Whats up with red hair? June 22, 2009 10:09 PM   Subscribe

From this post, which I've already derailed (oops) - why is this their view about people with red hair?

The only time I've heard anything about this is from a south park episode... I'm interested in others views on this phenomenon.
posted by Admira to MetaFilter-Related at 10:09 PM (245 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

"this [...] view" seems to be people nagging in some sort of non-specified way. So, I guess, shruggo. It's vague enough that it could be positive or negative pestering.
posted by boo_radley at 10:14 PM on June 22, 2009


"It's time that the Australian population apologised for the indignity and degradation inflicted on red headed people and moved to a future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility."
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:30 PM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


My hair was fire-engine red until my early twenties. Having stick-straight flaming red hair, lots of freckles on skin that is otherwise the color of milk and being completely unable to tan made me look different. Children, being the feral beasts that they are, noticed this difference and did their usual Lord of the Flies thing to the member of the pack who was different. Being a little pudgy didn't help.

Now my hair is mostly gray. I like gray.
posted by double block and bleed at 10:43 PM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


All the redheads I've ever met have been crazy mutant freaks.

Though to speak plainly about it that describes everyone else I've ever met as well.

It's a hell of a conundrum.
posted by loquacious at 10:59 PM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Because it's rare and awesome and they might have a shot at producing such a kid?
posted by moxiedoll at 10:59 PM on June 22, 2009


Redheads are, for the most part, seen as undesirable. I myself find this offensive, but hey, I didn't make the rules.
posted by dhammond at 11:01 PM on June 22, 2009


*changes rules*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:07 PM on June 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


That has never been my experience. I've known a lot of males who are really into redheads. In fact, I've encountered more near-fetishists than I have people who are turned off by it. Thank gahd.

Or they don't bitch about it because I'm so goddamn feisty.

posted by heyho at 11:10 PM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Another.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:11 PM on June 22, 2009


I gather they are concerned about which side the child will be on when the Gingers take over the world and begin the long awaited slaughter of the normals.

Of course, I may have said too much...
posted by pompomtom at 11:11 PM on June 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


Because rangas are a different race.
posted by Wolof at 11:22 PM on June 22, 2009


I don't know, when I was in primary school the prettiest girl in my year was a girl with bright red hair, green eyes and very fair skin. I don't think anyone ever thought of making fun of her for having red hair. I'd only ever heard of the idea of red hair being unpopular in the last couple of years.
posted by jacalata at 11:38 PM on June 22, 2009


I'd quote Wooderson, but that would be really fucking lame.
posted by item at 11:50 PM on June 22, 2009


Like jacalata, I'd only heard of red hair being unpopular in the last few years; in fact an English friend made a "ginga" joke about five years ago which I completely didn't get.

Personally I love red hair. When I play the Sims 2 or 3, I always start off with a redheaded base Sim and try to spread red hair throughout the neighbourhood.
posted by andraste at 11:54 PM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Redheads are, for the most part, seen as undesirable.

Good lord, really? Redheads are my kryptonite.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:11 AM on June 23, 2009 [22 favorites]


A nice fire engine or pillarbox red does it for me, although so does an aqua-ish tint of dark green, or maybe violet, or the good old tried & true blue-black.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:20 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why redheads are so bad.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 12:35 AM on June 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'd only ever heard of the idea of red hair being unpopular in the last couple of years.

Ditto.

It seems to be one of those fucking stupid ideas the Poms have globalised to New Zealand, along with beating up visiting sports teams.
posted by rodgerd at 1:03 AM on June 23, 2009


Here in the UK, ginger hair has been ridiculed for generations.
Sorry, That's insensitive of me. "Strawberry Blonde" hair has been ridiculed for generations.

It's probably something to do with the Scotish and the Normans, and as a phenomena it seems somewhere in between harmless mockery and proper racism. That is, it can be corrosive and divisive and the mockery of the Gingas (rhymes with bringers) sometimes crosses the line. I've no doubt that people have not been given jobs or have been socially excluded because they have ginger hair.

However, I've seen too many Ginger people moan about how it is EXACTLY the same as racism. It's not.

My favourite anti-ginger phrase is "{X} was beaten like a ginger stepchild." It's a bad thing to say, but it's so funny.
posted by seanyboy at 1:11 AM on June 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Various: I'd only ever heard of the idea of red hair being unpopular in the last couple of years.

Never heard the phrase "red-headed stepchild"? I believe it dates back to the wave of Irish emigration in the early 1800's; I've seen it in newspaper editorial cartoons from the late 1800's. It was certainly a common-enough term to be an in-joke in my family during the 70's.

Re: 'ranga' - the only decent thing to come out of that execrable show...

(Post-preview: hardly a reliable citation, but c'mon - did people really think 'Annie', or some crap Charlie Sheen movie? The reason it pops up in those cases is because it was already a well-established trope; it makes no sense otherwise.)
posted by Pinback at 1:34 AM on June 23, 2009


(1970's, that is ;-)
posted by Pinback at 1:35 AM on June 23, 2009


Re: 'ranga' - the only decent thing to come out of that execrable show...

I dunno, I thought it was genius myself. When it first came on I was working in schools and I couldn't even bear to watch it. I had just had a full day of that shit, I didn't need any more when I came home.
posted by Wolof at 1:39 AM on June 23, 2009


What's really weird about the British ginger-bias is that it doesn't seem to be connected to anything.

It's not like with most stereotypes where you have physical characteristic X and are therefore assumed to be untrustworthy/lazy/stupid/whatever.

To bully a ginger kid a person just has to point out that they are - in fact - ginger. (Which they will vehemently deny, insisting that their hair is either strawberry blonde or auburn depending on how light or dark it is.)

It's all very weird.

[NOTveryGINGIST]
posted by the latin mouse at 1:41 AM on June 23, 2009


From the BBC a couple years back: "Is gingerism as bad as racism?" According to the article, it can be really bad for people in the UK. (They claim at least one hate crime "anti-red" murder.)

I've lived in the US, UK, and Australia. The UK was definitely the most anti-ginger. Australians make jokes about it, but none of my red-head Aussie friends think they've been seriously discriminated against. (I asked a couple when I first read and blogged that article.) In the US it's mostly just the occasional "red-headed stepchild" joke.
posted by web-goddess at 1:46 AM on June 23, 2009


I learned about the anti-ginger thing once I moved to the UK as well. Before then I didn't really know many red-heads but really liked it (like how I love blue eyes on dark haired people, different and cool). I was also a huge fan of Anne of Green Gables growing up.
posted by like_neon at 1:52 AM on June 23, 2009




Huh. I thought Guy in "Green Wing" was just being a dick. Now I know that he's not alone in his hatred of the ginger.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:14 AM on June 23, 2009


What's really weird about the British ginger-bias is that it doesn't seem to be connected to anything.

It comes from anti-Irish prejudice I should think.
posted by atrazine at 2:24 AM on June 23, 2009


Anti-ginger prejudice reached new heights at my school in the mid-90s with the release of the Cranberries song 'Linger'. For about a year, the corridors and playground would reverberate to the sound of 'Do you have to, do you have to, do you have to be a ginger?' as people with ginger hair ran the gauntlet of assembled bullies.
posted by greycap at 2:55 AM on June 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also, Guy was being a dick.
posted by jtron at 3:33 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid, it was common knowledge that red headed women all had vagina dentata. That seems like a good reason to shun them to me.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:41 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


dhammond: "Redheads are, for the most part, seen as undesirable. I myself find this offensive, but hey, I didn't make the rules."

Where? Not in the US. I'm 45 and outside of this and the previous Mefi thread, I've never heard that sentiment once.
posted by octothorpe at 4:48 AM on June 23, 2009


Gingers take over the world
I for one welcome our smokin' hot new overlords.

I have never understood the anti-gonger thing. Redheaded guys are cute!
posted by pointystick at 5:08 AM on June 23, 2009


ginger even. See, I can't even type thinking just about them!
posted by pointystick at 5:08 AM on June 23, 2009


Redheads are, for the most part, seen as undesirable. I myself find this offensive, but hey, I didn't make the rules.

Depends on the person. Fright-wig frizzy orange hair and pasty white skin isn't all that appealing, but auburn, mahogany, copper or pale strawberry hair with alabaster skin can be beautiful. Red-haired people are probably, on average, about as attractive as people with any other kind of hair.
posted by orange swan at 5:18 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think that there's a gendered aspect to this, I think red heads are generally seen, at least in the abstract, as being attractive or neutral in women. In men I think there's a dimmer view taken of red hair's relative attractiveness. I think this might fit into a sort of tall dark and handsome v. maiden fair/snow white situation. I don't really have a strong opinion on it myself but it seems to me that this is the way the stereotypes break.
posted by I Foody at 5:34 AM on June 23, 2009


My mother told me that, during my birth, the OB exclaimed, "Where did all this red hair come from?" (Both my parents had dark-brown tresses.) I was more of a strawberry blonde, however.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:37 AM on June 23, 2009


atrazine: It comes from anti-Irish prejudice I should think.

Except that it's tossed around just as much here in Ireland, so that doesn't make a huge amount of sense really. Not that any of this does.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:39 AM on June 23, 2009


I think that there's a gendered aspect to this, I think red heads are generally seen, at least in the abstract, as being attractive or neutral in women. In men I think there's a dimmer view taken of red hair's relative attractiveness.

