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gottahaveflow
June 20th, 2019, 10:00 PM
Since I have grown my hair out some people don't like it long, some do, but other than differences in personal preference I haven't actually felt discriminated against until recently.

For a little background: I am in medical school, the first 2 years of which are spent doing mostly classroom based activities and studying. Then for the last 2 years we spend all of our time working in the hospital or clinic seeing patients. I just finished my second year and started my clinical rotations in the past month.

I met with one of the program directors a couple weeks ago. we meet with them every often, and they meet with everyone before we start doing clinicals. She brought up my hair and asked if I was planning to cut it. Nope. At which point she told me that was fine but that they expected I keep it tied back all fo the time when I am working with patients. I just said okay and left since we were done, but it really bothered me.

In the end it isn't going to practically change anything for me. I don't really like having my hair loose, I like wearing my hair in a ponytail and do 90% of the time. The other 10% is generally just if I am at home or occasionally hanging out with friends. I would have my hair tied back because I like my hair tied back, and I feel it is more professional, but it bothers me that they would make a point of telling me I needed to. I doubt they said that to any of my female counterparts and I know they aren't expected to wear their hair tied back other than when it makes sense for practical purposes or needs to be back like if we are helping in surgery etc. If I want to wear my hair loose I should be able to.

I don't have any plans to do anything, or say anything about it. It wouldn't change anything for me. I wonder if I should though just on principle.

Sorry for the rant but definitely a new experience for me.

akurah
June 20th, 2019, 10:39 PM
They told you to tie it back for health and sanitation reasons. Hair is incredibly germy and gross and not sanitary in health or food environments. There's a reason that food service workers are required by law (at least in some places) to wear them, and it's just as important in the medical field.

This is not discrimination. You're blowing this out of proportion quite a bit.

cjk
June 20th, 2019, 11:22 PM
That's not a prejudice. It's a grooming standard, and in the case of medical facilities, justifiable.

I deal with this sort of thing being bearded. When around certain manufacturing facilities or even food, it must be contained and covered.

EdG
June 20th, 2019, 11:24 PM
I had guessed from the title that you are a guy. :)

A number of LHC'ers work in the medical field. Wearing hair in a bun or braid is typical. Fortunately, as a result of the man-bun fad a few years ago, guys can wear buns and no-one thinks twice about it.

Welcome to the board! :waving:
Ed

The-Young-Maid
June 20th, 2019, 11:26 PM
Seriously? I agree with akurah, this is not discrimination. This was a gentle reminder from your superior that your hair needs to be contained. Ponytails after a certain point really don't contain the length of your hair. Depending on how long it is, it'll still get into plenty of things. At least do a braid, preferably a bun.

I'm certain that every other human with hair has been told how to wear it at some point. Even your female counterparts.

Tinyponies
June 21st, 2019, 12:40 AM
Maybe you had to be there. On the face of it, it makes sense (I would expect to have to put my hair up when working with patients, and as a patient would rather see hair up, regardless of gender).

The director might not like long hair on guys and that could be what you picked up on though.

If so, chances are youíre right but also thereís the chance that this feels bigger to you than it does to other people. Especially if this is the first time growing your hair really long. If this is the case, youíll adjust as you get used to it. It's like a tender spot thatíll heal over. When I first stopped removing my body hair I felt like everyone was staring at me or had an opinion and it was on my mind most of the time. Now, years later, Iím sure they do stare and have opinions, but Iím different in that I donít care. With the context of time my confidence has grown and I know in myself thereís bigger things to be bothered about than some idiot that is bothered by a bit of leg hair on a stranger.

Embrace it, congratulate yourself for doing something you want to do. Try to see that pain as growth, I promise it is!

Sarahlabyrinth
June 21st, 2019, 02:32 AM
It's not a matter of prejudice, but of hygiene in the medical field. I would think it would be an absolute requirement to have long hair confined or covered in the medical field and the food industry too. I used to work in the food industry and all head hair had to be completely covered when anywhere around food. Hair carries a lot of germs. It is good to get used to confining it earlier rather than later and there are lots of interesting ways to wear it, too.

Also if your hair is confined or covered it isn't being exposed to so much of whatever may be floating around in the air...that's a plus!

Lady Stardust
June 21st, 2019, 02:36 AM
I agree that long hair should be tied back for hygiene reasons but it sounds like you are doing that already. Most doctors and nurses I see wear their hair in plaits or buns rather than a ponytail as itís more contained.

The point that you are making though, is that your women coworkers should also wear their hair tied back and it sounds like they donít. Maybe they will also be told that they should. I agree with you that there should not be one rule for men and another rule for women.

ETA: Welcome to the forum :)

MusicalSpoons
June 21st, 2019, 03:38 AM
I doubt they said that to any of my female counterparts and I know they aren't expected to wear their hair tied back other than when it makes sense for practical purposes or needs to be back like if we are helping in surgery etc. If I want to wear my hair loose I should be able to.

I don't have any plans to do anything, or say anything about it. It wouldn't change anything for me. I wonder if I should though just on principle.

