If you were born with a little red in your hair then you are a member of the 2 percent – the unique redhead of modern civilization. This can be a troubling state of being, scarlet.
If your hair is bright orange then you may be treated differently than if it’s dark auburn; different still if it’s slightly strawberry blonde or copper. These details are nothing compared to the cultural responses to red-haired boys versus girls. If you’re a boy in crimson you may be bullied and prone to bouts of extreme insecurity throughout your life. If you’re a girl, while considered potentially insane and tempestuous, you will also likely be treated like a precocious child, sexual predator or woodland fairy. Think Anne of Green Gables and Christina Hendricks in Mad Men. Women will even scorn you then dye their hair to look like you and proclaim their “gingerness” to unsuspecting acquaintances.
So pale Viking or Senagalese curly-haired goddess, you’re by all accounts ginger. How do you cope? You likely will not only be stereotyped for the rest of your life but also the surprising bearer of prejudices that people would, in regards to skin tone or ethnicity, typically attempt to hide in public. Instead, since Medieval times, redhead prejudice is widely accepted. You can cope by embracing the strengths of your difference: ferocity, eroticism, sensitivity, spirituality, witchcraft. Shout your opinions. Wear greens. Express your inner paprika. Today a freak of fashion? Tomorrow the glowing epitome of aesthetic ideals.
If you’re lucky, you may even be named King or Queen of all Things Ginger at the Annual Ginger Convention.