Er. This is going to come across as totally obnoxious, but yes, I do think red-head hair is generally less attractive in men. The pasty white skin that comes with it just doesn't look as good on a man. I have seen a few cute red-headed guys, but they tended to tan a little. A bisexual friend of mine told me he felt the same way.
posted by orange swan at 5:55 AM on June 23, 2009


Data point: I grew up in the US and UK in the late 70s and early 80s and never heard of this, including the term "ginger," until the South Park episode. In the US I remember thinking being a redhead was special and desirable, and though I saw lots of tedious anti Irish shit from the Brits, don't remember any of it being about hair and skin color.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:08 AM on June 23, 2009


Because they might be a filthy Irish-Catholic rather than a right and upstanding Anglo-Saxon Protestant. The Horror!
posted by Eideteker at 6:09 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nasty marauding Vikings.
posted by fish tick at 6:18 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, it's sort of like hating french people*: traditional, and observed more in jest than in practice.

* which we do in a totally different way from the Americans, who are new to it and frankly a bit crap.
posted by Artw at 6:24 AM on June 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Although I had seen the infamous South Park episode, I'd never really thought anyone actually cared about red hair and freckles. I was proven wrong when I met some European people last summer who were all about the ginger jokes. I suppose it was exactly the same as racism, but still I was dumbstruck and it reminded me of the first time I truly understood what racism was.

As a child I had some friends at grade school who confessed to me that most people didn't like them. I couldn't figure out why since I thought they were very nice and friendly. They had to explain to me that they were Hispanic and that they looked different. I don't know what kind of crazy exposure I had as a child, but I admit that for this friend I had never noticed that she was different and I still remember the extreme confusion that others wouldn't like her because of the way she looked.

I mean everyone knows that you base your friend choices on whether they will play on the monkey bars with you or chase you around the playground. Why would looks have anything to do with that?
posted by aetg at 6:47 AM on June 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Similar to CunningLinguist - never heard any of this when I was a ginger lad in northern England in the 70s and 80s (beyond the kind of general friendly piss-taking everyone got for something). I grew my ginger mop very long and it didn't seem to hamper my youthful wild oat sowing either. More innocent times, perhaps, before the Great Hatred arose.
Three of us four siblings have red hair despite neither of our parents nor their parents being ginge, so interesting to see what responses the AskMe gets.
posted by Abiezer at 6:51 AM on June 23, 2009


I'm in the orange swan camp. The only shades of red hair I find attractive on a guy are chestnut and auburn....although pasty skin also has something to do with one's diet.
posted by brujita at 6:53 AM on June 23, 2009


My view of redheads is preferably from my bed.
posted by Mister_A at 7:02 AM on June 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I love redheads. My long-term SO is a redhead.

... I guess I don't have a point, other than to brag.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 7:02 AM on June 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've no doubt that people have not been given jobs or have been socially excluded because they have ginger hair.

However, I've seen too many Ginger people moan about how it is EXACTLY the same as racism. It's not.

My favourite anti-ginger phrase is "{X} was beaten like a ginger stepchild." It's a bad thing to say, but it's so funny.
posted by seanyboy


sorry you are a racist.
posted by bhnyc at 7:08 AM on June 23, 2009


Yeah, can I just point out that redheads are not, you know, a distinct race?
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:19 AM on June 23, 2009


Wow, this is weird. I mean, I've heard of this from previous Metafilter threads before, but. This is just alien moonspeak to me, man.

Another datapoint: Ohio, and it's definitely rare and desirable here. Had a classmate with auburnish red hair and it was just so cool. Young blonde girls try to convince themselves that they've got a bit of strawberry mixed in, if the light hits their hair juuust right. Kids read Anne of Green Gables and boggle that she doesn't like her hair.

My 1-year-old nephew has red hair - bright, red-orangy hair. This is the very first thing everyone comments on when we go anywhere. We've frequently had complete strangers come up to us and coo over him. In an "oh my GOD his hair is awesome, it's so red, I wish my son had hair like that...oh, and he's cute, too" way. Not a single "oh, that poor dear" in the bunch.
posted by anthy at 7:19 AM on June 23, 2009


Redheads are, for the most part, seen as undesirable.

This directly contradicts my entire life experience.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:20 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Red hair is a woman's game.

The harsh truth is, most red-haired men look like blonds who've spoiled from lack of refrigeration. They look like brown-haired men who've been composted. Yet that same pigmentation that on a man can resemble leaf mold or junk yard rust, a woman wears like a tiara of rubies.

Not only are female redheads frequently lovely but theirs is a loveliness that suggests both lust and danger, pleasure and violence, and is, therefore, to the male of the species virtually irresistible. Red O red were the tresses of the original femme fatale.
Of course, much of the "fatale" associated with redheads is illusory, a stereotypical projection on the part of sexually neurotic men. Plenty of redheads are as demure as rosebuds and as sweet as strawberry pie. However, the mere fact that they are perceived to be stormy, if not malicious, grants them a certain license and a certain power. It's as if bitchiness is their birthright. By virtue of their coloration, they possess an innate permit to be terrible and lascivious, which, even if never exercised, sets them apart from the remainder of womankind, who have traditionally been expected to be mild and pure.

Now that women are demolishing those old misogynistic expectations, will redheads lose their special magic, will Pippi Longstocking come to be regarded as just one of the girls? Hardly. To believe that blondes and brunettes are simply redheads in repressive drag is to believe that UFOs are kiddie balloons. All redheads, you see, are mutants.

Whether they spring from genes disarranged by earthly forces or are "planted" here by overlords from outer space is a matter for scholarly debate. It's enough for us to recognize that redheads are abnormal beings, bioelectrically connected to realms of strange power, rage, risk and ecstasy.

What is your mission among us, you daughters of ancient Henna, you agents of the harvest moon? Are those star maps that your freckles replicate? How do you explain the fact that you live longer than the average human? Where did you get such sensitive skin? And why are your curls the same shade as heartbreak?

Alas, inquiry is futile: Either they don't know or they won't say -- and who has the nerve to pressure a redhead? We may never learn their origin or meaning, but it probably doesn't matter. We will go on leaping out of our frying pans into their fire, grateful for the opportunity to be titillated by their vengeful fury, real or imagined, and to occasionally test our erotic mettle in the legendary inferno of their passion.

Redheaded women! Those blood oranges! Those cherry bombs! Those celestial shrews and queens of copper! May they never cease to stain our white-bread lives with super-natural catsup.
xo,

your formerly redheaded mod.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:21 AM on June 23, 2009 [28 favorites]


It's a racial trait exactly like skin color.

I find the English attitude on this appalling- "It's a bad thing to say, but it's so funny" wtf??
posted by bhnyc at 7:24 AM on June 23, 2009


Still Life With Woodpecker was one of the beacons on the shore of my tempest-swept adolescence.
posted by fish tick at 7:28 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I find your attitude that some weird and kind-of-obscure-ish bias against a person's hair color is exactly the same as racism most definitely worthy of a big old whiskey tango foxtrot, dude.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:29 AM on June 23, 2009


That baby picture is cute and all, Jess, but this is fucking dope.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:33 AM on June 23, 2009 [15 favorites]


And yeah, anti-redhead joking/jibing/grumbling is one of those things I have come to understand exists in the world, in the same way that I understand that there are large moai heads on Easter Island. It doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense to me, but apparently it's out there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:38 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


this is fucking dope.

the more things change, &c.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:48 AM on June 23, 2009


Kids make fun of redheads because kids make fun of anything. Kids are assholes.
posted by graventy at 7:48 AM on June 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


Any way we can have the image tag back just for this one thread?
posted by Navelgazer at 7:49 AM on June 23, 2009


"It's a racial trait exactly like skin color."

That statement don't make no sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:51 AM on June 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I find the English attitude on this appalling- "It's a bad thing to say, but it's so funny"

Well, rum, sodomy, and the lash are appalling, too, but still fun(ny), so maybe this attitude comes naturally to the English British.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:52 AM on June 23, 2009


Like, at most you could accuse someone of phenotypism, I suppose, but yeah, it really is kind of a nonsensical thing to say.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:53 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Adorable. (If you have any ridiculous anti-redhead prejudices, that should end them once and for all.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:54 AM on June 23, 2009


Also, I'm pretty sure the Brits do not have the market cornered when it comes to "It's a bad thing to say, but it's so funny." That attitude is pretty global.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:54 AM on June 23, 2009


Redheads are marvelous. That is all.
posted by blucevalo at 7:56 AM on June 23, 2009


Redheads react differently to pain. Maybe they are mutants.

HAWT mutants.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:58 AM on June 23, 2009


Oh come on. It's not okay for guys to have red hair? I know for a fact I'm not the only person who had a crush on Bobby Budnick.

(It's "I hope we never part." Now get it right or pay the price!)
posted by giraffe at 7:59 AM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bobby Budnick was loathsome. Of course, I am anti-mullet.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 8:03 AM on June 23, 2009


Of course, I am anti-mullet.

That's the same as Racism!
posted by Navelgazer at 8:10 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's totally ridiculous to suggest that distaste for someone on the basis of their hair and skin color bears any relationship to racism.
posted by brain_drain at 8:24 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the Wikipedia page Brandon Blatcher links to:

Red hair was thought to be a mark of a beastly sexual desire and moral degeneration.

[coughs]
posted by orange swan at 8:29 AM on June 23, 2009


Bobby Budnick was loathsome.

