Hair Color-Mythology and Stereotypes Pt 1

Hair Color… Mythology and Stereotypes Pt 1


RedHeadDo’s Black Hair

I wanted black hair when I was 15… black as the night, and green eyes to go with it. Mom told me absolutely not, so of course I visited the drug store and bought a box of “natural blue-black”. When asked if my color was natural I’d tell a falsehood, totally normal behavior for females when talking about their hair color by the way. Oh yes, I’d lie; all the while my lighter, reddish-brown roots danced around the top of my head or I had tell-tale black hair color around my hairline tattling that I’d just colored it. Looking back at photos I know there was something just wrong about black with my redhead skin tone and freckles. Why did I hate the red in my hair and run away from it for years? Mythology, mystique and stereotype surround hair color and we all know that hair color presents an image, it can define us. That’s why I hated the red in my hair.

Lady Lilith-Rossetti Flora-Evelyn D Morgan Windflowers-Waterhouse

Artists-Flora, Morgan and Waterhouse

Numerous studies have been conducted on the hair color subject. I’m happy to say most studies don’t hold water when scrutinized, but people’s perceptions persist. 

  • There’s scientific evidence, that because of their genetics, redheads are more susceptible to pain and need more anesthesia; this is actually true. 
  • Another study suggests there’s some hair color bias related to job promotion; but that doesn’t mean the stereotypes are true, only that people have a tendency to believe them.
  • Fact: When a man sees a group of women all the same age, all with different hair colors, they automatically think the blonde is youngest. Why? Apparently this goes back to the cave man days… you know, back when if you were blonde it was natural? Blondes naturally darken with age, so a mans natural instinct is that if you’re still light blonde you’re young and fertile. 

What about Blondes in history?

In Greek mythology Athena, Aphrodite, Apollo and Hera were all described as being golden-haired.

Even all the way back to the Ancient Romans sexy, “blonde bombshells” were associated with prostitution, coloring their hair blonde was a law. As a result many Romans colored their hair black to avoid the “lady of the night” label. Later on the Greeks who lightened their own hair influenced the Romans to bleach their hair blonde. They even began making wigs from the hair of blonde slaves because they were damaging their own hair lightening it! Sounds a lot like modern civilization to me!

Norse Mythology-Allison Jae

Norse Mythology from Modern Artist- Allison Jae

In Norse mythology the goddess Sif, Thor’s wife, was a blonde but had her locks cropped by Loki the mischievous Norse god. Remember Loki in the movie “The Mask” with Jim Carrey?

People see “light” in blonde hair color so they think of goodness and beauty. In Northern Europe elves and faeries are depicted blonde for that reason.

So what about all the current blonde stereotypes and where did they come from? Blondes are described as, ditzy, flighty, outgoing, playful, flirtatious, approachable, all-American, happy, friendly, naive, vain, innocent and high maintenance. Wow! That’s a lot of personality to hold down!

Reese Britney Paris Goldie Jessica Suzanne

Reese, Britney, Paris, Goldie, Jessica, Suzanne

You may think Marilyn Monroe started the whole dumb blonde standard in the 1953 movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes“; Marilyn certainly made the dumb blonde iconic, but that movie was made from a 1925 best selling novel of the same title by Anita Loos. That was quite a while before Marilyn ever arrived on the scene. Loos wrote her book after watching her friend, the famous writer and scholar, H L Mencken turned into a love-struck schoolboy by a sexy, gold digging, blonde bombshell. There was also a movie and then a Broadway musical starring Carol Channing from the same book before Marilyn made it popular.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

There are more crazy, smart blondes than there are “dumb” blondes… they know how to take advantage of their image! : ) And don’t forget, most of them aren’t really blonde anyway. I know… I’m a hair stylist. Come see me for advanced highlighting techniques with Matrix Vlight and Colorgraphics 2 and create your blonde image with color ranging from the frostiest platinum to delicious caramel.

Do you have an interesting story about how hair color has effected your life? Go on then and make a comment on this POST! Just scroll down this page.

Want to know about Redheads and Brunettes too? Watch for Part 2 of this post!



2 Responses to Hair Color-Mythology and Stereotypes Pt 1

  1. Anna Musto says:

    Well done and very interesting!

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