Once upon a time, I saw being born a redhead as a curse.
I held this point of view for most of my life. What with pale (pasty?) skin, freckles, tendency to burn from a slither of sunlight or blush like a beetroot at the drop of a hat…and the fact that my blood was extremely tasty to mosquitos, well, I couldn’t see any benefits to being a redhead!
We redhead’s are prime targets for bullies, especially in Australia. Ginger, Ranga, Fanta Pants, Bluey, Carrot Top… the list goes on. It even has its own word – Gingerism;
The dislike, prejudice and social bias against people with red (ginger) hair, a phenomenon intertwined in the English culture and attributed to a popular belief in the inherent inferiority of those of Celtic and Irish stock – Source: The Free Dictionary by Farlex
Just. Freakin. Awesome.
Whether you see it as a bit of fun or a lot of hate, Gingerism can certainly have lasting effects on someones psyche! One of the worst examples I remember was back in November 2008 when Facebook received criticism after a ‘Kick a Ginger’, a group which aimed to set up a “National Kick a Ginger Day” on 20 November, acquired almost 5,000 members.
I’m surprised I made it out of my teenage years in one piece. On the positive side, I made it out alive, but for years I hated on myself, my freckles and my red hair BECAUSE of the teasing.
Redheads are fugly, apparently
I never saw myself as beautiful until my 30’s, which is how long it took me to appreciate my hair colour! Before red hair was ‘cool’, I was stalked down the street by groups of guys talking about how ‘ugly’ redheaded girls were and how they would never go out with one. This also happened on the bus, in the cinema, in night clubs… I even got it from women. I loved being heckled by so-called ‘bronzed, blonde Aussie goddesses’ – not. It really made me want to move countries to say, well, Scotland! But it was too cold there, so that wouldn’t work.
Something I’ve realised later in life is how much people envy chicks with natural red hair (which could also explain some of the teasing)! The amount of times people say to me ‘I would love your hair’, it’s both flattering and scary. It all takes me back to high school when my friends used to dye their hair red…Single White Female anyone?
These boys are generally of a certain ilk with a few standout characteristics, such as obsessive-compulsive bordering on stalker-like behaviour. Redhead’s are more like a trophy for them, or addiction, and they’ve generally dated a couple, possibly married one, and in the days of the internet try to hit on you over networks like LinkedIn. Extending a hand of friendship or kind word to them needs to be done so with caution, as they thrive on it like a drug.
I’ve experienced my fair share of the redhead ‘addict‘, at one stage leading me to entertain the thought of either dying my hair or walking around with a bag on my head… I’ve got to admit it’s worse in Asian countries – China and Singapore being a stand out for me. My first time in Singapore I literally stopped traffic and had men falling over their feet looking at me… back then I wasn’t flattered at all. More like freaked out.
I’ve come a long way, embracing and rocking my red hair! I’m now happy to announce I’m Ginger and Proud! It’s just a shame the white hairs are now taking over my head. And so begins the search for a red hair dye that matches my natural hair colour!
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