If you haven’t heard about this controversial case where a penis’ed Canadian, Jessica (formerly/sometimes Jonathan) Yaniv drove several ethnic minority women out of their aesthetician businesses for refusing to wax his balls, I envy you.
Claiming he was discriminated against along transphobic lines – despite these women not offering scrotal waxing to anyone, regardless of self-identification – he first created anxiety by pressing the women for these services, and then took them to court for alleged violation of the Human Rights Code.
The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal hearings occurred during July 2019 in Vancouver, and the court issued its findings on October 22.
Finding against Yaniv, and awarding small costs to the targetted women, the court crucially noted:
1. The self-serving and manipulative nature of Yaniv’s actions, which appeared to involve specifically targetting ethnic minority women in order to press them for this intimate service which he suspected they would deny
2. The continual disingenuousness of his testimony
3. The sexually intimidatory nature of his demands. The court noted the testimony of an expert witness on commercial waxing:
Ms. Barnetson testified that there are several reasons a person might not choose to wax the genitals of a person with a scrotum. The penis almost always become erect, at least for some portion of the treatment. In her experience, it is not uncommon for the client to then request or expect sexual services and to become abusive when they are denied. Some people – particularly women – are not comfortable working with the scrotum and penis. She says that it is common industry practice for certain businesses to restrict their services to “women” (meaning persons with a vulva) or “men” (meaning persons with a penis and scrotum). [Tribunal decision, p.13]
Given that the respondents Yaniv selected all operated via either visiting the clients’ homes or in their own homes (some with small children present) and hence only had female clients, Yaniv had good reason to be aware of the intimidatory and unfair nature of his expectation that the women just provide him with this service, and yet still attempted to coerce them into providing it.
For further commentary on this case and ruling, I leave you with excerpts from Twitter analyst @goinglikeelsie.
Indeed. Clearly, the ongoing Canadian legal fiction that women are those who identify into the sex leaves women with inadequate protections and remedies against predation, especially vulnerable women who work singly. And especially women of ethnicities targetted by racist men.
Please follow @goinglikeelsie for ongoing commentary.