Just say no to gin­gerism

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film - TARA BRADY

Cart­man’s at­tempted gin­ger holo­caust in South Park was merely the tip of the ice­berg. Gin­gerism – as they call it at the rel­e­vant UK helpline – has long plagued west­ern civil­i­sa­tion. Look at the Sis­tine Chapel and you’ll see a blonde Eve go red just af­ter the un­for­tu­nate busi­ness with the ap­ple. She, Ju­das and all the var­i­ous bib­li­cal pros­ti­tutes are rarely de­picted with­out an auburn hue.

In lit­er­a­ture, mean­while, goal­posts have been re­peat­edly moved to favour blon­des. “Flaxen-haired”, a term orig­i­nally in­tended to de­note a great flam­ing mop, has been so fre­quently mis­trans­lated as blonde that it’s been ac­cepted us­age for al­most 200 years.

By ex­ten­sion, the cen­tury of cin­ema has re­peat­edly cast the pig­men­tally chal­lenged as dan­ger­ous nympho­ma­ni­acs (like Rita Hay­wood in Gilda), so­cio­pathic princesses and gin­ger kooks.

It’s not all bad news though. “Red­heads have more fun,” Amy Adams prom­ises. “I was blond most of my life and I had to dye my hair for a role. I couldn’t be­lieve the dif­fer­ence when I went red. I just felt ‘wow, I’m home’. It’s great. You do some­thing stupid when you’re blonde and you’re dumb. Do some­thing stupid when you’re red and you’re a char­ac­ter.”

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