender role between boys and girls.

Review of Related Literatures

In Nigeria, hair styling is an art form that begins from birth. Nigerian hair styles use principles of art and design, including curves, zigzags, horizontals, perpendiculars and straight lines (Oladumiye, Adiji, and Olabiyi, 2013). Traditionally, "hair styling has been a highly respected vocation, and people who showed special talents for hair dressing were urged to pursue it as a career" (Adiji, Oladumiye and Ibiwoye, 2015: 24). Hair dressing in Nigeria is considered the beauty of every woman and a job mostly done by women in their leisure time. Liberal feminists explain this in terms of gender stereotypes and gender roles. Gender roles emphasize that "good" daughters, wives or mothers are women who care for their parents, partners, or offspring (Brym, 2004). However, the concentration of men in some occupations and women in others is often referred to as sex segregation of occupations and the notion that a given occupation is appropriate for one sex versus the other is referred to sex typing or sex labelling of occupations. According to Milward, "Some of the gender segregation in today's labour market may still be accounted for by discrimination, but it is also perpetuated through young people's perceptions that certain jobs are more or less appropriate for them depending on whether they are male or female. Gender segregation in fact continues to be one of the strongest influences on young people's occupational choices, over and above actual ability" (Millward, Houston, Brown and Barrett, 2006: 9). In a research carried out by Miller, et. al. 2004 and citied by Millward, et al (2006), children within the ages of 7 to 11 were asked whether certain jobs were thought to be more suitable for women, men, or equally suited to both genders. At the end of the research, the researchers discovered that many jobs were seen in a gender-stereotypical way by both boys and girls. The responds from them showed that individuals' preferences remained largely restricted to those jobs that were viewed as in keeping with stereotypes about jobs appropriate for their own gender.

Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara and Pastorelli (2001) cited by Millward, et. al. (2006) further argue that women's career interests are restricted because they believe they are not capable of undertaking traditional, stereotypically male occupations, even when they are encouraged by parents or teachers to either broaden or heighten their academic aspirations (Millward, et al. 2006). Hence, some people grow up believing they are capable of some jobs but not all. However, boys and girls with higher academic and occupational self-belief considered a wider range of career options than those with little or no academic qualifications. In spite of some women's qualifications, it is commonly found that while girls with greater levels of self-efficacy were more willing to pursue non-traditional career-paths than those with lower levels, they still preferred traditionally female occupations over non-traditional roles (Nevill and Schlecker, 1988).

According to (Curry and McEwen, 1989) cited by (Millward et. al., 2006) young girls' choice of skills or occupation is affected with their consideration of the possibility of running a home and family alongside their job. Such awareness may limit them to consider traditionally feminine jobs that can be done part-time or which they think can be easily reconciled with family life. Millward (2006) further citied Hakim (2002) as he opines that women often choose occupations that are 'work-centered', 'adaptive' and 'home-centered'. Work-centered women are said to be more confident about non- traditional masculine-style careers and be less...

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