Lots of redheads are the victims of bullying, teasing, and overall cruel behavior in their younger years. The media has made it so that making fun of redheads is “cool” and encouraged. Things like South Park episodes, Kick a Ginger Day and phrases like “redheaded stepchild” have all helped to fuel negative connotations of redheads. Recently, there has been much talk about whether redhead bullying and teasing is “harmless banter” or something more serious.
Chrissy Meleady, CEO of Equalities and Human Rights UK and a redhead herself, told the Sheffield Star that “bullying red-haired people is one of the last socially accepted forms of prejudice against people for a trait they were born with”. Meleady is speaking out after a teaching assistant in the UK was accused of bullying and “humiliating” students. The teaching assistant was caught searching “gingerphobia” during a lesson, which “led to a child in the class with red hair being teased by his classmates and getting upset”.
We see social injustice happening all around us, and there are a lot of people who have it way worse than redheads do, but we still think it’s something that needs to stop. Prejudice against any group for any reason should never be allowed.
Other outlets are agreeing with Meleady. “Unfortunately, there is a long history of making fun of people with ginger hair in the UK”, said Great British Mag, a site for international students. And although “attitudes have progressed”, cases of “ginger-bullying and exclusion” are still common.
Prince Harry and Ed Sheeran have spoken out separately and together about being bullied for their red hair. Both teamed up in 2019 for World Health Day. In a viral Instagram video, Ed Sheeran spoke to the Prince saying, “I’ve been trying to write a song about this to get it out to more people. People just don’t understand what it’s like for people like us — with the jokes and the snide comments. I just feel like it’s time we stood up and said, ‘We are ginger, and we are going to fight’.”
Recently, Ed Sheeran opened up about how South Park “ruined” his life.
Understanding everyone is different and respecting one another (no matter what we look like) is a fundamental part of what this world needs to see real change.
Rock it like a Redhead!