HE WAS JUST MISUNDERSTOOD
I CAN CHANGE HIM
posted by Greg Nog at 8:32 AM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm a fucking stupid globalising Pom myself, and I too had never heard of serious anti-Ginger prejudice until the last couple of years. I think too many English (and Scottish) people are ginger for it to have any particular nationalist/racialist basis in the UK (unless the bastard Welsh started it...).

My theory is that this is a meme that got out of control. Someone somewhere a few years ago did a comedy sketch or something about anti-gingerism, intending to use that ludicrous idea as an anti-racist satire, but then the thing was taken literally in the playgrounds and backfired into a real-world phenomenon.
posted by Phanx at 8:33 AM on June 23, 2009


Red hair was thought to be a mark of a beastly sexual desire and moral degeneration.

*calls hair stylist*

We're doing red next time.
posted by quin at 8:35 AM on June 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, I'm pretty sure the Brits do not have the market cornered when it comes to "It's a bad thing to say, but it's so funny." That attitude is pretty global.

We're better at it though.
posted by Artw at 8:36 AM on June 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Redheaded females are ... special.

(crazy and evil)

I'm not kidding.

The men are clueless and covered with freckles, which is just irresistable.

posted by longsleeves at 8:36 AM on June 23, 2009


There two separate things going on here, and we shouldn't confuse the two. One of them is the pretty real British Anti-Gingerism, which I can't speak to, but there's also Internet Pretend Anti-Gingerism.

As far as I can tell, two things happened at around the same time a few years ago. There was a growing awareness of British attitude towards gingers, which struck most people as ludicrous since red-headedness is seen most places as attractive or, at worst, neutral. It was so ridiculous, in fact, that one couldn't help but chuckle at the absurdity. Then there was the South Park episode, which fed off of this and brought the idea of anti-gingerism to a much larger non-British audience.

Internet Pretend Anti-Gingerism makes a certain kind of perfect sense, since it feeds off of a lot of things that make up what we'll call Internet Humor: it's absurd, it's British, it's an inside joke you can share with the entire Web, it's a way of being shocking without actually saying anything offensive. (All of those links go to Stuff Geeks Love, a site I'm totally unaffiliated with, but which I've written about before and recommend highly, especially if you can get past the dumb title.)

And since people on the Internet love running any joke into the ground about as much as they hate original wit, Internet Pretend Anti-Gingerism looks like it could be around for a while before it gets played out. It probably won't reach the depths of Zombie, Ninja, Hobo, Pirate, or Bacon fixation, but I'm afraid we're probably going to have to put up with it for a while.
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:37 AM on June 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: people on the Internet love running any joke into the ground about as much as they hate original wit
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:46 AM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know who else loved running any joke into the ground about as much as he hated original wit?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:47 AM on June 23, 2009


I love original wit. And Please: this is the first I've heard of pretend-gingerism. But thanks.
posted by longsleeves at 8:48 AM on June 23, 2009


You know who else loved running any joke into the ground about as much as he hated original wit?

Uncle Owen? Aunt Rue?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:53 AM on June 23, 2009


I so wanted red hair like my grandma's, but nope. Brown brown brown. I dyed it red for a while, sometimes more "natural" looking, although for a while more of a fire-engine color. (It was also almost waist-length.) Found out in college that my favorite aunt who I thought was red-headed: nope, she dyed hers too; always wanted her mom's hair color. I never knew of any specifically anti-redhead teasing while I was growing up, and found that South Park hilarious but bizarre.

(Still have a bit of a crush on a mega-ginger guy friend from college.)
posted by epersonae at 8:54 AM on June 23, 2009


this is fucking dope.

Seriously, that picture is totally cute. Cute like a Pixar movie.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:05 AM on June 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


The first time I had ever really heard about any sort of prejudice against Redheads (call it the result of a sheltered childhood) was reading Death In Venice by Thomas Mann in college. That was a surreal little facet of that story, where every Redhead was a sort of sinister magician or succubus or what have you. I recall the issue of redheads in the story being brought up in class, but I don't remember what we eventually said about it because at the time I was bringing a 5th of JD to class regularly so it's mostly a blur.

outside of that, yeah it's mostly been like that Tom Robbins quote Jessamyn posted upthread. Everyone I know has that whole mystique thing going on for Red headed women, and guys seem to get the short end of the stick.

The only other thing I've noticed outside of those two circumstances is among heavily Jewish communities. I can't even begin to speak with any authority or to speculate as to causes, but I feel like, among the orthodox, redheaded jews aren't regarded quite the same as everyone else.
posted by shmegegge at 9:07 AM on June 23, 2009


Seriously, that picture is totally cute. Cute like a Pixar movie.
Yes, we all look the same to you, don't we?
posted by fish tick at 9:09 AM on June 23, 2009


Red hair is damn sexy. And that's a fact.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:11 AM on June 23, 2009


I'm for 'em.
posted by everichon at 9:14 AM on June 23, 2009


Yeah, can I just point out that redheads are not, you know, a distinct race?

Well, not anymore. Don't forget, our idea of race today involves much broader categories than in times past. Used to be, Italians were a race, French were a race, Scots were a race, English were a race, and so on.

It's only recently that we've used markers like skin color to separate people out. We've gotten good at ignoring things like noses, shapes of faces, and eye color that once would have been a much bigger deal.

Well, rum, sodomy, and the lash are appalling, too, but still fun(ny), so maybe this attitude comes naturally to the British.

I think the idea is that when you make fun of "Gingas", there is some form of racism going on, in contrast with dark humor, which makes fun of things which are really awful in and of themselves but not actually offensive or demeaning. I mean, making jokes about black people or mentally disabled people is also appalling.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:16 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Never heard the phrase "red-headed stepchild"? I believe it dates back to the wave of Irish emigration in the early 1800's; I've seen it in newspaper editorial cartoons from the late 1800's.

There's some earlier stuff regarding red hair among Jews, too, and some anti-Semitic stuff about redheads being evil/witches. On preview, I see shmegegge's mentioned this too.

Red hair, especially if very carrott-y, got made fun of on the playground, but by our 20s adolescence "redheads" had morphed into the "female sexual dynamo temper rrRROWRrr" stereotype.
posted by desuetude at 9:22 AM on June 23, 2009


Redheads were picked on mercilessly in my elementary school, but I definitely saw it in the higher grades as well. The boys were seen as unattractive because of it, which seems silly now but how many leading men roles in movies are played by redheads? One boy in particular used to get called Opie a lot. Doesn't Conan O'Brien make fun of himself a lot for being of the ginger persuasion?
posted by Ugh at 9:27 AM on June 23, 2009


You know who else loved running any joke into the ground about as much as he hated original wit?

Dane Cook?
posted by jerseygirl at 9:29 AM on June 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


Inasmuch as gingerism is a problem, I've never seen it in the US. Ever. The sole commentary I've ever heard on redheads is as a "hey hurr hurr redheads" fetish. And I say that as someone who's had relationships with two strawberry-blondes and one full-on flame-headed lass. The idea of having red hair as a genuinely bad thing is... absurd.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:35 AM on June 23, 2009


Ridiculous hate against "gingers."

I heard something on NPR, about a woman who sought to adopt a disabled cat from a shelter in the UK. She called, and they told her they had a wonderful little kitty.

"However, it has a problem. When it defecates, its lower intestine comes out, and must be pushed back in."

She politely declined, as she did not feel she was up to the task. A couple weeks later, she called again. They had a cat,

"However, it has a problem. It's a ginger cat."

Ridiculous, ridiculous, ridiculous. It's a real prejudice, and it's ridiculous.

And I find the fetishism toward red-haired women as gross as fetishism toward Asian women.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:37 AM on June 23, 2009


As a grown-up redhead and a contrary punk to boot, I kinda get a charge out of that pejorative redhead stuff. I just read that question and thought, "good, I don't want people who give a shit about the color of a baby's hair to desire me." It's a streak I have, I guess. It kinda sucked in middle school, but if I hadn't had red hair something else would have kinda sucked in middle school so whatever.

My favorite is when people use fire-crotch as some kind of insult. When asked to explain why the color of another man's pubes should interest them so, most people who use it that way are at an amusing loss for words.

Of course, that said, I died my hair all manner of colors in high school, but that's because it pissed off the administration and I needed to get better mileage out of my authority-pissing-off than I had been. What can I say? I'm a contrary punk.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 9:38 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Er. This is going to come across as totally obnoxious, but yes, I do think red-head hair is generally less attractive in men. The pasty white skin that comes with it just doesn't look as good on a man.

You are so, so wrong. Men so pale they glow in the dark? Hell-ass yes.

I love redheads. My long-term SO is a redhead.

... I guess I don't have a point, other than to brag.


Bitch. Share the wealth!
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:50 AM on June 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


And I find the fetishism toward red-haired women as gross as fetishism toward Asian women.

Well, how do you feel about fetishism toward red-haired Asian women? Because before you answer, I think you should reflect on how difficult life is for those of us burdened with this fetish. I mean, my dating prospects are pretty much limited to Bai Ling in whatever that movie was where she had a red Alias wig (am I thinking of Edmond?), and that's, like, it. I mean, damn, have a little heart.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:52 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can someone explain to me how you get "ginger" as a descriptor of red hair?

I'd heard of ginger-haired people being made fun of before and always assumed it was blond-haired people, because ginger root is sort of the color of blond hair. Why blond hair was an object of derision was beyond me.

