Links: 05/08/15

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.

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May 8, 2015

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  1. Veronica Schanoes

    I read those NYT articles with a sinking heart…I’d long suspected that nothing good could be going on behind the scenes at my local nail salons, but I’d avoided thinking about it out of pure selfishness. Shadow economies enable exploitation and abuse–that’s something that the US needs to take into account when it formulates immigration policy. And of course, it doesn’t, because nation-states are bereft of morality.

  2. Jackson Carberry

    There is a solution to the whole mani-pedi thing; doing it yourself. There should be a ton of books showing one how to groom and paint their nails, rather than having to go to a salon to have said task done for you in exploitative conditions. It also saves a lot of money (as I’ve found just shaving myself-head and face.)

    • Natalie Luhrs

      Yes, one can do it oneself: I usually do my own manicures, in fact. But I like getting pedicures in the summer because the techs can do a better job than I can do myself, for a variety of reasons. The prices in my area tend to be higher than those in NYC, too.

  3. Jackson Carberry

    Natalie, do you go to salons that have trained staff that doe this in a well-ventilated area, and with gloves and masks, as the article has suggested?

    • Natalie Luhrs

      The last place I got a pedicure was my hair salon–so this isn’t their primary line of business–so yes. It’s a rare treat for me so I can pay more. That’s the issue, really–that people are unwilling to pay the actual cost of the service plus serious lack of regulation and oversight on multiple fronts plus unscrupulous owners taking advantage of a vulnerable population.

  4. Veronica Schanoes

    @Jackson Carberry: “There is a solution to the whole mani-pedi thing; doing it yourself.”

    That’s not a solution; that’s just a way to maintain personal purity. The problem of exploitation and suffering will still exist; you’ll just get to say that you don’t contribute dollars to it. That’s nice for you, but it doesn’t actually address the problem. The problem is not that the labor nail salons need is inherently more exploitative than any other kind of labor. The problem is that under current conditions, nail salons are able to draw on a pool of workers extremely vulnerable to exploitation, and than take advantage of that vulnerability. A solution, from my point of view, would be a legal change that makes information gathered by unions untouchable by immigration authorities, and then for workers in nail salons to organize themselves, just as did immigrant laborers a century ago.

    Also, I’m in the final weeks of pregnancy. I haven’t been able even to trim my own toenails for quite some time.


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