By: Kali Hanson
Red hair is the most popular hair color in the world, and whether you’re natural or ‘by choice’, many redheads are called ‘ginger’ and/or ‘redhead’. The words have become interchangeable, and some redheads are in an uproar about this.
The term ‘ginger’ originated in the UK. It was initially created to insult a redhead. For years, children have grown up thinking it’s appropriate to make fun of redheads, and that ‘ginger’ is a fair term to use when doing so. Since the term is about hair color, rather than sexuality or race (or disability, etc), society does not view the term as “true discrimination”.
Take a look at Urban Dictionary’s definition of ‘ginger’: A human, characterized by pale skin, freckles and bright red hair. “Gingers” are generally considered to be inferior to their more melanin-rich brethren, and thus deservingly discriminated against. Gingers are thought to have no souls. The condition, “gingervitis” is genetic and incurable. Ron Howard is a ginger. Carrot Top is a good example of why gingers should be discriminated against.
There it is, redheads. In plain black and white. The word ‘ginger’ is supposed to be demeaning and downright hurtful.
Here are 3 (more) reasons why I personally do not like the word:
1. It’s objectifying
This is my biggest problem with being called ‘ginger’. While redheads (including myself) often take much of our identity from our hair color, it is not the only thing about us. We’re human beings, with talents, unique personality traits and other interesting features. If someone calls me a ‘ginger’ just to get my attention, I can assure you it isn’t working. As a bit of a suggestion, why don’t you try calling me by my name (if you know it) or sir, ma’am, or miss?
2. Not all of us like it
There’s something really cringe-worthy of the nickname. Just because there is a nickname out there for us, and some of us like it, doesn’t mean all of us automatically will as well. This is why it’s best to ask a redhead first.
3. It’s annoying
Need I say more?
Many people do not know the history behind the word, and therefore, find it harmless. If you like being called ‘ginger’, or don’t mind, that’s great; this is in no way trying to make you feel bad or second guess it. To all redheads who do not like it, that’s also okay. We all have our preferences, and those should always be respected by others, right down to our nicknames.
What are your thoughts on this?
Rock it like a Redhead!