But ginger=red? What sort of chowderhead dreams that up, or even accepts the use of such a transparently lackwitted term?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:52 AM on June 23, 2009


Really and truly, I'm having a very hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that someone can actually call a bias against redheads "racism." Are brown-eyed people a race? Are people who are taller that 6' a race? Are blondes? Is telling a blonde joke racist*? To even ask these questions makes me feel like I'm falling down some kind of politically correct rabbit hole of ridiculousness, and I say that as someone who has a pretty pronounced liberal bent.

Deathalicious, I get that, especially in the last fifty years or so, race has become a much more slippery category to define, cf. your point about Irish not being considered "white."

But man, the concept of racism, and, by extension, calling someone a racist, is such a hugely, massively loaded arena, and it seems a ridiculously knee-jerk reaction to label someone who doesn't like redheads a racist. Someone like that is a bigot, sure, but -- in my mind, at least -- calling them a racist is using a sledgehammer when a ball-peen will do just as well. It feels like a watering-down of an incredibly powerful term, and I'm not at all convinced that's a good thing.

* Yes, blonde jokes are usually facile and misogynist, but racist? Really?
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:57 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


What are Famous Redheads in Prehistory ?
posted by y2karl at 10:01 AM on June 23, 2009


I'd like to suggest all redheads seek sanctuary in the US specifically, in my neighborhood, especially if you're male. Thank you.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:13 AM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I find the fetishism toward red-haired women as gross as fetishism toward Asian women.

You know it's possible to reliably find certain physical attributes attractive without it being a "fetish," right? If anybody's been making gross or inappropriate comments here, I've missed it amongst the sea of agreement that red hair is generally attractive. That's it.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:13 AM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


ROU_Xenophobe- Ginger plant
posted by small_ruminant at 10:14 AM on June 23, 2009


Jealousy.
posted by Eideteker at 10:18 AM on June 23, 2009


Someone explained this decently in AskMe recently, but it's possible to prefer something as a trait in a sex partner ["yes, I like the redheaded fellas, esp the orthodox ones in the furry hats"] without it being a fetish ["I can not get aroused if my partner is not redheaded and wearing a fuzzy hat"]. This is more obvious with most fetishes that center around non-human objects that are not designed to provoke a sexual response [i.e. the classic rubber apron] and get fuzzier when they center around a part of the body [i.e. foot fetishes].
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:19 AM on June 23, 2009


Er. This is going to come across as totally obnoxious, but yes, I do think red-head hair is generally less attractive in men. The pasty white skin that comes with it just doesn't look as good on a man.

You are so, so wrong. Men so pale they glow in the dark? Hell-ass yes.


It's not really something one can be wrong about — it's more a matter of personal preference/attraction. Maybe because I glow in the dark myself it's some kind of unconscious desire to avoid competition/being kept up all night by the combined glare.;-)
posted by orange swan at 10:20 AM on June 23, 2009


I'd marry a redhead. Come to think of it, I might have.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:31 AM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Red headed mutant

(Note: Temperamental. Likely to flip out and destroy the universe)
posted by Artw at 10:43 AM on June 23, 2009


You know it's possible to reliably find certain physical attributes attractive without it being a "fetish," right?

Which is why I said "fetish" and not "attraction." Be attracted to red hair (and Asians) all you like! Nothing wrong with that.

If anybody's been making gross or inappropriate comments here, I've missed it amongst the sea of agreement that red hair is generally attractive.

Eh, there might be some, but it's all snark and in good fun. I was merely making a statement and not pointing fingers. Geez. Guilty conscience anyone?
posted by jabberjaw at 10:46 AM on June 23, 2009


Fair enough, jabberjaw. Accusatory tone cheerfully withdrawn!
posted by Navelgazer at 10:55 AM on June 23, 2009


Be attracted to red hair (and Asians) all you like!

And mutants!

Of course, if you are Wolverine they will all end up dying.
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on June 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Okay, look: discriminating against someone because of their genetic heritage -- whether it manifests as skin color or hair color or whatnot -- is discrimination. Whether or not it's racism is an interesting discussion to have, as the people who have red hair presumably have it because of their genetic legacy, which is tied to race as much as skin color is.

Look at it this way: if you don't get a job because you're African-American, were you discriminated against because of your skin color, or because of the heritage that your skin color genetically marks you as having? Similarly, if you don't get a job because you're Irish, were you discriminated against because of your hair color, or because of the heritage that your hair color genetically marks you as having? I won't say whether it's racism or not; I'll just say that it's a legitimate discussion with valid points on both sides.

For me personally, if we assume discrimination on the basis of hair color is not racism, I might say it is just like racism1 because, like racism, it involves discrimination against you for a genetic marker of your heritage. You can make the argument that someone could dye their hair and hide it and so it's somehow different, but that argument falls apart immediately because someone could use makeup on their skin to hide it -- that the latter is a lot more inconvenient than the former doesn't change their equivalence. Also, while makeup alone wouldn't hide other genetic markers for someone with dark skin, hair color alone wouldn't hide other genetic markers for someone with red hair -- the dark skin/red hair marker is just the most convenient indicator, hardly the only one.

1in the same way that promoting someone over someone else more qualified because they gave you a bribe is just like nepotism, in that both cases involve passing over someone more qualified -- even though your reasons for doing it are different.
posted by davejay at 10:56 AM on June 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, from Merriam-Websters:

"[Racism is] 1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race; 2: racial prejudice or discrimination."

So, if you believe that someone with red hair -- a genetic marker tied to race (those damn vikings) -- is automatically a sub-par person compared to you, by the definition above that would be racism.
posted by davejay at 11:01 AM on June 23, 2009


and no, I don't have red hair. truth be told, I don't have much hair of any kind.
posted by davejay at 11:01 AM on June 23, 2009


I'd never heard of redheads being called "gingers" before a few months ago. Is Ginger not a female first name in the UK, too?
posted by Pax at 11:06 AM on June 23, 2009


^ I believe Posh and Scary may also be female first names in the UK, as well.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:12 AM on June 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is Ginger not a female first name in the UK, too?

Well, there's Ginger Spice. (She was the ginger one.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:15 AM on June 23, 2009


Also the only valid spice name in the group.
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on June 23, 2009


What the hell are you talking about? My mother's lemon thyme scary posh sporty baby chicken has a bone to pick with you.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:24 AM on June 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Mmm... Freshly-ground baby...
posted by Sys Rq at 11:26 AM on June 23, 2009


Who doesn't enjoy a little baby powder on their pasta once in a while?
posted by fish tick at 11:27 AM on June 23, 2009


Baby is also a valid name if you're in an 80s movie and have an aversion to corners.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:44 AM on June 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


Similarly, if you don't get a job because you're Irish, were you discriminated against because of your hair color, or because of the heritage that your hair color genetically marks you as having?

What? I presume you're talking about an Irish person with red hair and not a Scottish person, or and English person, or a Norwegian, or a Dane, or a German or an Italian or a Spaniard. The Irish don't have a lock down on red hair.
posted by ob at 11:47 AM on June 23, 2009


For me personally, if we assume discrimination on the basis of hair color is not racism, I might say it is just like racism1 because, like racism, it involves discrimination against you for a genetic marker of your heritage.

This is a USA perspective on things, but redheads never had legally enshrined discrimination against them. There's the whole Irish thing in England, and to a lesser extent in the USA 'cause of that whole "No Irish Need Apply" thing, but for the most part that was an ethnic discrimination. The fact of one's red hair only signified one's Irish heritage, which was the real problem. A brown haired Irishman was just as discriminated against as a red haired one, but they had an easier time passing. The upshot of this isn't really important, especially in the USA since "discrimination" against red heads doesn't really extend much past the schoolyard.

Redheads, at least the ones I know and including myself, don't identify as "redheads" first and foremost as a marker of their identity. We're white. I get all the white privilege that any other white dude gets. Folks with my phenotype never had to fight for their right to vote or serve on a jury. If you looked like me in the 1920s, you could walk around the South with impunity (so long as no one saw you going into a Catholic church).

Busting redheads balls because of their skin should not be equated with the systemic racism that plagues the United States to this day. We redheads can take it. Please don't waste precious energy defending our honer when there are those for whom real discrimination still does happen on a daily basis.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:47 AM on June 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is Ginger not a female first name in the UK, too?

When I lived there as a teenager in the 80s, most people assumed Ginger was a nickname (it's not) and asked whether I was redheaded as an infant. I was also mistaken for a boy based on my name alone a couple of times.
posted by immlass at 11:55 AM on June 23, 2009


How old is "ginger" as slang? Is it a reference to Ginger?
posted by team lowkey at 11:58 AM on June 23, 2009


Another red blooded redhead admirer weighs in. That is all.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:02 PM on June 23, 2009


To the OED!

4 b. A cock with reddish plumage; also, a red-haired or sandy-haired person.

1785 GROSE Dict. Vulg. Tongue s.v. Ginger-pated, Red cocks are called gingers. 1797 Sporting Mag. IX. 338 In cocking, I suppose you will not find a better breed of gingers. 1857 H. AINSWORTH Spendthrift xvi. 109 Examining the cocks, and betting with each other..this backing a grey, that a ginger. 1885 in Eng. Illustr. Mag. June 605 There is..‘Ginger’, the red-haired, who [etc.].

7 B. adj. dial. Of hair: Having the colour of ginger. Of a person: Sandy-haired. Of a cock: Having red plumage.

a1825 FORBY Voc. E. Anglia, Ginger, of a pale red colour, particularly applied to hair. 1834 T. MEDWIN Angler in Wales I. 35, I perceive a fine red or ginger game-cock in the yard. 1886 Chesh. Gloss., Ginger, sandy-haired. ‘He's a bit ginger.’ 1897 Daily News 10 Sept. 2/6 Complexion and hair brown, moustache ginger.


