Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Red Hair - it's a blessing, not a curse!

my niece Emma

I recently saw a whole family of redheads at Costco.  A redheaded mom, a redheaded dad, and four little redheads either in or hanging onto the outside of the cart. Did you know that two redheaded parents can only produce redheaded offspring? (Think of Gregor Mendel and his pea plants.)

I love red hair. I think it's beautiful. Apparently not everyone agrees with me. It's really popular right now to refer to a redhead as a "ginger." Do most Americans  know that in England, where it originated, this term is often used in a derogatory manner? In England, redheads seem to be targeted more often than others for bullying and abuse and even hate crimes. Hate crimes. How crazy is that? People even talk about "gingerism" like they do "racism." I read about a family of redheads who were driven out of two British neighborhoods after being abused and bullied simply because of their red hair. They actually had to move. Twice

I've seen a poster depicting a redheaded child and containing text about "finding a cure." I suspect it was produced by the British.

Prejudice against redheads. Ha. I think it's more like jealousy. Red hair is so beautiful.  And it's rare. That should make it extra valuable, right? Only one to two per cent of people in the world have red hair. Two to six per cent in America. We're rich in redheads.

I love all shades of red, from strawberry blond to auburn. When I see a girl with red hair, I always tell her how much I love her hair color. (I don't bother with boys. They'd think it was weird. And yes, I've become like my mother as I've gotten older. I have no problem striking up a conversation with a complete stranger. )

I've always thought it would be fun to have red hair. I could dye it, but dyed red hair never looks quite natural. It's pretty, but not as pretty as the real thing. 

I wish I could have the real thing.

I have twin redheaded nieces.  They love their red hair and so do I.  I was talking to one of them, Emma, about her red hair one day.

"So what are you going to do if your hair fades as you get older?" I asked her. Often red hair does fade with age to more of a brown. "If you have to dye it, it won't look the same."

"Oh I already have a plan for that," she said without missing a beat. It was evident that she really had thought about this.

"I'm going to grow it out, cut it off, and have a wig made."


And maybe, just maybe, she'll let me borrow it once in a while. 

Beth and Emma as one-year-olds


  1. I love this post! I LOVE my hair and when I hear stories of women who's hair change when they get pregnant, it makes me so sad. I might have to borrow your niece's idea about the wig in case that happens to me

  2. Redheads rock!