This is the bit that I understand why you felt discrimination. It may be subconscious prejudice - maybe they assume women already know they should tie their hair up and how to but guys don't. Maybe they buy into the perception that men's hair long is because a guy can't be bothered to get it cut and can't be bothered to look after it, so it's dirty. (Of course, either is prejudice and does not apply to all!)

Are the women not tying their hair because there really is no rule or are they just not obeying it? (This might be where doing something about it on principle might be useful or at least enlightening.)

Another point to consider is, how long is your hair, and how long is the hair of your female peers? If it's significantly longer, there likely does come a point when it has to be tied back so it doesn't go into patients' faces; for instance APL hair may well not do that but waist+ probably will (I don't know, I've not had hair that short since childhood and I've not worked with patients, I'm mainly going by the hair I've observed in medical dramas :shrug:).
Personally I would have assumed that all hair would need to be tied back but evidently there are some clinical situations when shorter hair is okay loose.

Joules
June 21st, 2019, 03:39 AM
I don't know what length is OP's hair, but I'll still say this: after a certain length your hair starts to live its own life by its own rules, and you absolutely must contain it to protect it from the world and the world from it.

Hair does carry a lot of germs. Think about it: if it's in any style other than a bun, if it hangs down, it collects everything. Just think about what kinds of bacteria live on public transpot seats. On chairs in your workplace where other people sit who sat on a bus seat an hour ago. If you touched a door handle in a public bathroom and then touched your hair. Just imagine what lives there if you wash your hair less often than every day. And if you're one of those people who don't wash their hair at all, I don't even want to imagine anything. Fecal bacteria was found on banknotes, just think about what hair can collect. You're working with sick people, don't make them any more sick, please. It's not discrimination, it's a totally reasonable thing to ask.

bokeh
June 21st, 2019, 05:38 AM
I would think that in a medical situation hair should be completely contained at all times (just like in food prep). I would also think that the program directors should inform ALL students about to start working in hospitals or clinics of that fact no matter their sex or the length of their hair. In fact, I think that should have been covered at some point in the classroom. Good luck in your medical career! Oh, and enjoy setting your hair free after a hard day of work, lol.

lapushka
June 21st, 2019, 06:05 AM
No I agree with most posters here. This is not discrimination. This is part of the uniform of being in the medical industry. You are required to be as "clean" as possible and carry that image. It is not on to examine a patient and get your hair in their face or on their body for instance. They want to prevent that from happening, hence why you are required to tie it back.

It's just not sanitary.

Climber
June 21st, 2019, 06:54 AM
There seems to be consensus here about the need for containment. If female health care providers are not containing their hair, that's a problem. I was getting physical therapy the other day, and there were a couple of female PT assistants who did not contain their hair (mid back length or so) and had to keep pushing it back. I did not say anything.

Joules
June 21st, 2019, 06:55 AM
My best friend is in the medical field. She's an X-ray specialist, she doesn't really work with people (not directly anyway), and she's still required to keep her nails short and not painted and her hair away from her face. So yeah, it comes with the territory.

Kalamazoo
June 21st, 2019, 12:51 PM
You do need to comply with the regulations, but just laugh it off. You'll feel better if you laugh at it...

Kalamazoo
June 21st, 2019, 02:43 PM
I mean, doesn't this count as a mini-milestone? "Getting told to restrain my hair for the first time!"

https://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=41971

Kalamazoo
June 21st, 2019, 02:45 PM
Heck! At least she didn't say you had to get a butch!

Suortuva
June 21st, 2019, 02:58 PM
Just get some very interesting looking hair toy you can use at work... :cool:

goneJackal
June 21st, 2019, 03:39 PM
Maybe part of the reason the OP felt bad was because he was first asked about cutting it.
It sounds a bit offensive, even if it wasn't a personal remark. Like he isn't supposed to have long hair.

EdG
June 21st, 2019, 04:20 PM
Maybe part of the reason the OP felt bad was because he was first asked about cutting it.
It sounds a bit offensive, even if it wasn't a personal remark. Like he isn't supposed to have long hair. Good point. The cutting question was offensive and part of the short-haired conspiracy perpetrated against men. :shudder:
Ed

lapushka
June 21st, 2019, 04:36 PM
Good point. The cutting question was offensive and part of the short-haired conspiracy perpetrated against men. :shudder:
Ed

Oh Ed, thanks for making me laugh! LOL! :lol:

EdG
June 21st, 2019, 04:44 PM
Oh Ed, thanks for making me laugh! LOL! :lol:It is true. The short-haired conspiracy is so pervasive that it is often not recognized as such.
Ed

cjk
June 21st, 2019, 04:49 PM
Oh Ed, thanks for making me laugh! LOL! :lol:

But he's right!

Having not-short-hair is considered odd. Having anything longer, or as I call it not-man-bun-length hair is considered odd.

Go to any hospital and you'll notice that most of the men have some version of short hair, and particularly when talking about residents, buzz cuts. They're inexpensive to maintain, can be done at the weird hours required, and are eminently practical. They're literally wash and go.