So: fairly old, more than a hundred years at least as applied to people.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:03 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ almighty. "Because of their skin"??? Really? Because of their hair, obviously! Look, if I could get internet access somewhere besides the pub we wouldn't be having this problem.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:05 PM on June 23, 2009


What's all this then?
posted by gingerbeer at 12:08 PM on June 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


What's all this then?

Very little of consequence, you gorgeous mutant.

I was wondering when you were going to show up.
posted by loquacious at 12:27 PM on June 23, 2009


> I'd marry a redhead. Come to think of it, I might have.

That would be yes, Brandon. A mutant redhead, per loquacious.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:32 PM on June 23, 2009


Mutants are hot.
posted by Mister_A at 12:40 PM on June 23, 2009


Can I just chime in and say I love a rugged, pale, red-headed man? That I practically swooned when the Weasley family was introduced?

Also, people are being very casual about their use of "racism", but I would agree that in many cultures, redheads (and especially gingers) would face the same discrimination that any other ugly or unusual person would face. As a very plain woman, it's nothing like being black or being a woman, but there's definitely an undercurrent to most transactions.
posted by muddgirl at 12:41 PM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

Ginger is also a minor chemical irritant, and because of this was used as a horse suppository by pre-World War I mounted regiments for feaguing.1
...
An 1811 dictionary states: "to feague a horse is to put ginger up a horse’s fundament, and formerly, as it is said, a live eel, to make him lively and carry his tail well.2
what
posted by Sys Rq at 12:45 PM on June 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


I assume they mean the horse will be lively after having the live eel shoved up there, not the eel, right?
posted by Mister_A at 12:51 PM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher alluded to this up thread, but in my case can I dislike redheads because they make my job more difficult? (Although actually not nearly as more difficult as parents who think "your child can have clear liquids up until 2 hours before you come to the hospital for surgery" means "of course you can stop and feed your child a full breakfast on the way to the hospital!" And I actually agree that red hair can certainly be attractive; if I dislike a redhead it is probably because I think they are an asshole regardless of hair color.)
posted by TedW at 12:56 PM on June 23, 2009


I have a friend who thinks most redheads fall squarely in one of two categories--gorgeous or fugly with no in-between. I think it's a case of confirmation bias with him because he's always on the lookout for redheads who illustrate his point, and when I'm with him I sort of do the same thing, except I point out average looking examples of our crimson-cropped sistren just to annoy him.

I myself have no hair color preference or bias but have never been fortunate enough to date a redhead. Shirley Manson and Jessica Rabbit would do nicely *sigh*. BTW, Shirley Manson claims she was teased mercilessly in school for being a pasty redhead but boy, did she get even as an adult.

Oh, and I wonder if some of the prejudice is to do with old (accusations) of witchcraft leveled at red-haired people. I remember the Idi Amin character telling the Scottish doctor that Ugandans find red hair "very ugly" in The Last King of Scotland.
posted by Devils Slide at 1:10 PM on June 23, 2009


So, in conclusion, if you don't like red hair you eat babies.
posted by Artw at 1:25 PM on June 23, 2009


MetaTalk: from redheads to live eels up a horse's fundament in under 140 comments.
posted by CKmtl at 1:34 PM on June 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


I think we can all be proud of that.
posted by ob at 1:40 PM on June 23, 2009


Necessity is the mother of invention. In this case (at least some point prior to 1811) that meant:

Necessity - "This horse is unacceptable! Just look how poorly he carries his tail!"
Invention - "Why don't you shove some ginger and a live eel up in there and see if that helps?"
posted by Navelgazer at 1:41 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


And here I thought Richard Gere was some sort of innovator. Pah!
posted by five fresh fish at 1:50 PM on June 23, 2009


i'm so glad this metatalk thread is here. now i can explain that i'm blonde on top, but red 'down under.'
posted by lester at 1:51 PM on June 23, 2009


I heard something on NPR, about a woman who sought to adopt a disabled cat from a shelter in the UK. She called, and they told her they had a wonderful little kitty.

That was Catherine Tate, on Wossy's show (or someone retelling it...)
posted by andraste at 1:58 PM on June 23, 2009


Red hair is a woman's game.

The harsh truth is, most red-haired men look like blonds who've spoiled from lack of refrigeration. They look like brown-haired men who've been composted. Yet that same pigmentation that on a man can resemble leaf mold or junk yard rust, a woman wears like a tiara of rubies.


"Hello, my name is Tom Robbins, and I am a heterosexual man."
posted by Sys Rq at 2:06 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Very little of consequence, you gorgeous mutant.

Watch it, you! First you wanna eat my cat, now you wanna steal my gorgeous mutant? I think not!
posted by rtha at 2:11 PM on June 23, 2009


Can someone explain to me how you get "ginger" as a descriptor of red hair?

This reminds me of being called "carrot-top" by older people when I was a kid. I turned on my uncle once when he called me that, stomped my foot, and declared that carrot tops were green. I didn't understand it until my sister whacked me upside the head and schooled me on what the phrase meant. heh.

Likewise, I was puzzled by the "ginger" thing. Seems a bit off, but whatev. At least it's lovely; I've never heard it as something negative, and I still don't. People are entitled to be as dim-witted as they like. In fact, I'm all for anything that keeps the idjits at bay.
posted by heyho at 2:15 PM on June 23, 2009


My dad was a redhead born in 1954 who attended school in California. He says he was teased about it all the time.

My father-in-law also had bright red hair, was born in 1940 and attended school in Foxton, in New Zealand. He says he was teased about it all the time as well.

So I'm not sure it's a new phenomenon, or only a localised to the UK thing either.

Also one brother-in-law and one sister-in-law have bright red hair.

I'm surrounded someone call the police! Save me, if you have a heart, save me!
posted by supercrayon at 2:23 PM on June 23, 2009


>And I find the fetishism toward red-haired women as gross as fetishism toward Asian women.

Oh, amen. It creeps me right out, too.

It gives off ick-vibes for the same reason that everyone jumped all over the guy in this thread. Attracted to big breasts? Who the fuck isn't? But use it as criteria for putting women on some sort of sex-object pedestal and using it as dating/hotness criteria before any other features? Kind of sleazy.

I read a Something Awful thread once about what traits people thought were hot (for the uninitiated, the SA forums are 99.99999% males with stairs in their houses). The whole thread was REDHEADS and ASHKENAZI JEWS, and a lot of the comments definitely were pretty creepy.

At first I was like, "Man, I'm glad I'm not a Jewish red-headed Asian! I'd have mouth breathing Sys Admins staring at me where ever I went, and people would basically treat me like a novelty rather than a human being!"

Then I realized that it was kind of a common human thing to be attracted to what is seen as rare and exotic to you. Also, that I didn't complain as much when the conversation was about how multiracial people are the hotness.

(flirtatiously flutters half-Latina eyelashes)

(also PS am I the only one who wanted to get DP'd by the Weasley twins? Yes? OK)
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:28 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bitch. Share the wealth!

Get yer own! I'm afraid you'll have to get your freckle fix elsewhere.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 2:35 PM on June 23, 2009


The whole thread was REDHEADS and ASHKENAZI JEWS

Well I know where to go if MeFi kicks me out of the clubhouse.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:39 PM on June 23, 2009


"Where did Jessamyn go?"

"It is a mystery."
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:43 PM on June 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


There is something really strange going on with redheads:

Recent experiments by researchers at McGill University, Montreal, Canada with mutant yellow-orange mice and human redheads, both with non-functional MC1R, show that both genotypes display reduced sensitivity to noxious stimuli and increased analgesic responsiveness to morphine-metabolite analgetics.[17]

Some parents of kids with autism believe red hair is over-represented among autists.

Judas Iscariot is traditionally a redhead.

And yes, it would be nice to be able to reconcile reduced sensitivity to noxious stimuli and increased analgesic responsiveness to morphine-metabolite analgetics with TedW's observation that they require quite a bit more anesthetic during surgery.
posted by jamjam at 2:43 PM on June 23, 2009


Watch it, you! First you wanna eat my cat, now you wanna steal my gorgeous mutant? I think not!

Wait, aren't we all married anyway? Is it really stealing, then? I don't even think that counts as "borrowing". Anyway, you were already invited.

As for that scrumptious cat I can't make any promises as I'm smitten and compelled to gnaw on his head.
posted by loquacious at 2:45 PM on June 23, 2009


Since no one else has mentioned it, the explanation given to me for why the black community has the "beat you like a red-headed stepchild" trope is that the red hair implied congress between slaves and masters, and thus no one had any warm feelings toward the resultant offspring. I can't speak to whether this is true, but it was certainly believed in my neighborhood, and has nothing to do with gingers, really.

(As to Mendelian genetics, my gramma was stereotypically Irish, with flaming red hair that got blonde as she aged. My aunt, the only one of four kids to get the red, loves being a redhead in America, but apparently when she's visited Ireland, she looks just like some IRA woman on a terrorist watch list, so is always segregated and searched.)
posted by klangklangston at 2:45 PM on June 23, 2009


Attracted to big breasts? Who the fuck isn't?

