For those of you reading this who have not met me before you may have guessed by the title of this blog that I am a proud Ginger.
Just the other day whilst I was having my first experience of eyebrow threading I was proud to be me when the therapist explained how red hair is the strongest and thickest colour, then brown, then blonde. She also told me that red heads are meant to have a stronger pain threshold too. This has got me thinking how ironic it is that red heads get the most stick but we were created to bare pain the most.
I am now at a point in my life where I let the few morons in this world who brand this word about without thinking, just wash over me. However it hasn’t always been that way…..
I look at photos of me as a child with my curly red locks and think how at that age I didn’t realise that these very same locks would mean I would be a minority. A minority that has had to defend themselves against a certain stigma about being ‘ginger’. Why has this been allowed to happen? Maybe it’s partly down to jealousy as we are different but it’s so sad that it is still going on. There are some beautiful and very talented red heads but I wonder what they have had to put up with, just because of the colour of their hair.
I was lucky enough to have a great group of close friends as I grew up as a child and through my teenage years and was pretty much spared any bullying or taunting about my hair. My family have been very complimentary and always made me know that standing out is good and that I should never be ashamed of who I am.
Any prejudice I have experienced and come across has been as I approached adulthood which is mad when adults should know better than children.
One of my memories goes back to when I was working in my first job and I was at my first Christmas work party. We had all been looking forward to receiving our ‘secret santa’ present but me especially as it was my first secret santa experience. Two staff members dressed up as Mr and Mrs Claus and I excitedly waited for my name to be read out so I could receive my present. My name was called out and as I opened my gift everyone was eagerly looking on waiting for me to hold it up with a big smile on my face waving it about for all to see. But I didn’t feel that joy or excitement. I had been given a packet of blonde hair dye and was left confused, upset and annoyed. I appreciate it might have been given in jest, but I was not laughing and nor were my colleagues. That has been my worst Secret Santa present to date!
Another memory I have is one a bit earlier whilst in my final year at school. I was the only girl on a school trip and so was ready to have some jokes made at my expense and stand up for myself. Some of the lads decided to give me the nickname of ‘ginger minger on tour’ for the trip. I laughed it off at the time but when I was already feeling quite vulnerable, this certainly didn’t help and has stuck in my head ever since.
Children don’t grow up knowing what words or actions can be racist or prejudice. Children learn from what they see and hear around them and then repeat these as they grow up and on into adulthood. We need to change how we teach our children and think about the words we use and why we use them.
Why are people with ginger hair or darker skin treated any differently? Because this is what we have grown up with and seen and heard is okay. But it’s not.
I am now old enough to be proud that I am a minority. I love that I am different and stand out and have a passionate and fiery red headed character.
I just hope we can change our actions today for the minorities of tomorrow!