Why should redheads have to endure this vile bullying from so much of the modern media?

Whether we call them 'redhead' or 'ginger', there seems to be little these people can do to protect themselves from persecution in the public domain

Share
Related Topics

“Is it ginger?!”, screamed someone I know, as she gave the final push in the delivery of her firstborn a few months ago.

As the wife and sister-in-law of redheads, I found this funny. Yes, the colour of her offspring’s hair was more important to her than knowing the gender or, in fact, if the baby she had been carrying for nine months was in perfect health. But ultimately, this was her child – redhead or not – and if the offspring had turned out to have even a glimmer of copper on its head, it would merely be a humorous story to tell in years to come.

I tell you this to give some context. I’m sure no one needs reminding that ginger hair has somehow become synonymous with evil; an epitome of ugliness, a fate worse than death. Yet perhaps the media needs reminding that a singular taunt in the playground, whilst undoubtedly unpleasant, is magnified ten-fold when a reputable news source perpetuates the dreadful stereotype:

Being ginger is both something to make an example of, and, more seriously, avoid.

But that’s exactly what a number of media sources did this week, when they reported that ‘parents to be have the chance to find out whether they could have children with red hair’.

On reading the headline initially I was horrified, as images of heavily pregnant women desperate to know if they, indeed, carried the devil incarnate, rushed to pick up a test. But on deeper inspection, I found that although this is true, it just one of many parts of the Who Do You Think You Are exhibition exploring DNA which is to take place at the end of February.

Yet those sources who have reported on it have flagged it up as the main, and only news feature. Yes, some casually mention the three-day exhibition, but it is clear to see that the only important thing to come out of it is the fortune-telling test into whether or not you will help perpetuate a race of redheads. I’m not convinced that the test itself, although claiming to be an investigation of pure interest into why ‘Britain is the most red-headed nation, per capita, on Earth’ and ending its pitch with “we aim to celebrate Britain as the world's Red-Headed Nation” is the most responsible of tests, taking into account the very real, very serious nature of prejudice which is weighted against it.

But it is the reporting of, flagging up, pointing at and singling out of the media’s coverage which, by perpetuating the stereotype, is most worrying of all – and, perhaps more seriously, will have advertised the otherwise innocent test as if it is a screening measure.

“Is it ginger?!”, screamed the media? Somehow not as funny.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: £20000 - £25000 per annum + c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a number ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Sales Consultant - OTE £45,000

£15000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you want to work for an exci...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Turkey conflict: Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk
 

At last! An Education Secretary who thinks teachers should teach

Chris Maume
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food