The Plight of the Redhead

It’s a well-known fact that redheads don’t have souls. And they have a pact with the devil. Or they are the devil. It’s hard to keep all the statistics straight, but suffice it to say that gingers are evil, ugly, and an unfortunate mutation in an otherwise perfect brunette and blond world.

Gingerism, or prejudice against people with red hair, is considered by some to be a form of racism. It sounds funny, but consider this: there’s actually a day called Kick a Ginger Day (the name pretty much says it all); there has been at least one suicide attributed to being bullied constantly for being a redhead; and in one extreme case, a family of redheads in England was forced to move twice after gangs beat up their kids, smashed their windows, and scrawled graffiti like “ginger is gay” on their house.

This is tame, though, compared to how redheads were treated in medieval times. According to one particularly certain book, “Those whose hair is red, of a certain peculiar shade, are unmistakably vampires.” No one told Stephenie Meyer, apparently. Either that or the contract was too difficult to work out between Hollywood and Satan. Redheads were alternately considered witches and werewolves.

As a redhead myself, I’ve encountered my share of joking remarks, but nothing too traumatizing. It’s more of a useful way to get out of being unnecessarily nice. I’ve always rather liked my status as a redhead, especially after I came across these fun facts: 1. Redheads have more sex. This may not be helpful for many of us unmarrieds at Yeshiva University, but it’s a comforting thought nonetheless. 2. Having red hair is good for your bones, according to scientists who have found that gingers soak up more Vitamin D than their brunette and blond counterparts. This knowledge helps to counterbalance the less-than-pleasant studies that having red hair leaves one at higher risk for skin cancer, Parkinson’s, and tooth decay (apparently redheads are more afraid of the dentist than the average person).

According to Jonathan Swift, “It is observed that the red-haired of both sexes are more libidinous and mischievous than the rest, whom yet they much exceed in strength and activity.”
Now for personal favorite fact about redheads: Cryos, the world’s largest sperm bank, is no longer accepting donations from redheaded men, because there’s not enough demand. Apparently the only time someone wants a redheaded donor is if the woman’s partner is ginger or if she has a preference for gingers, which, perhaps not surprisingly, is highly unlikely.

According to many a Stern student, redhead women can be attractive, but redhead men are not equally so. (Not having taken a poll, I can safely guess that YC students would prefer ginger women to men as well.) Or, as one source I came across puts it, “Redhead guys = Yuck! Redheaded women = YUMMY!” This is not a lone sentiment. (Just the most eloquent one.)

Eloquence is apparently not a trait well connected with redheads, as each one that I interviewed for this article seemed confused by the idea of putting together a full sentence. A common sentiment, though, is that non-gingers tend to consider all redheads to either be related or look exactly alike– or, at the very least, share a special kinship.

More fun facts about redheads:

  • Red hair is more common among Ashkenazi Jews than the average population.
  • In Spain, even ginger cats and dogs are discriminated against. In cat and dog ways.
  • The Bible describes both Esav and David as having red hair.
  • Judas, the man considered responsible for the death of Jesus, is often depicted as redheaded.
  • Redheads are not going extinct, contrary to popular belief.
  • There’s an entire festival dedicated to gingers in the Netherlands, called Redheadday.