Wednesday 31 December 2008

Student's poem about her exposure to gingerism

Bubbles, a high school student from Wallasey elaborates on the red head bullying she experiences at school.

It's a hair colour,
That's a fact.
On other people,
It's a big impact.

Love thy neighbours,
God once said.
Name calling still happens,
Hey red head.

Getting bullied,
Oh the shame.
Then you realise,
It's only a name.

Turned the colour,
Of my hair.
Talk behind my back,
It's not fair.

Hey Ginge,
People shout.
Others stare,
As you walk about.

What's wrong with that?
You cover it up,
By wearing a hat.

We all have different,
Hairstyles and colours.
So why respect one,
Less than all the others?

Tuesday 30 December 2008

"Fanta pants" in the running for Macquarie Dictionary's 2008 word of the year

From Herald Sun:

REDHEADS are in for a tough time if "fanta pants" wins Macquarie Dictionary's 2008 word of the year.

Macquarie defines it as a colloquial term for a natural redhead: "From the orange-coloured soft drink + pants, with reference to pubic hair as indicator of hair colour."

Read more

Noel Gallagher vs Mick Hucknall with a tinge of gingerism

This open note from Noel Gallagher was apparently addressed to Mick Hucknall as a direct response to Oasis-targeted insults by Mick.
You still going? Wow.

The last time I heard of you, Fanta-pants, you were getting slung out of Knebworth for being s*** and fat.

What you have to say about Manchester and its righteous natives is irrelevant as you are from Warrington.
Read more

Summer Heights High: Punking Rangas

Jonah and his friends are in trouble for calling another pupil a Ranga:

The comedy was one of my favourites when it was shown on BBC iPlayer earlier this year. You can grab the DVD at (UK), (UK) and (US).

European Neanderthals had ginger hair and freckles

An interesting, though gingerism-free article from The Telegraph:

In a major breakthrough, Spanish scientists have discovered the blood group and two other genes of the early humans who lived 43,000 ago.

After analysing the fossil bones found in a cave in north-west Spain, the experts concluded they had human blood group "O" and were genetically more likely to be fair skinned, perhaps even with freckles, have red or ginger hair and could talk.

Read more

School hair policy article plays on gingerism

In a move typical for tabloids, it has been insinuated that gingerism is to blame in the following report by The Hounslow Chronicle:

A schoolboy was sent home on his first day back at school - for having a one-inch ginger fringe.

Felix Kramer, 15, had been back at Isleworth and Syon School for Boys for less than an hour on September 5, before getting booted out - even though his brown hair was not dyed, it was simply bleached ginger by the sun.

The GCSE student said: "I was shocked as my hair goes like this every year, but they said it wasn't acceptable.

"My dad was quite angry about it and said I should get the school to pay for my haircut."

Since it's usually school policy to not allow dyed or elaborate hair cuts, I'm going to assume what the school actually objected to was the perceived dying of his hair. Not, in fact that he was partially ginger.

Felix, if you read this please let us know in the comments.

Tuesday 23 December 2008

2000 npower advertisement contained blatant gingerism

This advert was used in a 2000 campaign by Midlands based energy company nPower. The campaign caused hundreds of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (A.S.A).

This advert was used in a 2000 campaign by Midlands based energy company nPower. The campaign caused hundreds of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (A.S.A).

From the BBC:

The Advertising Standards Authority is considering criticism of an advert for npower featuring a ginger-haired family beside the slogan: "There are some things in life you can't choose". A spokesman for the company said it had not meant to offend redheads, but was merely trying to use humour to show that people could change their gas supplier.

Read more here and here.

The A.S.A considered the 219 complaints as "not justified" as can be seen in their 2000 Annual Report:
Complainants objected that this national press advertisement was offensive to people with red hair, who, they believed, already suffered abuse and stereotyping. The Authority considered that the light- hearted humour of the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence

Bizarre medical article links menstruation problems with red head births

This is a particularly strange article written by Dawn Starin, an anthropologist at UCL. The main focus is the apparent link between menstruation problems and the birth of a red headed child.
Apparently, women with red hair have an increased risk of endometriosis; experts guess that the gene determining red hair might be located near other genes that make women susceptible to endometriosis. And what are the problems associated with endometriosis? Abnormally difficult or painful menstruation, menstrual disturbances and infertility and of course premenstrual tension leading to "witch-like" symptoms.
Special attention is also given to the global prejudice against red heads, including this interesting snippet.
In Corsica, the home of the redheaded Emperor Nero, if you pass a redhead on the street you spit and turn around claims Sylvia Stevez, the founder of Association Francaise des Rousses, a red-headed liberation movement.
The article also dips into folklore and the ancient prejudice which has metamorphosed into the gingerism we see today.
Think back, way back to biblical times. Remember Judas, the red haired, red bearded, ultimate betrayer? Or, Mary Magdalene, the redheaded "reformed prostitute"? The ancient evil Egyptian God of chaos and storms, Seth, was another famous red-head. Throughout history and across continents redheads have often been viewed as "others" or witches, not quite human.
Final interest can be given to the impact of gingerism in very recent British history.
These past few years have not been good ones for British redheads. First, Frank Dobson, the London mayoral candidate, told a press conference his mother warned him "to steer clear of redheads". Then, an advertisement campaign staged for NPower, a British utility company, implied that redheads were a sorry lot. Redheads were up in arms. So much so that The Advertising Standards Authority made NPower remove their ads. (Ed: actually, the npower ads were not removed.) And then, Neil Kinnock suggested it might be disadvantageous to be a ginga if you wanted to be prime minister. Of course, he lost the election.
Read more

Side note: If anyone can obtain more information about Association Francaise des Rousses (in English: French Association of the Red Ones), could you please post your findings in the comments.

