Why make ginger jokes? Redheads, now, are all the rage

24 April 2014

5:58 PM

24 April 2014

5:58 PM

Much like supporting Millwall or contracting Parkinson’s Disease, red hair has traditionally been seen by the prejudiced as a foul affliction worth avoiding. The biographies of Mary Magdalene, Van Gogh and Sylvia Plath will confirm this. Rod Liddle sticks it to the gingers in his column this week:

‘I took my youngest son to a football match on Easter Monday. It used to be something I wryly called a ‘treat’ when the kids were younger, but we usually lost in such depressing circumstances each time that I would then feel the need to give them another treat immediately afterwards, to alleviate the misery. Bowling or pizza or something. Not any more. They are old enough to know what they’re likely to be in for and conscious that their allegiance to the team, Millwall, is inescapable and probably genetic, like ginger hair or a susceptibility to Parkinson’s Disease.’

Rod, as I suspect he knows, is wrong. Red hair is having a renaissance. A good friend was recently asked by her boyfriend to dye her hair red. Not blonde. Red. When she took this matter to her hairdresser, it transpired that this was not an isolated incident. Apparently vast swarms of women are now asking for their locks to be painted red. The logical conclusion must be that men now find bottle burgundy as appealing as bottle blonde. Indeed, sales of red hair dye have soared in the past few years on account of this frenzy.


Where once gingerism was a sign of witchcraft (as the 15th century witch-hunting manual Malleus Maleficarum confirms), it is now a sign that you are super-duper sexy. Just look at all the redheads men pore over these days: Lily Cole, Amy Adams, Emma Stone. The list goes on: Isla Fisher, Debra Messing, Christina Hendricks. For 44 more foxy red-headed women, please, be my guest.

British women – who for so many centuries have run the risk of the ducking stool – are now choosing to look like flame-haired temptresses. Red hair is like catnip for men. The same cannot be said for degenerative diseases or floundering second-division football teams.

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Show comments
  • Angus_MacLellan

    Actually, there aren’t many gingers in England – common in Scotland and Ireland and very few in Wales. There are redheads in India too – not very attractive at all.

    Oh, and Hendricks isn’t a natural redhead.

  • obbo12

    Small but rather important point, Christina Hendricks is a blonde who dyes her hair red

  • StephanieJCW

    I am often mocked by people for saying this – but I think redheads are absolutely stunning. A really beautiful hair colour.

  • balance_and_reason

    Yes, hold off on the red babes……they all ok wit me. long as not too fat or smelly.

  • Simon Fay

    Always been baffled by the puerile malice directed at red-heads (like my bafflement over many things). And I love red-haired lasses and their pale complexion.

  • swatnan

    Amanda Righetti/Grace in the Mentalist is one to watch.
    And the redhead in the Furniture Village ad.

  • Chantal de Paus

    Awful choice for a photo. Christina Hendricks is not ginger. She’s a blonde! Use a real redhead next time, please. Or better yet: change this one.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    it’s not the red hair that’s the problem but the clammy white skin. Gives one the willypips.

    • Elena

      Right you are!

  • La Fold

    Ive have my fair share of red heads over the years from strawberry blondes to full on red and to a woman they have all been nuttier than a packet of salt and vinegar KP . I’d give one (whose nickname was Crazy Stacey) a sip of wine and 20 seconds she’d be swinging from the curtains.

    • GUBU

      I wonder what ‘Crazy Stacey’ has to say about you, and your curtains, these days?

      My apologies in advance if she is now your wife.

      • La Fold

        That made me chuckle.
        She had that nickname well before I met her. Shes not my wife but I still speak to her when I see her out and about.

    • Liz

      Are you referring to breeds? When you say you’ve had them?

      • La Fold

        bore off you dry lunch

        • Liz

          Funny, because boorish and you seem to be a match made in heaven.

  • Gwangi

    I like ginger (or red or whatever) hair on women and men. It looks great! Except perhaps on black people; no idea why some Somalis dye their hair and beards red, but I used to live in an area where I saw that all the time.

    Mind you, I also hate it when middle aged women dye their hair red – especially that artificial dark red – in a vain attempt to look young and ‘with it’ (just look at the media to see examples of that – Janet Street Pawwwwtahhhh for one, that femi-ranter TV editor Alison of the Radio Times for another).

    It seems very odd that we all ignore the constant abuse aimed at redheaded kids though; I remember once seeing some rough black kids on a bus in London calling a ginger kid names (one reason why middle class whites avoid London schools). I am sure if I had turned on those black kids and called them abusive names referring to their appearance, I would either 1) have been arrested by our Vice and Virtue Sharia Diversity Police, or 2) stabbed by one of the black kids (who are over 12 so quite old enough to poke me).

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    List all the socially acceptable ways women can legally change their appearance. Must be a nightmare for Airport Immigration. Imagine if international terrorist became the lifestyle of choice for women.
    Jack, Japan Alps

  • Retired Nurse

    Why doesn’t this work the other way around?

    • Darnell Jackson

      Very insightful.

  • Liz

    Is it true that men can be redheads too? Because from this article one can’t tell.

    • allymax bruce

      Scots men can have red hair, but mostly, we just buy the McJimmy wig.

      • Liz

        Can women have red hair or merely be it?

        • allymax bruce

          Ahh! I see what you mean now, Liz.
          Hmm, no, I think it’s just Scots women that would be referred to as red-heads. But it’s a beautiful gene/colour; everybody luvs it; do you?

  • Quentin

    Red – the colour of desire. Orange – the colour of a carrot.

  • shaft120

    Sorry rubbish article. Men have always found nice red hair on a woman attractive. The people you mention have been admired for years. Isla fisher anyone? Write an article when you find men have gotten over having ginger hair themselves. Thats the real disability.

  • Donafugata

    For every Christina Hendricks there is a Danny Alexander

  • Kitty MLB

    Red Hair is beautiful, I just have chestnut brown curly long hair- the colour of conkers,
    not the colour of burning amber, which is delightful, I am minded of that shade of Red portrayed in Botticelli’s painting of the birth of Venus.
    Jonathon Swift wrote: ‘ it is observed that red hair in both sexes are more libidinous
    and mischievous then any other colour hair’.
    Mind you, not a good idea to have been around during Medieval times with red hair
    especially if one also had green eyes, you would have had the witch finder general
    knocking on your door- strange really we always presume witches were portrayed
    with black hair.

  • allymax bruce

    Marilyn Monroe was a red-head; only the beautiful!
    Besides, Lara, I think Rod was only making a ‘resigned thought’ out-loud, about how his football team were genetically determined to cause him frustration.