Thursday 19 February 2009

Red head stereotypes enhance advertising

Australian advertising agencies are apparently taking advantage of the stereotypes associated with red heads and using ginger children in marketing campaigns.

Mostly Kids Model Agency and Academy owner Liz Philippou said consumers were led to believe redheads depict "certain individuality, fiery temper traits, sharp tongues, determination and mischievousness".

"When an advertising campaign features a redheaded child, it sends a message of that same determination," she said.

"(It) catches the eye and holds you, pondering the possibility of the redhead being an absolute little devil, and then considering the product they're associated with."

Advertisers cash in on redhead appeal

Root Ginger exhibition review

The Evening Standard has the first review of Root Ginger, the exhibition by Jenny Wicks running now and up to 1st March 2009.

Making a mockery of the term “redhead”, the palette forms a glorious autumnal swatch, while the distribution of pigment is fascinating: sometimes, a single tone appears to have leached from hair into skin and gathered in small puddles as freckles.

Walking among these portraits has the air of a scientific sampling, like a Victorian survey. And in some ways it is; Wicks’s fascination is as much with the journey of the ginger gene as with photography as art — and that element is just as striking as the show’s value as an exquisite portrait collection.
Read the review

Will gingers become extinct?

Retired professor John Brock takes a lighthearted look at the widely held belief that red heads will soon be extinct.
As genetic science progressed with the deciphering of the human genome (whatever that is), modern scientists now doubt that red hair is on the way out. But Oxford Hair Foundation declared a few years ago that redheads were headed for the way of the dinosaurs. Their conclusion lost some of its steam when it was finally revealed that the group was funded by Procter & Gamble — a major purveyor of hair dye.
Source: The Post and Courier

Being ginger's been the making of us

Ann McFerran discusses the gingerism her children have encountered throughout their lives and how they feel about being red heads today. Particularly interesting is the distinctive difference between Canadian and British reactions to red hair.

When we returned to the UK, there wasn't much let-up, only instead of admiration, those who stared and shouted names at my son because of his hair were mostly other children. Copper knob, ginger nut, carrot top, Duracell, ginger ninja; the names were not particularly inventive and, with the exception of the latter, didn't seem to have changed since I was a child. “I was probably oversensitive to the names,” admits Patrick, 30.

I now think that I wasn't sensitive enough to my son or aware enough of the kind of routine bullying that is regularly meted out to gingers, and particularly to young gingers whose hair colour is at its most extreme. I may even have exacerbated the problem: I thought my son's hair was such a spectacular colour that I let it grow quite long to show it off.

Source: Times Online

A ginger Prime Minister?

Writer Anne McElvoy pontificates on a week of news and spares a thought for gingerism, prompted by the opening of Jenny Wicks' Root Ginger exhibition.
Red hair gets the praise it deserves in a new exhibition devoted to gingerism. I am unsure as to what qualifies, having faded to something you might politely call strawberry blonde, or what my son described as "dirty light brown", down the years. But you never really forget early years' membership of the ginger club with the pleasure of standing out in a crowd. Or the pain of being too strikingly visible to teachers looking for someone to blame. Catherine Tate, Simon Heffer, Mick Hucknall and Tilda Swinton, you know what I mean. But can we yet envisage a ginger Prime Minister?
Source: Evening Standard

He's ginger, he would melt

Jimmy Carr on Prince Harry going to Basra.

Thanks to reader Phillip Parr for reporting this.

Sunday 15 February 2009

Root Ginger Exhibition receives wide coverage

The Root Ginger Exhibition, due to open Tuesday 17th February has received wide coverage by the British press this week. The BBC hosted a discussion of gingerism with psychologist Anjula Mutanda and Root Ginger model and poet Richard Tyrone Jones. Most poignant in the discussion is Anjula Mutanda's strongly emphasized opinion of the existence of gingerism.
The fact is, if it hurts somebody's feelings and it's discriminating against them, making them feel bad about themselves, then it has to stop and not be seen as innocuous.
Secondly, the Daily Mail have covered the event, with many photographic examples from the exhibition and quotes from the models, including the following:
I had to grow fast as my mother's reaction to being told her first born was a ginger was to weep uncontrollably.
The quote reminds me of my own mother, who once told me "I didn't like ginger hair until you were born."

Friday 13 February 2009

National Adoption Society: Does child carry red hair gene?

An official National Adoption Society form asked if the child considered for adoption carried the recessive gene that causes red hair. The form, used as late as 1976 asked "Is there any red hair in the family?".

The question is found within a section of the form detailing the child's appearance and personality and is below a separate question asking for the hair colour of the child.

