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Is there any truth behind hair colour stereotypes


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We’ve all heard about or experienced the stereotypes; blondes are dumb but vivacious, brunettes are dependable but dull, and redheads are fiery.

These stereotypes go way back; in ancient Rome women would bleach their hair until it was so damaged that they had to wear wigs. Century’s later, red hair on a woman was a sign that she was a witch. Brunette and dark hair has been the most prevalent colour throughout, still making up at least 90% of the world’s hair colours, where natural blondes only take up 2% and redheads 1%.

But is there any truth behind these stereotypes?

Scientifically, the short answer is no. There has never been any evidence that proves that blondes are dumb or that all redheads are likely to throw a punch. The genes that dictate your hair colour are completely different to those that decide your intellectual capacity or emotional reactions.

Regardless of this, the stereotypes are persisting, particularly the ‘blondes are sexy but ditzy’ trope. It’s thought that heterosexual men find blonde women sexy due to fierce sexual competition in prehistoric Northern Europe. Since blondes stood out amongst their dark haired peers they were perceived as more desirable. There is also the thought that since many children are born with fairer hair before it eventually turns darker, blonde hair is a sign of youth.

Are blondes really dumb?

The idea that blondes are dumb is arguably more of a recent development and comes from societies’ views on fakery. Many blondes are artificial blondes, so the more judgmental among us are likely to consider them as more vain and preoccupied with the external world rather than the internal. Worse still, due to blondes being regarded as sexier and more attractive by men, it is thought that perhaps they have never needed to work as hard on their own skills as they get preferential treatment.

There’s a lot of evidence that supports this, such as The University of Queensland’s study of 13,000 women that found blondes make 7% more money than any other hair colour. Although that is certainly not evidence that they are dumb, just that perhaps there is an unfair inclination.

Hair colour experiments

hair colourPsychologist in London carried out a study in which a female subject dyed her hair different colours, each time for a week, and counted how many men approached her in a nightclub depending on her hair colour. Whilst blonde she was approached 60 times, 42 times as a brunette and just 18 times as a redhead. However, men at the same nightclub were also asked to pick which of her hair colours they found more attractive based on photographs and the majority said brunette.

The researchers suggested that perhaps the blonde had been approached more often in real life because they were regarded as more needy and less likely to reject them, where as the brunette was viewed as more sensible, stable and intelligent. Yet, redheads – who seriously don’t get enough studies – were viewed as the most sexually promiscuous, least shy and most temperamental. This is possibly down to preconceptions about the Irish and Scottish although no one is sure.

No scientific proof

So, although there is no scientific truth behind stereotypes themselves, it is undeniable that we keep the stereotypes alive with our own judgments and preferences. Blondes are regarded as sexier by heterosexual men, but are certainly not all dumb whilst brunettes are regarded as more sensible, but this is just as fabricated. Redheads are… well, a variety of the best and worst parts of both. They are just stereotypes, nothing more.



About Siobhan Harmer

About Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan Harmer is an English Freelance writer who drinks far too much coffee!!

Website: Siobhan Harmer

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