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

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?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A police officer carries a casualty to safety  

Tunisia attack proves that we cannot stop terrorists carrying out operations against Britons in Muslim countries

Robert Verkaik
Alan Titchmarsh MP?  

Alan Titchmarsh MP? His independent manifesto gets my vote

Jane Merrick
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?