Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Quirky Redhead

A friend of mine was in a play recently, and she played the part of the "quirky girlfriend." The director asked her to dye her hair red for the role.

I, of course, was offended. Not just because of this particular request, but because it seems like in all things show business, the part of the "quirky girlfriend" is portrayed by a redhead. Watch a movie, and you'll notice this too. If it's not the quirky girlfriend, then it's the sultry vixen, evil mistress, or the psycho, who struts around with big red hair.

I first noticed this sometime in middle school, when that Brooke Shields TV show, Suddenly Susan, was on the air Wasn't it Kathi Griffin who played Brooke's BFF? And she was insane, quirky, AND slutty? Admittedly, she was really funny as a character, but she would have been equally funny as a blonde or brunette. I also saw 27 Dresses recently (I was nursing a sick friend back to health with bad movies and matzoh ball soup) and the slutty, quirky BFF, was a redhead.

Of course, the wacky characters are always redheads, but then again, so are a lot of strong, independent passionate characters in literature and Hollywood. There's Jo March in Little Women and the Weasleys in Harry Potter. When Renee Zellweger in Down with Love turns from meak to strong, she dyes her hair red. There's always Princess Fiona from Shrek and Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

And of course, Queen Elizabeth I, in real life.

I wonder where this stereotype came from? And I wonder if I sometimes follow it because it's true or because it's very annoying to have all such traits blamed on my hair color.

Since I turned 30, however, my red hair has begun to fade a little. It burns brightly golden red in the sunlight, but sometimes in the dark, it looks almost brown .with blonde highlights The idea of being a brunette makes my stomach turn.

I mean no pains to my brunette friends, but being a redhead is so much a part of my identity that having someone tell me I have brown hair makes me want to punch them.

Maybe I should just punch them. Then they would see, obviously, since my temper is as such, I am most certainly a natural redhead.

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