The least commented upon, it is the last bastion of social prejudice.  What is it about the redheaded that causes grown men to flee and mothers to whisper warnings to their children?

Consider the standard myths.  If popular superstition is to believed, all redheads are guilty of intemperance.  Like the mark of Cain, the firey hair and luminescent skin signal the onlooker that the bearer is not normal and should be avoided.  Freckles are a contagion, a sure sign that the wearer has been disfavored and is league with sinister forces bent on destroying the placid lives of God-fearing men.

Case in point:  the Evil Seductress.  Beware her luscious curves and flashing eyes because she has only your demise in mind.  Beneath her mop of red hair, she’s plotting to take over the world and enslave the virtuous.  Even Batman couldn’t help but fall under the spell of Poison Ivy, a redhead so dangerously sexy that her very touch drove men mad.

In a category by itself is the Irritable Harpy, the angry and unpredictable redhead who’s not afraid of a fight.  She’ll call your bluff and force you to prove your point, even at gunpoint.   Not your average shrinking violet, this vixen refuses to comply with male dominance and takes her own stand.  She is a poster child for all things bad and a warning to men that there are pockets of resistance.  Infiltrating her cell might more difficult because she’s not easily persuaded by promises of money, monogamy or multiple orgasm.  She knows that vows made under duress are never kept.

Less threatening but equally offensive is the Friendly Oddity, beloved by kids and dismissed by adults.  These cute icons have been declawed and pasteurized for public consumption.  What could be more cuddly than Raggedy Ann? Or as poignant as Orphan Annie, a wretch abandoned by her dismayed parents and rendered powerless by the plucking out of her eyes?  Happy is the child who can snuggle with the devil reimagined. 

There are few things more hilarious than the red fright wig of a circus clown.  Along with oversized shoes and bulbous nose, he is a harmless caricature designed for amusement. But kids will not be fooled.  They understand that although it’s possible to camouflage a redhead, its intention cannot be concealed.   Fear runs deep; perhaps parents should think twice before decorating Junior’s nursery with a Bozo motif. 

Aside from the perpetual myth mongering, the fear could be linked to rarity. The strange and unusual have always garnered attention.  Redheads comprise less than 10% of world population and their numbers are dwindling.  Because of global migration and intermarriage, the gene is slowly being buried.  Not an unwelcome prospect, judging from the unchecked stereotyping. 

How then is the redhead to improve her profile?  Millenia of sidelining isn’t easy to overcome.  Even a country as allegedly tolerant as the US has had only one redhaired Miss America.  The aptly named Venus Ramey, the 1944 crown holder, had more than paparazzi to contend with during her reign.  The contest commission was flooded with angry letters demanding that she resign.  Who wants the flower of female virtue represented by a harlot?  She held her ground and served her term of office, but the commission learned a valuable lesson.  Redheads enrage the public.

And irk other entities as well.  Internet dating sites and professional matchmaking services have more difficulty placing redheads which has fostered a new hair-specific underground of forums and meeting sites.  Imagine the apprehension of the rookie visitor, peeking in on this forbidden world… Will he come away surprised and awed by what he witnesses, or will he run and hide?

A man takes on the world when he takes on a redhead.  It’s not the charms of the lady herself that may force him question his decision, but the expectations.


5 Responses to “NO REDHEADS, PLEASE”

  1. Thanks, doll!

  2. I have been a redhead for a while, a long time ago, and I liked it. Maybe it’s different when you are an original instead of a dyed one.

  3. what’s wrong with being unique. who wants to walk around looking like every other person.

    i’m a woman and i am a natural redhead and the more i read up on the history of redheads and the more i look upon beautiful redhaired women such as lauren ambrose, nicole kidman. julianne moore and others, the more i love being a redhead and the more i read about the history of redheads, the more i love it.

    hey, marilyn monroe and cleopatra were redheads…

  4. Nice post u have here 😀 Added to my RSS reader

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