My friend Aly has got a bit of a thing for ginger men. I suppose you could say that I have too, given the fact that I’m married to one, but the other day she posted a link to a site called Red Hot. Red Hot is the brainchild of a guy called Thomas Knight, who’s photographed a whole bunch of good-looking red-headed males and is exhibiting them in a London gallery this year as part of a campaign which is associated with the Anti-Bullying Alliance.
Most people are aware of the stigma which seems to be attached to red-headedness, and as someone who grew up with a ginger Dad and a ginger best friend during High School, it always left me entirely bemused. I could never quite add up, in my head, what could be supposedly so negative someone’s hair colour, but the fact that the Anti-Bullying Alliance are involved just shows how deeply the stigma runs. As a mother to a red-headed child, it’s quite scary, if I’m honest.
Sausage is a pretty girl with a shock of bright red curls (and her best friend at school is ginger, too. In fact there are 4 of them in her class!) and she’s constantly complimented on her beautiful hair. In fact, she’s been know to (sometimes rather obliquely!) announce it at random, to strangers, as if they might not have noticed; “I have ginger hair!”, she’ll proudly say. It’s genuinely painful to me that, one day, that pride herself and her uniqueness might be stripped away by thoughtless bullies who don’t have the imagination to come up with a better insult.
I was under the, perhaps slightly naive, impression that the whole anti-ginger thing was dead and buried. The likes of Damien Lewis, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Karen Gillan and Christina Hendricks have done wonders for making the world see how beautiful red hair is (even if some of them do come out of a bottle!) and it seemed to me that such narrow-minded nonsense was long-gone, but if the Red Hot guys are anything to go by, with their PR assault on the UK, then there’s still a long way to go before the insults are completely forgotten.
It was in the news this year that many sperm banks have stopped taking donations from red-headed men altogether because nobody wanted them. So, a woman is so desperate to conceive a baby that she’ll use a donor, but only if that baby has less of a chance of coming out ginger? Madness!
The thing that baffles me the most is that I completely fail to see what it is that’s wrong with red hair? Where I live (and I’m assuming in other parts of the UK, too) there’s a huge trend for girls trying to dye their hair red at the moment. It never looks as nice as natural ginger and you can see it’s fake from the stratosphere, but the intention for redness is there. Perhaps I’m biased because the two people I love most in the world are redheads, but to me it’s gorgeous. I know taste is wholly subjective, but I simply cannot see what is so objectionable about ginger hair that makes people act so appallingly to others.
So, come on people, tell me what it is that’s so bad about red hair? And if you can’t, I suggest you think twice before you make a ‘funny’ comment next time. Let’s change our stupid, pre-programmed bullshit and actually think about what we’re saying and how we’re treating a whole bunch of people. You wouldn’t comment on someone’s race/weight/sexuality in that way…would you?