27 In Body Positive/ Self-care

The Curse of Being Born A Redhead

The Curse of Being Born A RedheadThe Curse of Being Born A Redhead

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!

The bullying

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

Oh my god I'm ginger

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?

The stalker-boys

I dreamed about that little red haired girl again last night

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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  • Tarnya
    June 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Janine your red hair is a part of who you are and you should be applauded for embracing your inner red goddess!!!! I too had been teased about personal apperance for ever and for a long time i hated the person I was. but these days with some inner searching, great girlfriends and ALOT of wine I love who I am, I love my friends, I love my family (well some of them) and most of all i love my life! Kudos to you babe!

  • Leona Martin
    June 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm


    We can be so cruel when we are kids and I bet somewhere along the line I did say something myself, but do I remember NO. I wonder if we were all jealous of your hair color and skin? I bet in someway the boys were thinking “love that red hair”, but then their girls who are friends were saying how bad this or that out of jealousy. LOL! Who knows!

    Glad you have realized you are gorgeous the way you are!

  • Alexandra Kerr
    June 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Your hair is gorgeous and good on you for embracing it!

  • Thom Brown
    June 10, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Good for you, but I hate to tell you what those boys were probably saying to each other about your hair color. As I’ve said before, men are pigs.

    • Janine Ripper
      June 10, 2011 at 8:18 pm

      Ah yes I have been privy to some of those comments but refrain from posting them on my site : )

  • Marco Silva
    June 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Hi Janine,

    … to be honest I really like your red-head, pale skin, freckles… I found it truly attractive, so I really don’t understand those boys you were talking in your post 😉

    I would like to celebrate being healthy and having the energy to put a smile in my face!

    Thank you for you post, it made me remind that it is great to be alive although I don’t have as much hair as I wished (even it was red) :-)))!

  • Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A.
    June 10, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Hmmm. If we say we don’t like it, will it set off your temper? 🙂
    (Just had to tie the two last posts together! I have always been partial to redheads- since the first grade. Except when my hair turns red in the summer- but now that is less of a problem, grey wins!)

  • Janette Fuller
    June 10, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Your red hair is beautiful, Janine. I am so glad you are embracing your natural beauty.

    I always had very dark brown hair and I thought I wanted to be blond! Luckily, I never bleached my hair. I also learned to embrace my natural hair color.
    It is very ironic that my hair started turning grey at a young age (blond???) and I started to use hair coloring to make it dark brown again.
    My husband recently convinced me to let my hair go “natural”, so now I have learned to embrace the grey.

  • bornstoryteller
    June 10, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Hi Janine: you know how I feel about Redheads. Stupid boys. You are a beautiful woman, and it’s not the parts that make you you. Doodeyheads, the jealous ones.

    Hmmm…what do I celebrate today? Being alive and happy. 🙂

  • Hajra
    June 12, 2011 at 5:13 am

    You are beautiful…no matter what they say ~~~~
    Boys will be boys, they will say the meanest of things and regret it when the hot red head is with someone else! You are a beautiful person and a beautiful writer, that’s all that counts!

  • Lynn Brown
    June 12, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Celebrate you and how beautiful you are outside as well as inside too Janine!

  • Roberta Budvietas
    June 12, 2011 at 7:07 am

    You are so beautiful both inside and out. Celebrate more and more

  • Tambre Leighn/coaching by tambre
    June 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    As a fellow red head, I celebrate the RED with you. It was Anne of Green Gables who gave me permission to love my redness. She was my hero. Anne was a red headed orphan adopted by an older couple back in the early 1900’s Newfoundland…as written by Lucy Maude Montgomery. The first time Anne goes to school and is called “carrots” by Gilbert, she breaks her writing slate over his head. I loved Anne. She was creative, unique, imaginative and empowered.

    So glad you are celebrating…what I’m celebrating…letting go!

    • Janine Ripper
      June 14, 2011 at 8:29 pm

      Oh I do remember reading Anne of Green Gables when I was little…and watching Pippy Longstocking, what with her long red plaits and all! And then there was my Raggedy Anne doll (with Raggedy Andy!).

  • Diana Simon
    June 12, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Janine,

    You are beautiful and the red-hair makes you special! Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate 🙂

    I am celebrating “following my heart” and “stop getting in my way”!

    • Janine Ripper
      June 14, 2011 at 8:28 pm

      I so love what you are celebrating Diana. Following the heart – I’m right there with you on that one!

  • Paula Lee Bright
    June 13, 2011 at 2:05 am

    Life is so funny! I was a dishwater blonde most of my life, kind of an indescript blonde-brown mashup. I would have sold my soul to be a redhead!

    It’s funny and good how we grow into ourselves at last. 🙂

  • Penelope J.
    June 13, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Janine, You certainly should celebrate your red-headedness. You are one of a unique breed as most people in this world are dark haired, or fair that fades with age. Redheads are made fun of because there are so few of them rather than because they are ugly. Quite the reverse. Real redheads are gorgeous! Just think of all the pseudo blondes out there – all those dark haired women trying to be something they are not. Red heads can be truly themselves while many of those tanned, blonde beauties look like carbon copies of each other.

    • Janine Ripper
      June 14, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      awwww so sweet you are. Yes we do have lots of those pseudo blondes here in Oz. I always feel more attractive when overseas because of that. But the tide is changing!

  • seddyed
    June 16, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Definitely don’t dwell on stuff that was said to you by other kids when you were a kid. Kids are nasty and such comments are often fuelled by jealousy. They don’t like to see people secure in the way they look because they are insecure themselves. It’s the same with how they treat the smart kid – a bad case of tall poppy syndrome.

    I’m not a redhead but I still think they rock 🙂

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  • Mackenzie Glanville
    May 9, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    I had a boyfriend with red hair when I was 17 and he was the first guy to treat me as more than just a pretty face and a great pair of tits, so I always had a thing for red haired men after that. After a bad relationship with a blonde at 19 I have never been able to date a blonde again! It is funny how we focus so much on hair when we really should focus on so much more. As you know I have 2 daughters with reddish hair and like you say people pay money for that! Glad you are embracing your beauty xx

  • Heather Stone
    May 13, 2016 at 3:41 am

    Hi Janine,
    I’d like to echo all the positive remarks in the comments, so count me down for the customary supportive comments. Additionally, however, I have to express my continued shock at how Australia and the UK seem to have this perception of red hair. In the US there is no stigma–the only people who express negativity about red hair are children, bad stand-up comedians, and the uneducated (and I don’t mean our total population, as much as we’re stereotyped to be that way, lol). I can remember being called a name a few times by a grungy 5th grader, but that’s about it. What I do remember is always being complimented on my red hair, from the time I was four until earlier this week. This led me to grow up feeling special, different, and unique. Obviously it’s not just one’s hair that creates confidence–it’s a lot of other qualities combined–but even though I’ve been weight-challenged on and off, I’ve never felt insecure about my looks, especially not due to having red hair. People here envy red hair, and although I’m sure you love your home country and God knows ours has its own troubles (think Donald Trump on the horizon), I can only say I wish you could have grown up here with red hair–you would have been appreciated, fussed over, seen as special and different.
    (It is true, perhaps, that red-haired men have it a little tougher here, but only when they’re little boys.)

    Why do you think there is such an obsession about it in Australia? Are there a lot of red-heads there, or just enough to define a group that can be bashed? I think there may be a lower percent here in the US.

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