Morning all! I noticed a documentary project this morning, (posted below) which made me remember my childhood, and experiences of being
bullied for having red hair. Now I’m not going to whinge and moan, because there aren’t many people out there who escape childhood without some teasing. Children can be cruel towards anything a bit different; there was a time when I would have given anything to have naturally blonde or brunette hair, but now I love my hair colour. Its a massive part of my identity for me, and I would be horrified at the idea of dying it.
Any teasing I received was minor, especially in comparison to some of the experiences mentioned in the video below, and some recent reports in the news about ‘kick a ginger’ day and teenagers being ambushed. I have attached a charming picture of me as a young lady…to explain why I might have been teased a little – but no one looks good without any front teeth…to be fair! I am still surprised to hear other people experiencing the same thing, and wondered what experiences some of you have had, or are still having?
Ginger Insults and Names
While I’m not going to add fuel to the fire by providing bullies with names they haven’t already come across, there are some names and insults we all know. Perhaps the reason that some people find the word ‘ginger’ distasteful when used to describe a hair colour is because it is hurled as an insult, and can be spat out with venom. The old favs; Carrot Top, Copper knob, Duracell, Ginner, Ginger nut are quite tame, but there are certainly ones that make my lip curl. This is probably a personal thing, but for me Ginger Mhinger is pretty offensive, tampon head is downright gross and Satan’s love child…we’ve got red hair; we’re not evil! Which names do you find most offensive? Including ones not mentioned?
Being teased for red hair as an adult
Any comments I get now are laughable; For example this year I have been shouted at across a petrol station forecourt, by grown men informing me that I am ‘ginger’….which is lucky because I might not have remember or noticed if they hadn’t pointed out. What considerate young men.
Passers by (again grown men) saying ‘ginger minge’ to me, is even more bewildering. But any comments now are mostly from men who have a slight ‘thing’ for redheads, which I’m never quite sure how to respond to…are they even interested in me really or just my locks?
The international spread of Ginger Bullying
While there was a time when being bullied for being ginger was mostly a British thing, it seems to have spread across the pond; aided by South Park. If you’ve missed all the South Park mayhem, click here for a quick taste http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlMU7JRxj90&feature=related. Statements that ‘gingers have no souls’ is going a bit far, but we’re not the first group for South Park to pick on, we won’t be the last, and its not the worst thing they have said either. While I do find most of it amusing, the consequences of it aren’t if it encourages bullying of red haired classmates.
Helping Little Redheads deal with teasing
While teasing and bullying can just be a normal part of life, whatever age you are, being a bit different as a child does leave you more vulnerable to being picked on. This could be a particular challenge for parents who aren’t redheads themselves, but have red haired children. How do you help them? Well I’d say good role models to look up to is a good start; when you consider that a beautiful and talented artist such as Julianne Moore experienced teasing for having freckles it can certainly put things in perspective. To help Julianne Moore has used her experiences of being teased for having freckles, to write a childrens book “Freckleface Strawberry” and the follow up “Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully”
This charming book is a bright and humorous look at the way children deal with being different – from trying to hide their differences to finally embracing their unique characteristics – Perfect for Little Red Heads!
So what were your experiences growing up with red hair? How would you suggest to combat bullying? Do you have little red heads and are concerned about their experiences at school?
O and if, after all that negativity and recalling bad memories, you need a good laugh; view the video by Tim Minchin below. (and hold out for the 2.30 mark!)