Monday, March 2, 2009

Being Blond

Ever since I first read about her fateful misstep that led to a tumble down a rabbit hole as a child, I have been in love with Alice. What's not to love, she got to have tea parties and go through mysterious doors and meet all sorts of interesting characters. I could identify with her in a way. She was a little blond girl who fell into a world where everything was topsy turvy.

But in 2000 American McGee got a hold of her and turned her into a dark, macabre figure for his video game. He also changed her hair color. Since then I have noticed many works of art depicting Alice as a brunette.

In fact I have noticed a trend lately for painting little lolita/fairy tale-esque girls in art. I really like some of these works, but I am having a heck of a time finding blonds. I ran across an artist on Etsy who did utterly charming images, and I really wanted one. The trouble was she only did brunettes and an occasional redhead. I have found several artists lately who did these types of pieces and not a blond among their work.

When I was a child I loved fairy tales of all sorts, but I have to admit I identified more with Alice, Goldilocks and Heidi. I liked Snow White but I am sure I would have liked her more if she had been blond. I know it's perfectly normal to create things that resemble ourselves because they are an extension of us. But when we buy art we like to find something in the piece that as a collector we can identify with also.

So why have blonds become so unpopular? Even in high school or college movies the nasty girl is usually the blond now. In the 20th century we were portrayed as bimbos, stupid or just plain annoying. Towards the end we seemed to be making headway for a while. (Pun intended!) But lately we have regressed into something to be disliked.

We live in a world where we are supposed to be accepting of all sorts of things, but yet one of the last few prejudicial stereotypes is against blonds. Having been born blond, especially one with certain ample...assets, I know where of I speak. For one thing, people never believe your hair color is natural. I don't know why not, obviously some of us had to be born that way.

As I have mentioned in previous posts I worked for Boeing Aerospace, and I had to constantly prove myself. Actually I have had to prove myself a lot in many arenas over the years because of it. It's a difficult burden to go through your whole life with people automatically assuming you're sub par intellectually and/or "easy" just because of your hair color. I have received a lot of hate over the years from other women who didn't even know me as a result of it as well. I have also gotten a few things handed to me because of it. I never asked for them, and I never expect them. But lets face it when you're young and not well off and someone offers you a set of tires at half price because of a special "blond discount for today only" you're not going to turn that down because it meant you could eat that week too.

My best friend in college was absolutely beautiful. Men adored her, she was tall, and had thick straight chestnut hair and big blue eyes. I was tall too, but I always felt awkward next to her. I envied her a little. But one day she was feeling out of sorts and I was trying to cheer her up. She turned on me and snapped; "We weren't all born lucky golden people like you!" I was utterly shocked. I never did figure out why she thought I was the lucky one. No one ever judged her the same way they did me.

Like Alice, I live in a topsy turvy world with a great burden to bear because of my hair. If you're not blond then I suppose that's a hard thing to imagine that you could be constantly judged on something so superficial. People send me dumb blond jokes in e-mail quite often. I guess they think I will find it funny and no one thinks anything of it. But yet if they made an ethnic joke to someone of that ethnicity I am sure people would be horrified.

R told me once that I was the only blond he ever dated. I thought that was weird at the time, but since then I have read that there have been studies that say men prefer to marry brunettes because they are more stable and faithful. Yes...that has appeared in print many times. I even read an article once that said men equate blonds with shiny objects, they get momentarily distracted by us. So I guess I am just a quick diversion at the same level as a dirty piece of cellophane glinting in the sun for many guys. And you wonder why we have a hard time being taken seriously!

The truth is blonds are no less intelligent, faithful or stable than any other woman. We have run countries, invented great things and walked while chewing gum with no difficulties for centuries. Nearly every blond I have ever met that was truly dumb or of low moral fiber wasn't even a natural blond. Alice managed to find her way out of the rabbit hole. I hope some day the rest of us can climb out of that hole we have been stuck into by society and stereotypical thinking too.


Amanda said...

What an interesting post. I was the geeky ginger kid, complete with glasses and overweight. Now theres one, ginger hair. I was always expected to have a redhead's temper, not so. My husband has very dark hair so we were both surprised to have a blond daughter. Its gotten darker, but how she loves being blond. Mine is a lighter, pale red now, I've just started to cover those few grey bits up, but I'll always be a ginger kid at heart.

Kelly said...

Everyone in my family on both sides had red hair. I have no idea how I managed to be born blond.

Kathy-Catnip Studio said...

Oh, the tales I could tell of my 20+ years in the USN on this topic! Suffice to say, it can be quite handy to be underestimated because of your hair color. And quite frustrating.

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