The National Adoption Society operated from London and closed in 1986.

Thursday 12 February 2009

Max Barry on gingerism

Australian author Max Barry recounts the offense he caused to his brother by publishing a gingerism fuelled article late last year.
I got into big trouble with my brother for that anti-ginger blog. “You’re just like Hitler,” he said, or might as well have. “It’s not 1935, you know. Demonizing people for aspects of their appearance they can’t control: we’re not doing that any more.”

“Steady on,” I protested. “It was just harmless good fun. Besides, the point was I’m a ginger when I grow a moustache. That’s what made it funny.”

“I suppose you think Auschwitz would have been fine, if only Hitler was Jewish,” my brother argued, more or less. “I suppose you think it would have been hilarious.”

Read more: The Dark Moustache of the Soul

Youth Unlimited Magazine on ginger phobia

The UK has one of the highest population percentages of redheads in the world, but words like ‘ginger’ and ‘ginga’ still roll off the tongue towards those gifted with this follicle rarity. Is it all just a bit of red-blooded fun or has Britain got ginger phobia?

The persecution of those with red, auburn or ginger hair is not a modern condition and has persisted throughout history and around the world. Just as often as redheads have been discriminated against they have also been upheld and praised. Socially, redheads have been stereotyped as being fiery, hot tempered and overtly sexual, and although it is clear that the way we act is not attributed to hair colour, history’s most famous ‘gingers’ have helped to promote these ideas.

As early as the ancient Egyptians there is evidence of Cleopatra dying her hair red, continuing to impress redheaded stereotypes upon all those aware of her volatile nature and political prowess. A more recent and recognisable redhead is our own home grown Queen Elizabeth I who popularised red hair throughout 16th Century Britain. Even modern media has been affected by the recent influx of redheaded style icons such as Lily Cole, Axl Rose and Nicola Roberts inspiring people across the world to reach for the dye bottle.

However, whilst many famous redheads have inspired us, the everyday redhead on the street still faces some ridiculous and shocking challenges. In 2003 a 20 year old was stabbed in the back for being ‘ginger’ and in 2007 a family of redheads in Newcastle were forced to move home after being targeted by neighbours for their hair colour. In a world preoccupied with political correctness and protecting the rights of people regardless of race, age or size, it is shocking to see a form of discrimination such as this overlooked by organisations like the Commission for Racial Equality, even though most people with red hair will experience anything from timid taunts to full blown violence throughout their lifetime.

The question is why are people with red hair targeted? The simple truth is that only 1 to 2% of the population is born with red hair, making them a minority. Throughout history society has victimised minorities. In other words, we, on a subconscious level, fear what is different and will victimise those who are different in any way to make ourselves feel better. As well as this, the victimisation and discrimination of redheads is still a crime largely beyond the reach of the law and until such time as it is recognised as unacceptable it will continue to be an issue.

Hate shouldn’t be a follicle matter and only we can stand up for the rights of those different to us, not just redheads but anyone who is born a little different to the norm - and isn’t everyone in their own way a little different? If we were all the same life would be horrifically boring so why not praise the differences between us? Red hair is rare and beautiful and anyone who targets those with it are most likely expressing a form of jealousy or, at the very least, showing that they have low self esteem that can only be improved by attempting to bring others down. So next time you go to use the ‘G’ word ask yourself, have I got ginger phobia?

Amy Solman

Download the full edition

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Subconscious red head prejudice dismissed

Times Online writer no such bias, incidentally, exists towards Aussies or ginger-nuts."
Imagine if you could never be quite sure if the girl in accounts gave you the brush-off, not because she didn't fancy you, but because of subliminal prejudice. Imagine if there was a 300-year history in which racist words had been used to persecute your ancestors. Wouldn't you want society to take a stand against all that?
It could be argued that gingerism fits within the above boundaries, and therefore, is comparable to today's levels of racism. As for the 300-year historical use of racist words? For gingerism, 300 years is just a recent history.

Source: Times Online

Sunday 8 February 2009

Katy Perry's ginger sister

Katy Perry's parents sent some embarrassing childhood photos to CBS. To soften the blow and share some of the embarrassment, Katy has posted a photo of her ginger sister on her official blog, accompanied with the following text:


My parents approved the most redick family fotos and sent them into CBS without thinking about it or asking what I thought about it. You can imagine as I am sitting there watching the tv, hands over face… mortified. Thank you mom and dad… at the old age of 24 you continue to succeed in making my face red. I would have sent in more of my pageant photos of course… but… what fun would that be? I love to play a wonderful game of YOUR TEAM. And this a is great YOUR TEAM. (basically you put a bunch of iidjiiots on your friends team so they are just totally impaired in life :) I wanna your team all my fans with a photo of my HOT GINGE sister, Angela. Wow. look at that tender mess.