I'd say many, if not most, gay men.
posted by ericb at 2:48 PM on June 23, 2009


(also PS am I the only one who wanted to get DP'd by the Weasley twins? Yes? OK)

No, Juliet Banana, you're not alone. I will now go hurt myself for even going there publicly. But, yum. I saw them in 7-11 one morning on my way to work; they were in town promoting the latest HP film, I believe. They're super tall, super hot, and really nice, as it turns out -- they let me cut ahead of them in line. Squee!
posted by heyho at 2:55 PM on June 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


but in my case can I dislike redheads because they make my job more difficult?

Dude, every time I enter a hospital, I hate myself for having red hair.

Red hair + inattentive phlebotomist = fifteen minutes of excruciating pain + giant bruises in the crook of both elbows.
posted by Commander Rachek at 2:55 PM on June 23, 2009


(And yes, I was hoping for a sandwich, but I only got some coffee.)
posted by heyho at 3:08 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well I know where to go if MeFi kicks me out of the clubhouse.

GET OUT. (0:40)

Omg I'm just kidding; please don't leave, ever.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 3:12 PM on June 23, 2009


(also PS am I the only one who wanted to get DP'd by the Weasley twins? Yes? OK)

I'd say many, if not most, gay men.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:13 PM on June 23, 2009


Stairs in their houses?

*blinks* I have the terrible suspicion that there's something I am really not getting about that phrase.
posted by adipocere at 3:19 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd say many, if not most, gay men.

Wouldn't a BJ count as one of the Ps, technically?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:20 PM on June 23, 2009


If you were describing a plurality of homosexual dudes that, furthermore, likely but not definitively constituted a proper majority, what quantifying phrase would you use to to characterize the group in question?
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:25 PM on June 23, 2009


Busting redheads balls because of their skin should not be equated with the systemic racism that plagues the United States to this day.

Well, obviously "racism" is not the same as "the systemic racism that plagues the United States to this day" -- and in the UK, people are being discriminated against for having red hair in an arguably racist way (mentioned much earlier up-thread.)

And yes, you are correct, I was referring to an Irish person with red hair, not just an Irish person, in my comparison. If it makes it easier, make it an Irish person with red hair not getting a job in the UK versus an African-American person not getting a job in the US.
posted by davejay at 3:30 PM on June 23, 2009


Black:Al Jolson::Ginger:Ronald McDonald
posted by Sys Rq at 3:34 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well I know where to go if MeFi kicks me out of the clubhouse.

You'll be in your bunk?
posted by rtha at 3:37 PM on June 23, 2009


Wait, aren't we all married anyway?

Oh, you're right, loquacious! (How soon I forget!) But no kitten-gnawing for you, no.
posted by rtha at 3:40 PM on June 23, 2009


Wouldn't a BJ count as one of the Ps, technically?

No. That's a spit-roast.

And, yes, I could go for a double-tall extra-pale Weasleycino. In whichever configuration they'd like.
posted by CKmtl at 3:40 PM on June 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


From about 13 until I got glasses at 25, about once a week some older man would corner me in some public place to tell me about his desire for red headed women. And I was a young looking, shy thirteen. It was so gross. Apparently, a lot of men have some sort of lifetime list. I guess it's a fucket list. And one of the boxes they want to tick off is... well, the red box. I was surprised to learn that most of my friends didn't have a similar experience. Not even my very pretty, blonde sister. The ones who could relate were Asian.
Man, glasses are awesome. Thank you, Dorothy Parker.
Other things I've experienced:
Drunk guys telling me exactly how disgusting orange pubes are.
Being called a bloody cunt (fire crotch is kinda cute after this).
All sorts of freckle humor. Connect the dots, etc.
If I'm angry, it's either my period or my hair. Never any sort of legitimate beef. My sister is actually the one with the fiery temper. I am sweet and patient and kind, damn it!

My hair is commented on daily. Every single day I am a red head or a titian or ginger. I usually really like my hair. I wouldn't change it, but people's responses are annoying.
posted by classa at 3:47 PM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


And I find the fetishism toward red-haired women as gross as fetishism toward Asian women.

Oh, amen. It creeps me right out, too.


"I wish I was Chinese. Because then my interest in Asian women wouldn't be considered so creepy." -- Jim Gaffigan
posted by Devils Slide at 3:49 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


(fire crotch is kinda cute after this)

I dyed my hair red at one point when I was a kid (late middle school? early high school? it was a costume- or drama-related thing, anyway) and got heckled as Firecrotch a couple times by random dudes. I thought that was just about the weirdest thing I'd ever heard, insult-wise.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:52 PM on June 23, 2009


Davejay, your analogy is flawed, because it's not being used as a marker of genetics, it's only being used as a marker of itself.

A better example would be goofy teeth.

If you have goofy teeth, you have a physical trait which society has decided does not improve your looks. People with goofy teeth will be subject to mockery in the media and you will probably get teased about your teeth at school. If you are turned down for a job in favour of somebody more conventionally attractive because of your teeth, that's appalling, but it's not racism.

Being ginger in the UK is basically equivalent to having goofy teeth or acne for bullying and discrimination pruposes.

(Only better, because as this thread has amply demonstrated, there are plenty of people who find ginger hair smoking hot, I don't know anybody who feels that way about acne.)

This is not a request for links to acne fetishist sites. Rule 34 says they're out there; I do not need to see them.
posted by the latin mouse at 3:55 PM on June 23, 2009


*blinks* I have the terrible suspicion that there's something I am really not getting about that phrase.

Stairs to the basement.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:09 PM on June 23, 2009


adipocere: the stairs in their houses.
posted by soft and hardcore taters at 4:09 PM on June 23, 2009


Hee. I hope Brandon Blatcher's reasoning wins, because I spend far too much time on the internet.
posted by soft and hardcore taters at 4:11 PM on June 23, 2009


I wonder if anti-Gingerism in the UK might be a kind of displaced racism. Some people might want to hate on those of different skin colour, but can't because it's not socially acceptable. So instead they vent their anger on people who they're "allowed" to dislike. That might happen in a lot of different countries with different physical traits.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:13 PM on June 23, 2009


"Being ginger in the UK is basically equivalent to having goofy teeth or acne for bullying and discrimination pruposes."

Also, because so many in the UK have goofy teeth, that one's normalized.

(I keed.)
posted by klangklangston at 4:23 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, I admit here that I didn't read all 180+ comments before posting this...

I think the red-headed child thing is a joke... if it is genetically unlikely that two people will produce a child with red hair, then if that child DOES have red hair, then maybe it was the mailman or postman or whatever who contributed the offending genetic material. I'd not put any more stock on it than that, really.

Personally, my weakness is furry bearded stocky redhead men. I've done all manner of stupid, personal-values-compromising things in order to win and keep the attention of the few that I've met in my life. It's scary the kind of control they have over me, based on physical attributes. I mean, I can't help what makes me go *ping*... they could at least have the decency to dye their hair to a less provocative color before they meet me.

:)
posted by hippybear at 4:38 PM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know, they used to televise the Highland Games...
posted by Artw at 4:40 PM on June 23, 2009


ArtW: Yes, I know. Believe me, I know... It's like heroin.
posted by hippybear at 4:54 PM on June 23, 2009


I don't know if there are good studies out there to back up what I was taught in nursing school. It may be one of those medical legends that is still propogated.

When a pale-skinned, freckled redheaded person presents for surgery, or childbirth, or has had trauma, I'm (we're) always on higher alert for bleeding problems. When a person with those characteristics is returned from surgery, I'm aware that they may have needed more anaesthesia than another person of comparable size, and may need more frequent stirring up.

And yes, redheads, those translucent people who truly glow in the dark, are a source of great beauty.
posted by reflecked at 5:10 PM on June 23, 2009


OK, coming back to my unhealthy fascination with Claremont era X-Men - What I want to know is why Wolverine, despite his chronic yellow fever and thing for women with funny coloured hair, never hit on Psylocke after she was all asian-ified. What's with that? Is it becauase she's British? That's racism you ferret-based Canadian mutie freak!
posted by Artw at 5:16 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I had abdominal surgery a few years ago, I awoke on the operating table once near the end. I didn't feel any pain, but my doctor told me that I definitely followed what she considered to be "the rule of the reds" - that they need more drugging. I was in the post-op recovery area for about fifteen minutes before I was trying to sit up, and I was totally alert. So in my case, the drugs work for the pain, but they don't work for very long on me. (I doubt it was just a conservative anaesthetist, as the scenario replayed itself just two years later - I woke on the table once, and came out of the sleepy haze pretty damn quickly, and I was fine to go home and didn't need the overnight stay they recommended for that particular procedure.)

I also tend to heal at a pretty rapid rate by comparison to my friends. Dunno why that is.
posted by heyho at 5:20 PM on June 23, 2009


1911 reference to "red-headed stepchild", from a print industry journal published in New York:

The trade paper, it will probably be conceded, is usually regarded as the red-headed stepchild in the advertising family. Nobody loves it, but fortunately it doesn't spend much time worrying over that fact.
posted by XMLicious at 5:35 PM on June 23, 2009


It seems clear to me that the "red-headed stepchild" thing is close to how hippybear is reading it. The red hair not only acts to make the child look different from the rest of the family, but also as a constant reminder to the stepfather that he's taking care of another man's kid. So, less attachment and an added layer of resentment equals the kid being treated worse than the others.

