December 11, 2023

Community Voice: Red hair and the stereotypes that come with it

I can still hear the other fifth-grade student making fun of me for my hair color. I was always told by my mom and her friends that my red hair was beautiful and one of a kind. Most of my peers did not agree. Red hair is rare in the United States, making the color not only different, but also an opportunity for stereotyping.

Common stereotypes related to redheads include clownish, weird, unattractive, flaring temper, pale and Irish. These qualities are said to make finding a job and being in a relationship difficult for redheads. I found this interesting because companies should not be evaluating a candidate’s hair color, but instead their work ethic and passion. Stereotypes given to redheads are commonly negative. Not only does this affect their personal life, but their self-confidence as well.

Two scholars reported in the journal Symbolic Interaction: “A fairly common pattern among redheads is that, as children, they receive much negative treatment from their peers. At the same time, they tend to receive many positive comments from adults, especially from elderly women.”

Children can be cruel, and this allows for bullying toward redheads, lowering their self-confidence and continuing the stereotype.

As a redhead, I was able to experience this firsthand and relate well to this statement. Not until recently was I able to appreciate my red hair and how different the color is.

Red hair is not only a different color of hair, but also is a rare quality to have and can be linked to different medical concepts. For the future, I believe in a deeper investigation of the hair color. More should be tested and known about the diverse qualities given to redheads. I believe the public should stop using stereotypes as a way to judge redheads. While judging by schemes is a common problem in society currently, employers must not withhold a job from a citizen with red hair.

Hair color is a trait special to each individual on this planet, and – while I think many people subconsciously note the color – the red hair gene can offer a lot of information about the human body. I was frustrated when I did not find a lot of research on redheads’ response to pain just because I think that is an interesting topic to be involved with. For a person to have a such a rare hair color is special and adds interesting diversity to the world. When looking through a crowd of people, red hair stands out and is separate from every other hair color.

I found this topic to be widely intriguing and a subject that not many people have reported on. This topic offers new and interesting information for a researcher. Red hair is a color that will likely never go extinct – the color will continue to be involved in the world – and I look forward to the future when stereotypes will not hinder any redhead in his or her life.

Allison Hess is a student at Ball State University in Indiana and graduate of Batavia High School. She enjoys her family, friends and her red hair. Feedback on this piece can be sent to