We’re sorry all the gingers are going extinct. We salute you for you braveness of being a ginge.

p.s. she’s gonna kill me when she wakes up and finds the spreading of the ginge foto all over the www.
Katy Perry's Blog Post

About as popular as a ginger stepson

Football banter seems to be a common source of gingerism.
I won't spoil it by giving too much away but I can spare a few lines to have yet another good laugh at the Spuds. Harry the wicked twitch of the east has bought back all of the players that had them in the unchartered waters and dizzy heights of mid table at far more than they sold for with the exception of Keane (about as popular as a ginger stepson).
Source: Sky Sports

Tuesday 3 February 2009

BBC Radio 4 Broadcasts Gingerism

This is an excellent example of how gingerism is so ingrained into today's society, that any offense from its use is totally unexpected.

Established and thoroughly middle class, the Today show on BBC Radio 4 is a well respected and trusted radio program in the United Kingdom. In this episode host Edward Stourton discusses the concept of a flawed literary masterpiece with guest novelists William Boyd and A.L. Kennedy.

The audio clip is extracted from point 02:25:45 of the Today show, originally broadcast on 30th January 2009.

Audio transcript follows:

ES: A.L. Kennedy, would you care to give us a couple of your favourite flawed masterpieces?
ALK: Yeah, and you have to bear in mind as Mr Boyd said, it is about love. I mean, you can fall in love with somebody with ginger hair and you never thought you would, but their ginger hair is different.
ES: I can almost hear the emails from ginger haired people coming in at this point.
ALK: As an example. I love ginger haired people myself.

Thank you to Gingerism reader Tom Allender for the heads up.

Love before ginger extinction?

It is now a commonly held belief that red heads will be extinct within 100 years. Aoife Finneran ponders the absence of ginger appreciation within our final years of existence.
THERE'S nothing like the threat of extinction for heightening our sense of appreciation. Isn't that why we welcomed Boyzone back with open arms and mounted a campaign to save Cadbury's Wispa from the grave?

Why then, am I still waiting for the redhead love-in, the mass hysterical display of affection that was supposed to follow the news that redheaded people are a dying breed? In less than 100 years, thanks to recessive genes, redheads could be reduced to a mere historical footnote. Considering we currently account for less than 2pc of the world's population, it wouldn't be that difficult to snuff us out.
Read more at Herald

Prince Harry dumped because he's ginger

One of the reasons Chelsy ended her relationship with Prince Harry was because he is ginger, according to columnist Robin Galloway.
For the record, Chelsy chucked Prince Harry because she was fed up with coming second to his lifestyle, his Army career and his snooty chums. Oh, and he’s ginger.
Source: The Scottish Sun

Gingerism ruins sex symbol aspiration

Tim Hayward, a writer at The Guardian has suggested the media's attempts to cast Tom Aikens as a sex symbol may have petered out because of gingerism.

Source: The Guardian

A cat named Fanta Pants

LUCKY little Fanta Pants is one effervescent cat. Despite having an amputated left hind leg and tail, this redhead can run around like the best of them.
Source: Herald Sun

Gordon Ramsay to Mario Batali: Fanta Pants

Gordon RamsayGordon Ramsay has been referring to Mario Batali as Fanta Pants since a feud erupted between the pair in the summer of 2007. The feud seems to have been caused by comments Batali made about Ramsay's food, describing it as dull and outdated, and claiming Gordon had no understanding of the importance of ingredients.

In retaliation, Ramsay refers to Mario Batali as Fanta Pants, an insult which Batali doesn't quite understand.

"Now he goes about town calling me Fanta Pants." What? Because you sometimes wear orange shorts? "I suppose."

Source: The Guardian

He must be a ginger nutcase

A Bolton Wanderers fan discusses his thoughts on manager Gary Megson:
What can anyone make of a manager who rants about his club's own supporters and criticises those who paid good money during a recession to watch their team – away from home – then sells the club captain two days later to relegation rivals?" our tame but trenchant Trotter asks. "He must be a ginger nutcase. What an embarrassment.
Source: The Guardian

Sunday 1 February 2009

Nobody Loves a Ginger Baby

Nobody Loves a Ginger BabyThe title of this book by Laura Marney, Nobody Loves a Ginger Baby catches the eye. Although the title of this book is indicative of gingerism, I'm reliably informed it contains little if any red head prejudice.

Read more at Amazon UK or US.