Sunday 21 December 2008

Red head temperament stereotype considered reality

Another Sun Sports article:

Frail knows Stewart has to calm down, but believes his hair colour doesn’t help him. Fellow red-head Frail said: “Michael is a passionate player but I don’t think he is a dirty player.

“He has a fiery temperament and maybe that is something he’ll have to curb. But that’s easier said than done — maybe the red hair is a factor in it.

“A lot of red-heads do have a fiery temper — I was a bit like that myself on the pitch when I was younger, and it might just be in Michael’s make-up to fight everyone’s battles.

Read more

Gingerism spotted on Wikipedia

This isn't so much news as a general observation. On the disambiguation page for the term Ginger you will find some South Park influenced gingerism.

Ginger Kids Ginger kids are kids that suffer from a disease called Ginger-vitis. It is a disease that people are born with that causes ones hair to be a reddish ordange and it also causes them to have freckles. We still cannot find a cure.
Also interesting is the correct definition for the word:
A derogatory term for a person with red hair, freckles and pale skin.
View the page

Recognition of red head prejudice by Nottingham Forest Manager

Colin Calderwood via The Times:

Delighted Calderwood said of the goal: “It was a sublime bit of vision.

“Their goalkeeper had come off his line a few times to act as a sweeper, and Joe had obviously cottoned on to that.

“I knew as soon as the ball left his foot it was heading for the top corner, and if you saw that goal scored in La Liga, everybody would be talking about it.

“Because it came from a spotty ginger-haired striker who plays for Forest, it will probably not get that much attention.”
Read more

Seeing red over ginger bullying

Irish Times writes:
Prof Diane Negra at the University of East Anglia feels the current upsurge in attacks on redheads is not uncommon at a time of economic tightening.

"Often during recession you have a pronounced rise in discriminatory crime, and this all strikes me as another manifestation of that trend," she says. "Red hair is an interesting one though, because it works in very different ways depending on what culture you're in. The way redheads are treated in the US, for instance, is very different to the way they might be treated in the UK or Ireland. In Britain, the attitude is very negative, in Ireland it is more mixed, while in the US it is a very positive thing right now to have red hair, and even has an erotic sexuality attached to it."
Primary school teacher Aoife O'Donnell says kids can be very aware of hair colour from a young age. In her current class of 19, only two pupils have red hair, and while teachers are far more conscious of bullying and name calling, she thinks redheads still get a raw deal.

"I think name-calling because of hair colour is somehow seen as less harsh," she says. "The dictionary we use has evolved in other respects such as ethnic origins and so on, but that doesn't seem to be the case with redheads. The names I would have heard in my schooldays are the same ones being used presently."
Read more

Friday 19 December 2008

Sorry Ranga Day promotion for Summer Heights High

The Australian comedy Summer Heights High (by Chris Lilley) ran an online campaign to promote the DVD release of the series.

The promotion encouraged the marking of a Sorry Ranga Day, earmarked for August 10th 2008.


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.

The Ginger Generation, Blood-Nut, Ginger Megs, Bluey, Carrot Top, Ginga, Freckly Arms...and Ranga. The hatred has to stop!

Red-haired people across Australia have been unfavourably compared to orang-utans since Summer Heights High first aired across Australian television screens in 2007. 'Ranga' is now firmly entrenched in the vocabulary of ordinary people all over this country.

So join the Australian nation on Sunday August 10th 2008, and let a Ranga know that you are sorry.

The comedy was one of my favourites when it was shown on BBC iPlayer earlier this year. You can grab the DVD at (UK), (UK) and (US).

Thursday 18 December 2008

Gingerism from the mouth of Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy writes:
Someone with ginger hair is never going to be taken seriously.
Read more

Red hair categorised as a 'medical condition'

Ginger writes:
The other day I was looking for information about a category of genetic variants called SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms i.e. variation of a single 'letter' in the DNA code of a gene). In my hunt, I stumbled across SNPedia, which provided me with the information I needed.

Having a further look around the site, I found references to SNPs in the genes that contribute to red hair. It was at this point that I discovered that 'red hair' is categorised, alongside cancers, mental health problems and heart disease, as a 'medical condition'.
View the post

Catherine Tate interview on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross

Although I'd like to only cover current news, I figured a couple of classic Catherine Tate videos this close to Christmas wouldn't hurt. So here we go, starting with being ginger likened to a prolapsed anus.

Catherine Tate: Ginger Refuge

Sandra is forced into a refuge because of the colour of her hair.

Friday 12 December 2008

Rangas see red over insulting nickname

From Brisbane Times:

Sticks and stones may break bones but names like 'Pom' and 'Ranga' can be just as injurious, according to some on the receiving end of the common taunts.

In fact, so strongly do some British and ginger-haired Australians feel, they have petitioned to have the terms removed from the Macquarie Dictionary.


As for redheads, Ms Butler said Australians terms like 'Ranga' - popularised by the ABC comedy series Summer Height's High - were far less malicious than some used in places like northern England, where attacks against "Gingerism" had led to actual violence.

The practice has also spread across the Atlantic, with a Canadian group created on social networking site Facebook declaring National Kick a Ginger Day in late November which attracted more than 5000 members.

Read more

Hug a Ginger Day Promoted on Facebook [Update]

Last month we reported on National Kick a Ginger Day, promoted via popular social networking site, Facebook.

This month we have discovered the proliferation of support for Hug a Ginger Day, a direct response to last month's South Park influenced attack against red heads.

December 19th 2008 has been earmarked for the day. The Hug a Ginger Day Facebook event currently has 160,672 confirmed attendees at the time of writing.

Update: It seems the event has now been removed.