"Being Ginger" and the Stereotypes of Red-Heads

Friday, February 14, 2014

International Redhead Day 2011 - Thousands of natural redheads from many countries came together in the city center of the Dutch city of Breda. (User Qsimple/flickr)

Growing up, red-heads often bear the brunt of ridicule and teasing. Red-headed women are often perceived as fiery, but their male counterparts are associated with different stereotypes—they're clownish, weak and maybe a bit hefty.

A new documentary, "Being Ginger," is touring the country. The film follows one red-headed man's journey to find his self-confidence—and a woman who has a thing for his ginger locks. Through this journey, the film raises the question of why red-headed men are viewed so differently from red-headed women.

Historians say the basis of these stereotypes might lie in history. In Ancient Egypt, red-heads were viewed as witches and evil. And even in the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo depicted a sinful Eve with red hair. Such representations go a long way, researchers say, toward defining the negative impressions of red-heads, which may lead to the teasing and bullying that they face.

Scott Harris, director of "Being Ginger," and Anne Margaret Daniel, a professor and blogger for the Huffington Post who specializes in the social history of red-heads, discuss why people across the world judge those with red hair.


Anne Margaret Daniel and Scott Harris

Hosted by:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja and Kristen Meinzer


T.J. Raphael


Jacob Passy

Comments [17]

Red Rodney

What Thomas knight did - portraying all red haired men as gay - was indeed very wrong. Some are gay, many are not. As far as the models in thomas Knight's gay presentation, they, being the ultimate "outcasts" of the modeling and adult industry, were probably just THRILLIED to be featured in anything of that nature AT ALL, PERIOD. And parents, do not believe the new "hype!" If your little boys are born with red hair, it does not necessarily mean that they'll grow up to be GAY!!! Thats STUPID.

Sep. 22 2014 10:37 PM

Thomas knight's "Red Hot Project" is a perfect example of the gay "TYPECASTING" of ALL red haired men by the modeling industry AS WELL as the adult entertainment business. There was another gay adult movie promoter ( I think his last name was "Sciarro", or something like that ) who did a gay "movie" featuring exclusively GAY red heads. Needless to say, those guys certainly didn't HELP matters very much. Those films and online gallery pictures were done in a strictly "GAY" context... as if to say "SEE HOW OUR ADORABLE,NATURALLY GAY, "BAMBI"-LIKE GINGERS "PLAY" WITH ONE ANOTHER!?? Now if one of those dudes were to try and 'touch' ME, that poor fool would find out the HARD WAY what a "JUDO-KICK" feels like!!! Seriously, every Ginger in this once great country of ours should be so INSULTED by the way we've been so unfairly declared "GAY" by both the fashion AND the adult entertainment industries. Sorry I've taken up so much valuable 'blog-space." Just "upset", I guess. Thanks for letting me "post."

Jul. 30 2014 08:29 AM

A red haired MALE should not HAVE to be "GAY" to participate in the adult film industry, amature or not. That's just plain "wrong." He should not have to dye his hair and "carpet" black or bleach them blonde, either. ( Although it does seem that blonde haired men are almost equally "excluded" from the heterosexual portion of the adult film industry ). As it is now,both bleach blondes AND Ginger stags have to color their hair dark, or they are turned away at the gate! ... Unless they're "GAY", ofcourse.***

Jul. 30 2014 07:48 AM
RedRedMane from Fresno Ca

One of the most infuriating stereotypes red haired bucks like myself have to suffer with is the almost unanimous belief that if a man has red hair, it means that he MUST be "GAY!" Don't believe me? Go online and Google "Heterosexual Ginger Men" or "Straight Ginger Men" or "Ginger Men Love Women." Do that, and You'll get PAGE AFTER PAGE AFTER PAGE ANTER PAGE of nothing ( and I do mean NOTHING ) but GAY PORN featuring GAY RED-HEADED MEN!!! No one has even "noticed" this atrocious insulting stereotype,...and IT IS "UNANIMOUS!"
Case in point: My girlfriend and I wanted to submit an amature homemade adult video to a certain website ( I wore a ball cap and shades as I wasn't "hip" on being recognized. Our video submission was REJECTED! Why? Because, in the adult entertainment industry, if you're a red-headed male, and you're not "GAY", you're "OUT!!"