It's illustrative of the function over fashion mindset drilled into our heads, almost from birth.

And throw in that two other things. Many men will shave to make a clean break, a reset, when beginning a new job, journey, or stage of life. And remember, today is the first day of summer, a day when many men get peeled down. It's almost a ritual for a lot of us!

It's doubtful that it was intended as an insult or that it represented a prejudice. More likely just thoughtless stupidity.

lapushka
June 21st, 2019, 04:56 PM
It is true. The short-haired conspiracy is so pervasive that it is often not recognized as such.
Ed

But but I thought you were joking. At least making light of it. :o

EdG
June 21st, 2019, 05:06 PM
But but I thought you were joking. At least making light of it. :oI was turning up the contrast to make a point.

The status quo for men's hair meets the definition of "conspiracy" - people (mainly old men) got together and conspired to keep other men's hair short. We are the resistance. :rockerdud:
Ed

Kalamazoo
June 22nd, 2019, 07:00 AM
Gottahaveflow, I'm not in the medical field, but as an outsider, it seems to me that you have the option of wearing surgical scrubs on-the-job, 100% of the time, & looking thoroughly professional for your field. The advantage to doing so would be getting to wear a hat all the time. If you don't have more hair than will fit under your hat, you could put it up in a man-bun, & then your hair length would totally be between you & your hat. If you choose to grow your hair longer than will fit under your hat, then go shopping for a bigger hat! (Chefs get to wear chef's hats, & cowboys get to wear cowboy hats, etc.)

But yeah, no matter what field a person works in, one needs to look totally professional all of the time that one's on the job, because looking the part subconsciously inspires people to have faith in you, which results in more money in your pocket. (& even though we totally love what we do for a living, at the end of the day, that jingle in the pocket was a motivating factor in having chosen that career in the first place, right?)


I deal with this sort of thing being bearded. When around certain manufacturing facilities or even food, it must be contained and covered.

My dad flew B17 bombers in World War II. He said that they HAD to be totally clean-shaven before going flying, because they didn't have pressurized cabins back then, so they were totally dependent upon their oxygen masks to be able to breathe at (did he say?) 30,000 feet. Having any beard stubble would keep the mask from fitting snugly, thus allowing air to escape, which could result in the wearer passing out. Depending on what that particular man's duties were, his passing out could possibly cost the life of everybody on his plane.

iforgotmylogin
June 22nd, 2019, 07:15 AM
I doubt they said that to any of my female counterparts and I know they aren't expected to wear their hair tied back other than when it makes sense for practical purposes or needs to be back like if we are helping in surgery etc.

I think this is the critical part. If it's true then it sounds an awful lot like sex discrimination to me. But the question is, is it true, or perhaps a presumption?

lapushka
June 22nd, 2019, 07:19 AM
I was turning up the contrast to make a point.

The status quo for men's hair meets the definition of "conspiracy" - people (mainly old men) got together and conspired to keep other men's hair short. We are the resistance. :rockerdud:
Ed

Ah see that's what I picked up on! :)
I thought for a second there that I was going completely mad. LOL!

EdG
June 22nd, 2019, 07:37 AM
Ah see that's what I picked up on! :)
I thought for a second there that I was going completely mad. LOL!No problem. I know that humor can be hard to detect, especially in a second language. My kind of humor is indistinguishable from reality ("the funniest humor is the truth"). ;)
Ed

SleepyTangles
June 22nd, 2019, 07:44 AM
I have some (female) friends in the medical fields and they are totally required to contain their hair. They also have to abstain from rings and bracelets (Iīve never seen a doctor with anything more than a wedding ring on). No polish, long nails (fake or not), or anything like that.
The medical field is generally restrictive about this kind of things. Iīve also seen paramedics and ambulance drivers with dreadlocks down to their butt, but always tied up in some kind of way.

Now Iīm curious: I have a veterinarian (male) friend with long-ish collarbone hair. Iīve never asked if he has to keep his hair contained. Probably yes, even if his patients are way more hairy than he is! ;)

cjk
June 22nd, 2019, 08:14 AM
My dad flew B17 bombers in World War II. He said that they HAD to be totally clean-shaven before going flying, because they didn't have pressurized cabins back then, so they were totally dependent upon their oxygen masks to be able to breathe at (did he say?) 30,000 feet. Having any beard stubble would keep the mask from fitting snugly, thus allowing air to escape, which could result in the wearer passing out. Depending on what that particular man's duties were, his passing out could possibly cost the life of everybody on his plane.

Part of that was military grooming standards and overstated. But without going down that rabbit hole, there was a functional and justifiable reason for it. And as a requirement it makes sense.

I don't require a respirator in my job.

Face shaving became normalized only after WWII, the adoption of military grooming standards into civilian fashion. Wristwatches became a thing after WW I trench warfare transformed the previously feminine wristlet into functional men's timepieces.

It's a familiar pattern in fashion.