With the premiere of 'Oi- Ginger!' last night, and several discussions related to dating redheads recently, Clare Cullen asks why the colour of your hair should matter.
There has been a lot of talk in the media lately in relation to being a 'redhead', and conversation around dating redheads.
The Herald ran a vox pop where they asked people on the street 'Would you ever date someone with red hair?' as recently as this week. Last August, a documentary entitled 'Being Ginger' was premiered at the Irish Redhead Convention, which explored a redheaded man searching for a woman specifically attracted to redheads.
I can't understand why there has been so much media attention recently on whether or not redheads are a viable mate, or worthy of sexual attention. Redhead ladies have always been seen as more sexually rapacious or insatiable, spurring it to become its own fetish category for porn.
Celebrity blogs celebrate when a "hot" female celebrity becomes a "hot redhead", but males are split into two very distinct categories. In a discussion once with another woman about our redhaired partners, she hastened to clarify that her other half was 'a hot ginger', and not a 'ginger minger'. Thank God she cleared that one up.
There are stereotypes with every hair colour - brunettes are serious, blondes are 'dumb' and redheads are hotheaded. However, with no other hair colour are people automatically assumed ugly based on nothing but the colour of their hair.
It's quite insulting to know that quite a lot of people find natural red hair and freckles to be unattractive, in males and in females.
Lindsay Lohan, even when rocking her red hair, goes to great lengths to cover the accompanying freckles of her 'condition' - as red hair is seemingly only considered attractive on pale white skin with blue eyes.
Don't forget - you also can't have too much red hair, and it can't be too curly or unruly or comparisons will be made to a certain rag doll. Last but not least, no matter how much you conform to stereotypical beauty standards and rock your red hair in a way that is acceptable to society, you will be asked if the curtains match the carpet.
On a regular basis. Of course, you always get the people trying to be nice as well - "Sure, you're not even that red!" - as if it's a disease and thank god, you're not fully infected.
However, as bad as women have it, men have it worse. 'Ginger' is seen as an acceptable insult, and it's also seen as acceptable to categorise men into the aforementioned categories - hot or not. There is no wiggle room, you're either, as above, a 'hot ginger' or a 'ginger minger'.
Personality, other features, build - anything else that makes you sexually appealing to a mate - is discarded based on the prime identifier of 'who you are' - your red hair.
Recently, South Park was being blamed for the a spate of ‘Kick A Ginger Day’ incidences, where children were kicked at school in seemingly co-ordinated attacks. This is incredible. South Park is a satirical reflection on today's society. It takes widespread attitudes and satirises them; that episode would not have aired had those ideas and attitudes not already existed.
(Could I just point out here that in the same episode where ‘Kick A Ginger Day’ was mentioned, redheads ‘rose up’ and threatened to kill all “non-gingers” so the validity of this link is suspect considering that hasn't happened. Yet.)
Blaming South Park is a cop-out. Firstly, your 11-16 year old probably should not be watching South Park, but that's an argument for another day. Secondly, the number one place that behaviour is taught is in the home. If children are partaking in discrimination against redheads, where did they learn it? Are there ginger jokes told at home? Is the word ginger ever used as an insult?
Consider what you are inadvertently teaching your children. Saying ‘I thought you were supposed to be dying out’ when you see a red-haired couple or child, or using the word ‘ginger’ as an insult teaches them that ‘ginger’ children are less than them.
The video above is a powerful deleted scene from the documentary 'Being Ginger', in which a blond woman discusses why she would ‘never’ date a red-haired man. The prejudice spewed in this short scene enraged me (ironic, considering the hothead stereotype)- and it’s this kind of attitude that leads to things like ‘Kick A Ginger Day’. The clip begins with the quote "When you see a really hot girl with a ginger, I bet you think, in your head.. what's she doing with him?" and it has over 11,000 views on YouTube.
Personally I don’t understand the aversion to redheads. As a redheaded pre-teen whose hair darkened to auburn as I got older, I’ve spent my life buying and applying red rinses and dyes to make my hair more red, not less. I think being a redhead is a privilege, not afforded to many. I’m jealous of natural redheads and can’t understand when I see blond heads with red roots. Why fight nature?
Maybe it’s time there was a change in attitude towards redheads. Red hair has a history- it has historical links for Irish and Scottish people. We are known for red hair - it is part of our culture, our heritage.
It is a beautiful hair colour that may, one day, "die out" - and I bet that then, and maybe only then, it will become a desired hair colour and women and men will be dying their hair red to achieve something they once would have discarded as 'minging'.