Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hair-Color-Profiling: A Serious Issue

That’s it. I can’t take it any more. I am sick and tired of being discriminated against and I am speaking out. It is time that we dealt with this serious issue of inequality towards people like me. People who are treated differently for how they look, people who are considered inferior, people who are constantly the butt of others’ rude jokes. People who are BLONDE. Being blonde is not a crime. Being blonde is a natural (well sometimes unnatural thanks to beauty products) condition caused by genetics (or chemicals…). Being blonde does not, despite popular belief, cause some kind of brain deficiency that leads to a state of unintelligence. Sure, I enjoy a good dumb blonde joke as much as anyone, but when that starts to be the actual perception of those lucky enough to have a head covered with sun beams turned into hair, then that is just too much. In school people have always been amazed, even shocked sometimes, when I tell them that I have never had below a 3.8 GPA. Why? Are they assuming that simply because my hair looks as if it is glowing with golden fairy dust that I can’t be intelligent? Then that’s just mean. Seriously. My hair can’t help what color it is and that has absolutely no influence on the capacity of my brain. According to the oh so accurate and reliable Wikipedia: “The blonde stereotype, the stereotypical perception of blond-haired women, has two aspects. On one hand, over history, blonde hair in women has been considered attractive and desirable. On the other hand, a blonde woman is often perceived as making little use of intelligence and as a "woman who relied on her looks rather than on intelligence." The latter stereotype of "dumb blonde" is exploited in blonde jokes.

Why do we have this stereotype of the dumb blonde? I shall tell you.


There are many different origins of this stereotype, but one in particular begins in France with a French courtesan named Rosalie Duthe. She was satirized in a play called “Les Curiosities de la Foire” (1775) in which they emphasized her habit of pausing a long time before speaking thus appearing, not only stupid, but literally dumb (as in, she couldn’t speak). Because this was well publicized, it became fashionable to think of blonde women as witless.
Rosalie Duthe, painted by Claude-Jean-Baptiste Hoin
The dumb blonde stereotype was then deepened in the 19th century when it became fashionable for ladies to dye their hair with a lovely mixture of horse urine and bleach. Delicious. This dye was poured over the hair and then washed out after several hours of sitting in the sunshine. The fumes from this dye were quite toxic and it is to no surprise that the women who subjected themselves to this beauty ritual did in fact have a lower mental capacity. The blonder you were, the dumber you were. One famous example of this is Baby Doe Tabor, the second wife of pioneer Colorado businessman Horace Tabor. Known for her bubbly personality, fabulous social skills, and rather simple mind.
Elizabeth McCourt (Baby Doe) Tabor, 
And Finally, we have Marilyn Monroe. I’ve gotta say, she did the most for engraining this stereotype into society. I love her to death, but she was not exactly the brightest. At least she doesn’t seem particularly bright. Especially in any of her movies (see “Some Like It Hot” for reference).

Marilyn Monroe in "Some Like it Hot"

Whether it is because of these historic women (and there are many more) who were blonde and made an impression of simple mindedness or because blonde women are more beautiful and thus don’t need to be smart to get far in life (just a thought, not necessarily scientific fact) the truth of the fact is that it is perfectly possible to be smart and blonde. Just look at Elle Woods.

So please, no more hair-color-profiling. I’m sick of it. And I don’t want to have to dye my hair in order for people to take me seriously.



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