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Seeing Red: Why I Really Dislike The Word Ginger

By: Kira King

I really dislike the word “ginger” when it is applied to redheads, and that’s okay. You may not agree with me. You may even like and embrace it which is great! But personally, I am not a fan — even if it’s officially in the dictionary

I am a late 80’s baby so I can only speak from my lifetime point of view, but I feel like redheads weren’t always labeled “gingers” by society. I started noticing the word ginger being used more and more after South Park’s infamous “gingers don’t have souls” episode during my teenage years. I can’t say I ever watched that oh-so-lovely episode, but it is safe to say that most of my peers did. Even close friends of mine started trying to call me “ginger.”

Trying being the keyword.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Confidence should be your number one comeback. It sounds simple, and it is. Let me show you an example. 

Gingers-have-no-souls, daywalkers, the term “ginger,” all followed me to college. My boyfriend’s male roommate had strawberry blonde hair and light skin, and our mutual group of friends would mercilessly tease him. They’d use South Park quotes from the “Ginger Kids” episode to the point where he couldn’t laugh it off anymore, and his face would get splotchy with anger and embarrassment. (Any redhead can relate to this flushed face natural phenomenon.) 

It would all start in good fun, but when the blood started rushing to his cheeks, it was time to speak up.

I’d look at that group of guys and say, “Excuse me? Did I just hear you call us “gingers”? Did you just say I don’t have a soul? Did you just say gingers weren’t attractive? Because I’m pretty sure I’m gorgeous.”

You should have seen the look on their faces! They would start profusely apologizing. “No, Kira. Your hair is gorgeous. It’s a beautiful color. We were just having a little fun with him. We didn’t mean it.” After a few incidents like this, it turned out they didn’t enjoy making fun of “gingers” anymore. There were much better things to joke about. It all came down to having the confidence to stand up for myself and my strawberry blonde friend. I didn’t overreact. I just handled it. 

Ladies, you are beautiful. Guys, you are handsome.

READ: A New Name for Redheads, Fuego not Ginger 

Our red hair is our trademark, our statement piece. Don’t allow someone’s label of you to define who you are. “Ginger” is just the term I chose not to be labeled. You may have others that bother you, like “red” or “carrot-top,” and that’s okay! I’m going to keep hating the word “ginger,” and those who love and respect me know to never use it.

READ: 3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Address Redheads As ‘Gingers’

Always, always remember to Rock it like a Redhead!