(Not endorsing any of this behavior as acceptable, just saying.)
posted by Navelgazer at 5:45 PM on June 23, 2009


I'm of Irish and Swedish decent and I have a nice mess of red hair and a nice red beard - although it's not copper- and I'm a handsome bastard with a terrible temper, so here we are, who wants a kiss?
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:49 PM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also yes, I metabolize drugs very rapidly, just as a data point.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:51 PM on June 23, 2009


descent, dammit, you bunch of seldom fed bastards.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:52 PM on June 23, 2009


"OK, coming back to my unhealthy fascination with Claremont era X-Men - What I want to know is why Wolverine, despite his chronic yellow fever and thing for women with funny coloured hair, never hit on Psylocke after she was all asian-ified. What's with that? Is it becauase she's British? That's racism you ferret-based Canadian mutie freak!"

I know that he flirts with Psylocke later on, both in the Age of Apocalypse alternate future and the arc against The Brood, but since he's primarily a foil (his lust after Jean Grey mirroring the sexual tension between Cyclops and Psylocke), I don't think Claremont ever really had him go after Betsy (though I admit to being fuzzy on where the Claremont era ended).

Why yes, I am a giant goddamned nerd, thanks.
posted by klangklangston at 6:01 PM on June 23, 2009


You can have my redhead when you pry it from my cold dead hand. I mean red hots. You can have those when you pry them . . . from my cold dead hand.
posted by nola at 6:13 PM on June 23, 2009


dhammond, I've met you, so this is sort of an even stupider question, but do you self-identify as a redheaded dude?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:22 PM on June 23, 2009


Hell I'm still curious is dhammond actually is Darryl Hammond.

because if so I've met him too, kind of, but not reall, and I know he wouldn't remember me...
posted by Navelgazer at 6:41 PM on June 23, 2009


From Perfume by Patrick Süskind

He walked up the rue de Seine. No one was on the street. The houses stood empty and still. The people were down by the river watching the fireworks. No hectic odor of humans disturbed him, no biting stench of gunpowder. The street smelled of its usual smells: water, feces, rats, and vegetable matter. But above it hovered the ribbon, delicate and clear, leading Grenouille on. After a few steps, what little light the night afforded was swallowed by the tall buildings, and Grenouille walked on in darkness. He did not need to see. The scent led him firmly.

Fifty yards farther, he turned off to the right up the rue des Marais, a narrow alley hardly a span wide and darker still-if that was possible. Strangely enough, the scent was not much stronger. It was only purer, and in its augmented purity, it took on an even greater power of attraction. Grenouille walked with no will of his own. At one point, the scent pulled him strongly to the right, straight through what seemed to be a wall. A low entryway opened up, leading into a back courtyard. Grenouille moved along the passage like a somnambulist, moved across the courtyard, turned a corner, entered a second, smaller courtyard, and here finally there was light-a space of only a few square feet. A wooden roof hung out from the wall. Beneath it, a table, a candle stuck atop it. A girl was sitting at the table cleaning yellow plums. With her left hand, she took the fruit from a basket, stemmed and pitted it with a knife, and dropped it into a bucket. She might have been thirteen, fourteen years old. Grenouille stood still. He recognized at once the source of the scent that he had followed from half a mile away on the other bank of the river: not this squalid courtyard, not the plums. The source was the girl.

For a moment he was so confused that he actually thought he had never in all his life seen anything so beautiful as this girl-although he only caught her from behind in silhouette against the candlelight. He meant, of course, he had never smelled anything so beautiful. But since he knew the smell of humans, knew it a thousandfold, men, women, children, he could not conceive of how such an exquisite scent could be emitted by a human being. Normally human odor was nothing special, or it was ghastly. Children smelled insipid, men urinous, all sour sweat and cheese, women smelled of rancid fat and rotting fish. Totally uninteresting, repulsive-that was how humans smelled.... And so it happened that for the first time in his life, Grenouille did not trust his nose and had to call on his eyes for assistance if he was to believe what he smelled. This confusion of senses did not last long at all. Actually he required only a moment to convince himself optically then to abandon himself all the more ruthlessly to olfactory perception. And now he smelled that this was a human being, smelled the sweat of her armpits, the oil in her hair, the fishy odor of her genitals, and smelled it all with the greatest pleasure. Her sweat smelled as fresh as the sea breeze, the tallow of her hair as sweet as nut oil, her genitals were as fragrant as the bouquet of water lilies, her skin as apricot blossoms... and the harmony of all these components yielded a perfume so rich, so balanced, so magical, that every perfume that Grenouille had smelled until now, every edifice of odors that he had so playfully created within himself, seemed at once to be utterly meaningless. A hundred thousand odors seemed worthless in the presence of this scent. This one scent was the higher principle, the pattern by which the others must be ordered. It was pure beauty.

Grenouille knew for certain that unless he possessed this scent, his life would have no meaning. He had to understand its smallest detail, to follow it to its last delicate tendril; the mere memory, however complex, was not enough. He wanted to press, to emboss this apotheosis of scent on his black, muddled soul, meticulously to explore it and from this point on, to think, to live, to smell only according to the innermost structures of its magic formula.

He slowly approached the girl, closer and closer, stepped under the overhanging roof, and halted one step behind her. She did not hear him.

She had red hair and wore a gray, sleeveless dress. Her arms were very white and her hands yellow with the juice of the halved plums. Grenouille stood bent over her and sucked in the undiluted fragrance of her as it rose from her nape, her hair, from the neckline of her dress. He let it flow into him like a gentle breeze. He had never felt so wonderful. But the girl felt the air turn cool.

She did not see Grenouille. But she was uneasy, sensed a strange chill, the kind one feels when suddenly overcome with some long discarded fear. She felt as if a cold draft had risen up behind her, as if someone had opened a door leading into a vast, cold cellar. And she laid the paring knife aside, pulled her arms to her chest, and turned around.

She was so frozen with terror at the sight of him that he had plenty of time to put his hands to her throat. She did not attempt to cry out, did not budge, did not make the least motion to defend herself. He, in turn, did not look at her, did not see her delicate, freckled face, her red lips, her large sparkling green eyes, keeping his eyes closed tight as he strangled her, for he had only one concern-not to lose the least trace of her scent.

When she was dead he laid her on the ground among the plum pits, tore off her dress, and the stream of scent became a flood that inundated him with its fragrance. He thrust his face to her skin and swept his flared nostrils across her, from belly to breast, to neck, over her face and hair, and back to her belly, down to her genitals, to her thighs and white legs. He smelled her over from head to toe, he gathered up the last fragments of her scent under her chin, in her navel, and in the wrinkles inside her elbow.

And after he had smelled the last faded scent of her, he crouched beside her for a while, collecting himself, for he was brimful with her. He did not want to spill a drop of her scent. First he must seal up his innermost compartments. Then he stood up and blew out the candle. Meanwhile people were starting home, singing and hurrahing their way up the rue de Seine. Grenouille smelled his way down the dark alley and out onto the rue des Petits Augustins, which lay parallel to the rue de Seine and led to the river. A little while later, the dead girl was discovered. A hue and cry arose. Torches were lit. The watch arrived. Grenouille had long since gained the other bank.

posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:53 PM on June 23, 2009


Divine_Wino just got hisself a new MeFi spouse!
posted by hippybear at 7:07 PM on June 23, 2009


Cyclops? The most boring man in comics?
posted by Artw at 7:26 PM on June 23, 2009


No, he's just...stoic and...tortured? Yeah.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:40 PM on June 23, 2009


Ginger = totally cool and I love the phrase fanta pants.
posted by tellurian at 7:40 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


And yes, it would be nice to be able to reconcile reduced sensitivity to noxious stimuli and increased analgesic responsiveness to morphine-metabolite analgetics with TedW's observation that they require quite a bit more anesthetic during surgery.

I have a horrible time at the dentist's. They always max out my anesthesia for procedures and I STILL feel the pain. Even cleanings make me hit the ceiling. One of my dentists once said to me, "Oh, it's the red hair." I said, "Wha...?" and she said, "You have thinner skin, and thinner gums, so you feel the pain more than most people do."

I also bruise easily. I usually have a few bruises on me somewhere and I don't even know where they came from. And I've got more sun damage on my face at 35 than my (formerly) brunette 70-year-old mother.
posted by orange swan at 8:14 PM on June 23, 2009


Best Cyclops comic ever.
posted by brain_drain at 8:20 PM on June 23, 2009


So, less attachment and an added layer of resentment equals the kid being treated worse than the others.

I think this is being beansified. People don't like redheads. People don't like step children. Thus, people really won't like a redheaded stepchild.

(speaking, as it happens, as a red-headed stepchild, who has thought about this before)
posted by pompomtom at 8:21 PM on June 23, 2009


Curtains and drapes.
posted by bardic at 9:23 PM on June 23, 2009


I am brown-haired. Just like my mother. Neither of us has a speck of red.

Most of my aunts and uncles, as well as 3/4 of my cousins on one side and 1/2 on the other, have obvious red hair.

When my mother was a kid, she was jealous of her siblings' red hair. According to her they always got noticed positively, e.g. "here's a copper penny for that pretty copper head."

I definitely inherited her jealousy along with the plain brown hair (even my sister has red highlights!), which wasn't helped at all by my last ex admitting to the red head trigger.

So yeah, I've always been completely confused by anti-redhead sentiment. Except in that they take all the awesome. And I can't even be green-eyed with envy because... I didn't get those, either.
posted by nat at 9:32 PM on June 23, 2009



Personally, my weakness is furry bearded stocky redhead men.


