Stephanie Lozinski

A Winnipeg waitress was fired from her job as a server in a St. Boniface-area restaurant because she completely shaved her head off. Stephanie Lozinski, a Polish 21 year old female, did this on New Year’s Eve in support of her uncle drying from cancer. Unfortunately, he passed away 2 weeks ago. Regardless of the fact that she wore various clothing accessories, such as scarfs and wigs when waiting tables, she was fired several weeks after she shaved her head, her boss claiming her appearance was “unacceptable.”

She believes this event to be quite unfair and disrespectful. “I think that women should be able to express themselves in any way that a man could and if a man can shave his head then I should be able to,” she reported. “Also, that appearance has nothing to do with job performance.” Lozinski doesn’t wish to regain her job back, but would like to spread the awareness of unfair treatment she received with others.

“I just think that what they did was inappropriate and offensive and if they don’t share my values, then I don’t think I should be working there.”

Lozinski reported this incident to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission but was rejected. The commission told her that the restaurant has all the right to fire her due to her “unacceptable” appearance. In addition, because Lozinski voluntarily shaved her head off, it does not concern human rights.

Arguments about such cases are quite rare, according to the group that represents Manitoba restaurant owners.

“I’ve been here for four years and it’s the first time I’ve heard of it,” said Scott Jocelyn, executive director of the Manitoba Restaurant and Food Services Association.

He advises that employers set a solid foundation and clear rules and regulations when hiring employees.

“I think it’s important that you lay down the groundwork on issues like this so that people understand there’s an expectation, and if something happens to change that, I guess you’re always hopeful that people can come to some kind of compromise that would work well for both sides.”

An example of a similar case is when a waitress in Owen Sound, Ontario named Stacey Fearnall, was required to take a leave of absence after she shaved her head off for a cancer fundraiser in 2008. This caused a huge uproar among the public, and thus, her boss apologized soon afterwards.

I believe this is newsworthy because this shows the sexism we are required to face in our current society. Both men and women should be able to shave their heads off without society criticizing the women for being bald.  Not only that, we have been discussing about human rights in our class and how sexism as well as racism is found so evidently in our society.

There should be no sexism in our society.

Now, this incident shows a bigger picture in society we are all indulged by daily: sexism. This is one problem society has faced, is facing now, and will most likely face in the future for a very long time. In this incident, Lozinski is just an example where she wants to challenge society’s sexism by shaving her head off for the support of her uncle. However, society disagrees greatly (her boss and the Human Rights Association) and rejects the idea of a women with no hair, and fires her.  This suggests how persistent society is upon its sexists rules and how breaking them could mean various consequences, for instance, being fired.

By reading this article, I have understood how sexism affects individuals in our society. In our classroom, we have discussed about sexism and how it affects society but I couldn’t grasp a full understanding of it until I read this article. Now, I have a much clearer understanding of how sexism affects people’s views and beliefs. The authors were able to report this incident with great evidence, such as the multiple quotes given by Lizonski. Not only that, I like how the author referenced to another similar incident where Stacey Fearnall was required to take a leave of absence after she shaved her head off for a cancer fundraiser in 2008.  By doing this, I can infer that society has been sexist for a very long time and a similar incident has occurred elsewhere and not only in Winnipeg. Plus, the article includes a statement from the executive director of the Manitoba Restaurant and Food Services Association, Scott Jocelyn, saying, “I’ve been here for four years and it’s the first time I’ve heard of it.” This shows that there are people who were surprised about how she was fired just because she shaved her head. In relation, the Manitoba Human Rights Association was included in the article. This gives us the perspectives from 3 people, Lizonski, Jocelyn, and the Human Rights Association, which made the article more reliable due to the various sources utilized, and not only 1, which may’ve made this article biased. If the authors only used Lizonski as the source, then it would’ve been a biased argument, where the whole article would discuss about her beliefs. But with the inclusion of Jocelyn and the Human Rights Association, the argument became more balanced where the perspectives from both sides of the story were shown.

Lizonski portrayed her aggravated feeling quite well in quotes, such as when she said “I just think that what they did was inappropriate and offensive and if they don’t share my values, then I don’t think I should be working there.” With these quotes, I was able to understand her pain of having society go against her personal beliefs. She is simply trying to support her dying uncle but society rejects it to such a level where she was fired, which I feel to be highly unacceptable. If men are not criticized for shaving their head, then I believe women should not be either. I am quite astounded how both her boss and the Human Rights Association have a similar view. Just because it doesn’t concern human rights doesn’t mean it’s ethical and reasonable. In my perspective, I believe Lizonski should’ve never been fired and continued to work regularly.

Now, the question really is: why does society discourage women from shaving their head? This is an interesting question, but I believe that because most female celebrities have long, luscious hair and people (society) wants to be as “attractive” as them, they pursue whatever they do. Not only that, advertisements and propaganda all display women with long hair, and thus society continues to act such ways. Plus, many people simply find women with long hair more attractive than women with extremely short/no hair.

I believe this is article is newsworthy because this shows the sexism we are required to face in our current society. Both men and women should be able to shave their heads off without society criticizing the women for being bald.  Not only that, we have been discussing about human rights in our class and how sexism and racism is found so evidently in our society and how it affects people’s views and beliefs.

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