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The Curse of Being a Redhead

Anna is a writer who wears many other hats and has a wealth of experience that she draws from, sometimes funny, sometimes serious.

Such gorgeous color.  How could I have ever hated it?

Such gorgeous color. How could I have ever hated it?

Growing Up Ginger

First of all, I have always hated that term, ginger, from the very first time I heard it. It never sat well with me, and I really don't like being called a ginger. For those of you who don't know, a ginger is someone with a lighter shade of red hair who has freckles. So, in reality, I am a ginger. I was born with lighter red hair and what started off as just a smattering of freckles.

Name-calling

I was teased incessantly as a child. I was called every name you can think of, including carrot top. I had friends and made friends easily, but the teasing did not stop at the children on the playground. I was teased by my own family members as well. I was always referred to as "Red" by one of my uncles. He never called me by my name; he still doesn't. I guess he thought it was a term of endearment, something to make me feel special, but all it ever did was remind me of how different I was from everyone else.

My sisters were both blonde with blue eyes. I often wondered if I had been adopted or if my father was really my father. The only indication that I really belonged in that family was the fact that my grandmother on my mother's side had been a redhead.

Redheads on TV

Television added its own cuts and bruises to my fragile, young ego. The redheads depicted on television were often mean, bratty, or just plain evil. I recall a nickname my father gave me when I was young. He often called me "Harriett" after the redheaded neighbor from a TV show called Small Wonder. Not many people remember that show, and I probably wouldn't either, if it hadn't been for that nickname. Harriett was the bratty neighbor who drooled over one of the main characters of the show and never got the attention she so longed for.

I hated my red hair all throughout my childhood, and I often told my family that once I was old enough, I was going to start dyeing my hair. I wanted to be blonde like my sisters and my mother. I didn't want to be teased anymore, and I didn't want to be different. I wanted to be like everyone else.

Carrot Top. Guys like this give the rest of us redheads a bad name.

Carrot Top. Guys like this give the rest of us redheads a bad name.

Perpetuating the Myth

She was a woman with red hair and green eyes— the traits which Satan supposedly relished most in mortal females.

— Robert Shea, "The Eye in the Pyramid"

Perpetuating the Myth: Redheads Are Evil?

In many cultures, throughout history, redheads have been seen as evil, witches, or in league with the devil. All of these are completely false, obviously. Still there is something to be learned from this. Redheads make up a very small portion of the world's population. We are a real minority. We have been discriminated against in the past, teased, hated and persecuted, and all because we were born with red hair, because we were born different.

I know, this no longer stands true. Unless you are a child on the playground, there is no real, clear-cut discrimination against redheads. Children can be cruel. Children tend to pick on anyone who is different. It is just a fact of life. We can teach our children to be tolerant, teach them that everyone is unique and special, but at the end of the day, children will still be children.

Generalizations Are Silly

Are redheads evil? No, of course we aren't. Do redheads have fiery tempers? Some do and some don't. Is it true of the statement, that redheads are fiery in the bedroom? Again, some are and some aren't. Those types of silly statements make me laugh. Most generalizations about a group of people do.

Personally, I am no more evil than anyone else. I guess everyone has some capacity for evil in them. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes, as I know I have. Do I have a fiery temper? Sometimes. Sometimes when something really offends me, or goes against something I truly believe in, I tend to take a stand and speak out against it. Do I get mad when I have been hurt? Of course, but then, who doesn't? As for whether I am fiery in the bedroom, that is not a matter I chose to discuss. That is information for me only, and the person I share my bed with.

Good and Bad Representation in the Media

Television and movies tend to perpetrate the idea that redheads are evil. The redheaded character on Desperate Housewives certainly seemed capable of evil. Poison Ivy, the sexy female villain from the Batman comics, movies and the television show was a redhead. Redheads seduce, manipulate and corrupt.

Television and movies have also shown how great redheads are. Redheads are sexy, smart, funny and beautiful. Unfortunately, I never got to see much of that growing up.

Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead

— Lucille Ball

Coming to Terms With My Hair

As I got older, and I learned more about the world and more about myself, I grew to love my hair. I love it for the very reason that I hated it when I was growing up; because I was different. I am unique. I often get complimented on my gorgeous red hair. Men are intrigued by my red hair, but with that, I often have to deal with dumb questions. "Is that your real hair color?" "Does the carpet match the drapes?" Stupid questions from stupid people. I guess it helps to weed out the idiots.

I was right on one thing that I said as a child. I do dye my hair. I don't dye it blonde or brown, though. I dye it in order to keep the red. In the summers, my hair lightens to the point that I am almost blonde. So, I dye it to keep the fading to a minimum. I have grown to love my hair color. I am now proud to be a redhead. After all, the saying is true, Gentlemen prefer blondes, but it takes a real man to handle a redhead. I would never want to be blonde. There are too many of them out there. Why would I want to be just like everyone else?

Red hair.

Red hair.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2008 Anna Marie Bowman

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