Well hello sailor!
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:25 PM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the answer is that obviously all the "gingers" should move from the UK to the US where they will be properly fetishized -- er -- i mean appreciated.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:49 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Better dead than red!
posted by Scattercat at 1:25 AM on June 24, 2009


So here I am, a middle-aged, not particularly attractive (even when young!) woman with naturally curly red hair, reading all these comments and it's all been very interesting indeed.

I think it all comes down to eyebrow colour, personally. Ginger eyebrows = OMGGINGERISM! Darker eyebrows = OMGHAWT! That's why, now that my eyebrows (which were once formerly black) are going silver, I always carry an eyebrow pencil with me. Not because I want people salivating over me and my follicles but because I, too, carry a slight ginger prejudice (well, sandy eyebrow prejudice). Oh okay I'll be truthful, I never really got the OMGH thing even when I had auburn hair and dark eyebrows without any of that pesky distracting silver, but I live in hope damnit! (But please, fetishists, from a distance, I beg of you. I'm not particularly sociable.)

In closing, I'd just like to say that a fond memory I carry with me from my irc days is when someone from the USA was reminiscing about a redheaded girlfriend and he said, "I had me some firebush once", which, when I'm thinking about it, I always say out loud in the tones of a lonely old cowboy from the Old West reflecting on his younger years.
posted by h00py at 1:42 AM on June 24, 2009


"I had me some firebush once"

Sounds itchy.
posted by clearly at 2:00 AM on June 24, 2009


Tsk, you see, red pubes associated with unsavoury itches and chlamydia. Damn you, gingerism!
posted by h00py at 2:23 AM on June 24, 2009


I'd take Ron over the Weasley twins any day. Oh, Ron. The cheer, the pout, the gangliness! *swoons*

I too love the redheads. But I don't think it's about a fixation with the exotic - mostly it's just the colour contrast, it fires my synapses. So dark/bright hair and pale skin always slays me, whatever the palette.

I think the original question was pointing out that people like to be involved, and debating the hair colour of the baby-to-be is one way of declaring a stake in the happy event. In the UK, red hair is one of those aspects of appearance which is likely to provoke comment, both positive and negative. It's ridiculous (and tiresome for redheads), but it's prevalent.
posted by freya_lamb at 3:10 AM on June 24, 2009


There's only one of Ron, though.
posted by Juliet Banana at 6:49 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


GASP. I just found out James and Oliver Phelps (the Weasley twins) actually have naturally brown hair. SCANDAL. And not as hot.
posted by Juliet Banana at 6:56 AM on June 24, 2009


Well, the Americans might be learning about British anti-ginger racism but I am learning that firecrotch is a generic description of someone with ginger pubes. I thought it was invented specifically for LiLo because her vag was raw and infected or something.
posted by ninebelow at 7:07 AM on June 24, 2009


Redheads are, for the most part, seen as undesirable.

Good lord, really? Redheads are my kryptonite.


Fatally poisonous to you?
posted by biffa at 7:22 AM on June 24, 2009


One of the most attractive men I've ever known was 6'4, the whitest white, piercing icy-blue hooded eyes, and ginger. A true viking specimen who grew his thick, heavy locks to the middle of his back and wore a rich, neatly-kept beard.
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 7:46 AM on June 24, 2009


Heyho May I point you to this?
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:24 AM on June 24, 2009


It's not twincest unless the balls touch.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:41 AM on June 24, 2009


Redheads are, for the most part, seen as undesirable.

Pfft. I have bright copper-red hair that I dye darker partly because I was sick of redhead fetishists who wanted to make me lucky Redhead Girlfriend #12. And I might be genetically programmed to carry my ginger genes on to my brood, but I defy a straight lady with a taste for lean British men to say they wouldn't want to count the freckles on Paul Bettany's flat stomach. Sigh.


Oh, Paul. We're so misunderstood.
posted by zoomorphic at 8:49 AM on June 24, 2009


*swoons*
posted by fish tick at 8:52 AM on June 24, 2009


THIS THREAD IS KILLING ME INSIDE!

...because it's only 11:30 and I still have like, 5 hours before I can go home and seriously ponder Paul Bettany's delightfully charming freckles...
posted by muddgirl at 9:29 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


You are all creepy racists, with your weird racist fetishes. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED.



Hah. Paul Bettany is right up there on my laminated om nom nom list.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:12 AM on June 24, 2009


Paul Bettany is right up there on my laminated om nom nom list.

His butt is in A Knights Tale.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:25 AM on June 24, 2009


In Germany, red-haired girls are teased with "Rostiges Dach, feuchter Keller" (rusty roof, moist basement). Kind of disgusting, but I don't think there's any ginger-ism behind it, because there's sayings like this for basically all types and shapes of women...
posted by The Toad at 1:49 PM on June 24, 2009


Men so pale they glow in the dark? Hell-ass yes.

I've never been able to figure out the source of my personal double standard here, but word. I think women with warm-toned skin are gorgeous, and pale women are really not my thang. But when it comes to dudes, give me the pastiest one you can find and my heart will start racing. This is one reason I have the hots for Bob Odenkirk. My boyfriend glows in the dark and I love it.

All the usual "OMG I wanna do a redhead!" drool-y comments here make me wanna ring up my dude, come to think of it. He knows black-haired girls are where it's at, always and forever. I s'pose we are each other's dreams, heh.
posted by ifjuly at 2:03 PM on June 24, 2009


One of the most attractive men I've ever known was 6'4, the whitest white, piercing icy-blue hooded eyes, and ginger. A true viking specimen who grew his thick, heavy locks to the middle of his back and wore a rich, neatly-kept beard.

I'll be in my bunk.
posted by deborah at 3:35 PM on June 24, 2009


(rusty roof, moist basement)

YOUR WHAT!?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:37 PM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


hellboundforcheddar: how can I get this man my phone number?
posted by hippybear at 3:39 PM on June 24, 2009


argh. this thread is really making me want to hit the bottle again.

/better red than dead 4evah!!!!111!!1
posted by supermedusa at 6:38 PM on June 24, 2009


The Toad: ...there's sayings like this for basically all types and shapes of women...

Such as...? I'm learning German, and I'm curious.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 8:53 PM on June 24, 2009


What's really weird about the British ginger-bias is that it doesn't seem to be connected to anything.

I've seen a few too many British historical cartoons caricaturing the Mick as an ape to believe that.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:11 PM on June 24, 2009


As a brunette of unexciting ancestry, I'm feeling left out right now. Anybody dig funny accents? No? That's the closest thing to exotic I have to offer.

What's up with this firecrotch = redhead usage I've only recently noticed? I had always heard it as an STD-related insult, you know, burning with urination, that sort of thing.
posted by little e at 10:01 PM on June 24, 2009


I'm not a redhead but I'm in the neighborhood, with sandy blonde hair and tons of freckles and a red beard. Something that probably flies under the radar of most people is the stereotype of the redheaded (or merely freckled) character in movies. It's always the bad guy, generally the bad, bratty kid in school. If you need an ugly character role filled, Hollywood uses redheads with lots of freckles. Or rather, flaming redheads are always bad guys. Redheaded girls and women, though, seem to get the opposite treatment; they're, IMHO, portrayed as rare, unusual beauties. But redheaded boys get the shit end of the stick.
posted by zardoz at 10:57 PM on June 24, 2009


If this had been posted to Ask, what would have been marked as best answer?
posted by unmake at 12:02 AM on June 25, 2009


the littlest brussels sprout, here's another one: "Alte Scheunen brennen gut." (Old barns burn well). Which is somewhat related to "Auf alten Stuten lernt man reiten" (I guess you can translate that one yourself, suffice it to say that Stuten are female horses!).

Another one on redhaired people, though: "Rote Haare, Sommersprossen, sind des Teufels Volksgenossen" (Red hair and freckles are friends of the devil). Although there's also a sexualized variant for that one, which is more common today: "...die besten Bettgenossen" (the best people to go to bed with.)
posted by The Toad at 1:41 AM on June 25, 2009


My FIL often recites while driving:

Slow down for brunettes, stop for blondes, ... but back up for redheads.

He married a ginger.
posted by saucysault at 7:24 AM on June 25, 2009


Wolverine is a big old hooer
posted by Artw at 7:48 AM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Something that probably flies under the radar of most people is the stereotype of the redheaded (or merely freckled) character in movies. It's always the bad guy, generally the bad, bratty kid in school.

Don't forget "incorrigible girl orphan who would rather not be called Ann" and "goody-goody 1950s teenager with a bunch of annoying friends"
posted by Sys Rq at 11:42 AM on June 25, 2009



What's really weird about the British ginger-bias is that it doesn't seem to be connected to anything.


Mick Hucknall
posted by minifigs at 1:32 PM on June 25, 2009


Mick Hucknall

Well, if you ever wanted to put together a rock-hard case for genocide that would be a good place to start, that's all I'm saying.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on June 25, 2009


I looove red-headed men - all shades. Especially pale with freckles.

That is all.
posted by echolalia67 at 6:54 AM on June 26, 2009


Well, as a ex-auburn haired chappie whose friends would call him "Redbeard" (for a perfectly good reason), I must say I've kept it in the genes as my squeeze is strawberry.

Of course, I could be coarser and just say I love the taste of ginger...

ducks
posted by Samizdata at 9:34 AM on June 28, 2009


(Oddly enogh, that is true without the lewd suggestion. Acquired the taste after dealing with an ulcer.)
posted by Samizdata at 9:36 AM on June 28, 2009


I, too, love the taste of ginger ducks.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:45 AM on June 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


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