What’s wrong with having red hair?

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When did red hair become wrong?

Prince Harry. I think he’s rather cute.

What’s wrong with having red hair? Truly, I want to know. In recent years, this has become something of a prejudice – since when did people start discriminating against people with lovely red locks?

Of course,I’m biased. My maternal grandmother had red hair so therefore I, and four of my cousins, also do. So why is it now subject to phrases like ‘the red-haired stepchild’? (Meaning an outsider,or someone who is treated in an inferior fashion).

As far as I can see, there are only two minor disadvantages and the advantages far outweigh them. The first is that you’re very noticeable in a crowd.

Let’s say, to use a handy example, that you and a bunch of schoolfriend are creating some sort of mayhem. A teacher appears and the children scatter far and wide.

The teacher can’t really identify the children with their mousy hair – they all look alike from a distance – but a redhead is immediately noticeable and it’s her who gets into trouble. (I speak with feeling).

Then of course there are the ‘you must be the milkman’s’ comments. Seeing a family with a blond set of parents and blond children, when a redhead is noticed in the family group there are likely to be nudge-nudge-wink-wink comments about the child’s exact parentage.

Ask Prince Harry. He has been believed to be the child of Diana’s lover James Hewitt for many years. And this is despite the fact that the couple didn’t meet and embark upon their relationship until after Harry was born. But it’s that red hair,you see…

Then of course, when you are a grown up girl, there are those questions about whether your ‘collar and cuffs’ match but this is a family show so we’ll leave that one alone.

But today it seems, children and teenagers get teased and picked on if they have red hair. Why is that? It never used to happen. We were called ‘carrots’, copperknob’ and ‘ginner’ but I’ve been called  lot worse over the years. Is it that we account for only two percent of the population and people are jealous that we don’t have to dye our hair and keep the roots looking natural?


Me. Proud redhead.

And it’s not that redheads aren’t attractive. Look at Rita Hayworth, Susan Hayward, Lucille Ball,Katherine Hepburn, Deborah Kerr and many more.

However, I’ve always liked this quote from Jeeves (as written by P.G. Wodehouse) when ‘the young master’ Bertie is contemplating marriage with a copperknob:

“I would always hesitate to recommend as a life’s companion a young lady with quite such a vivid shade of red hair. Red hair, sir, in my opinion, is dangerous.”

It’s not true, but I’d like to think it is.








Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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