Jul. 23 2014 07:31 AM

There's one very BIG problem with being a red haired man: You are instamatically canonized as being GAY!!! Don't believe me? See for yourself! Try and Google "Red Haired Men Straight", or "Heterosexual Ginger Men", or "Straight Male Ginger Porn!" And what does your server retrieve? PAGE AFTER PAGE AFTER PAGE AFTER PAGE of nothing, and I do mean NOTHING but strictly "GAY" porn, featuring ONLY, EXCLUSIVELY, GAY RED HAIRED MEN!! Though it is doubtful that all those poor stags were truly "GAY", they were probably "THRILLED" to be featured in anything if that nature, at all! It's sad.
I am not that tall, but I am not at all bad looking. My girlfriend and I tried to submit a homemade porn video. I wore a ball cap as I wasn't willing to show my entire face to the entire world. Well, I didn't have to worry about being recognized. Our amature porn video was REJECTED! Why? We were told that for a red haired "MAN" to participate in the adult entertainment industry, he HAS to be "GAY!!" All heterosexual snaps ( ginger snaps ) are effectively BARRED from working in the adult film industry!!! I felt like a black man in the 1920s!

Jul. 23 2014 07:11 AM

McGuan from Princeton. My husband is a redhead, and I cannot smell any strong odor on him. But I can smell the chemical in urine after eating asparagus. So... probably no connection.

Feb. 26 2014 02:37 PM

Prince Harry belies the stereotypes about redheaded men.

Feb. 16 2014 05:48 PM

I have two red headed daughters, mediteranian bloodlines, not fair, big brown eyes. They get so much positive attention because of their hair and they are gorgeous and unique. :)

Feb. 16 2014 02:03 PM
McGuan from Princeton

Hoping not to offend anyone, I have had many friends who are redheads and one thing that I have noticed as well as my ex-husband who dated a redhead while living in London is that some of them have a very pungent odor. Not all, but some. While I have searched Google, I have yet to find a reason scientific or otherwise, but I'm certain that there is a distinct odor that some redheads have.

It has occurred to me that I might be some percentage of the population that has the gene to detect the odor. For example, I know that only 20% of the population can smell the chemical released in urine after one has eaten asparagus, that would be me. Is there a connection? Does anyone know?

Feb. 16 2014 01:26 PM
Beth Stein from NJ

Actually, the worst part of being a redhead is the complexion, not hair color. Most of us redheads burn and/or freckle but never tan and are at the highest risk for skin cancer. It is a lifetime sentence for staying off the beach, boats, etc.

Feb. 15 2014 04:25 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Carrot top doesn't help things.

Feb. 14 2014 11:05 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Ginger on Gilligan's Island.

Ginger episode south park

and then there was Lucy

Feb. 14 2014 10:55 PM
Coppertopbabe from Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Living in Miami as a redhead is particularly difficult as there are very few us ! I always feel like the odd one out, especially when it comes to men who generally find the brunettes & blondes more attractive! Where have you been hiding? Lol

Feb. 14 2014 07:28 PM
Jennifer Tait from NJ


about the red hair in the peat bogs (which are found throughout northern Europe, not just in Ireland): often the hair is red because of the tannin the peat, not because the person in question was a redhead.

Feb. 14 2014 06:37 PM
Dale Orkus from 60115

here's a great tune about prejudice suffered by "gingers" by Tim Minchin

Feb. 14 2014 02:40 PM
Kate from Cape cod, ma

In a recent PBS
broadcast about ancient Druid pagan kings whose remains where recently discovered in peet bogs in Ireland it appeared that most had red hair. Despite the in-depth reporting the was no mention of the red hair which is curious. Any thoughts?

Feb. 14 2014 01:14 PM
Angel from Miami FL

I love women with red hair. It might be an obsession or fetish. It's come to a point where a brunette or blonde might get my attention more if they dye their hair red than if they remained with their natural hair color. In fact, in that photo above I seem to find all the females very attractive even though a small percentage of them may not be so "very" if their hair were another color. I might be a bit mental.

Feb. 14 2014 10:37 AM

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