This Is What Happens When Dealing With Blonde Hair Stereotypes!
The other day I was reading an article about Jean Harlow and how dyeing her hair platinum blonde might have deteriorated her already poor health. Her blonde hair made her extremely famous and created a hair color trend at her time.
Suddenly, while I was reading that article, a past memory came rushing into my mind to hunt and overwhelm me again. I felt the need to write about it and share my personal story with you.
The blunt truth is that we’re all concerned with our hair. Even those who don’t have any!
Obviously, one of the main reasons is because the hair makes a strong first impression.
Impression about beauty, health, attraction, age, power, intelligence, confidence, social status and so much more.
You know the blonde hair stereotypes, right?
Blonde women are sexy, dumb, vain, attractive, desirable, outgoing, lively, naive, innocent, dependable, funny, carefree, less serious, promiscuous etc.
And what about those awful & silly blonde jokes?
Study author and research scientist Jay Zagorsky from the Ohio State University said that “blonde jokes” may seem harmless to some, but the stereotyping can lead to serious consequences when it comes to hiring, social experiences and even work promotions.
Jay Zagorsky’s research shows that blondes have slightly higher IQ than any other hair color. His study provides compelling evidence that there shouldn’t be any discrimination against blondes based on their intelligence.
The dumb blonde stereotype is all wrong.
But you might be wondering about the origin of these blonde hair stereotypes. I’ve found these two articles that present some interesting stuff.
History’s Original Dumb Blonde.
I feel very offended and furious by these sexist stereotypes that movies, magazines, the cosmetic companies, the fashion industry and the advertising messages perpetuate.
How blonde hair stereotypes affected me & how I reacted
It has been two years since I stopped working for (what we call) “large companies”. I remember very strongly the sexism I experienced every time I had to listen to my superior calling me “blondie” (only in front of others of course!). Every time he was calling me “blondie” my blood was boiling, but I simply bit the bullet and swallowed my words of anger, just to end up poisoning my own soul.
If you have worked in large corporations you know what it’s like! Can you really talk and be heard? And if you do talk, we all know what usually follows….
It was not just the word “blondie” that bothered me.
It was the voice tone he used.
It was the constant brain-wash.
It was also the fact that I didn’t even have blonde hair and there was an underlining meaning behind that word; how he perceived me or wanted to perceive me (I cannot be responsible for what’s going on in the mind of others!).
A word can carry a subtle meaning, that of something hidden but important, something that shapes the meaning or effect of something else, without being explicit itself.
All those stereotypes that he was trying to dress me up with they simply weren’t who I truly am. And he knew that!
And don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing to have blonde hair obviously!
It’s about how people use words to describe or characterize you according to silly stereotypes that they so lightly embrace…and heavily offend you!
How women with blonde hair must feel in similar situations in their working environment!
(Do you remember Cyrus calling Abby “Red” in the TV series Scandal….when you hear it doesn’t it sound like a diminishing comment?).
Let’s get back to my blonde hair story…
At the meetings I was the only woman among six men and the pressure I felt was unbearable. I remember strongly one specific time when a colleague in one of these meetings (which were an endless waste of time by the way) called me “blondie” too.
Needless to say I was furious! I thought to myself “Not only I have to deal with my superior’s obsession, but now I have to deal with my colleagues’ tendency to imitate authority figures?”…
What happened next?
I told my colleague in a very serious voice tone that I forbade him from calling me like that ever again. All the men were staring at me and that certain colleague had the nerve to ask me why I got so angry since our superior had been calling me “blondie” for a long time.
I couldn’t even believe I was having that conversation!!
(not to mention that I had to deal with many silly comments about my looks but I’d better stick to the blonde hair issue!).
I finally responded to my colleague “What else can I do? I am somehow forced to tolerate and obliged to take it from him!” (Surprise! Surprise! He was the boss…)
Our boss was present in that meeting. I remember that he looked at me with a strange expression on his face and he didn’t say a word. Of course he continued calling me “blondie”.
He just didn’t care. He wanted to diminish me to feel better about himself and have my “working substance” suppressed.
Now that I can watch the big picture from afar, I can see that this is a boss’s tactic to make the employee think that she/he isn’t worth enough. I’m pretty sure you understand what I mean.
I was so stressed, which eventually took a toll on my hair’s health too. I started losing hair like crazy! (not to mention that I dyed my hair a tone darker to stop this nonsense)
I even ended up in a psychologist’s office to take some advice on how to deal with this matter and other stressful, nasty and weird stuff that were happening in that company which I had no idea how to handle them.
I will never forget the sexist disposition towards me.
It disgusted me every time.
I only wish I had the strength to stand up to him from the very first time he called me “blondie”.
(I kinda pity him; he has two lovely daughters in their 20s and I sincerely hope to never find themselves in such awful situations).
It’s such a relief that I don’t have to put up with it any more.
Did you ever have such an experience? I truly hope you haven’t!
To You With Love.
beautiful picture. I’ve actually always wanted to go blonde but as someone who’s half asian not sure I personally can pull it off with my dark features! xx
I think you look lovely the way you are! Also, brunettes who dye their hair blonde they are really damaging their hair. I don’t think it’s worth it! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
It’s pretty appalling to be treated that way! No one should be discriminated against or be forced to alter their hair or appearance to avoid being called names! Stay true to who you are!
Thanks for your comment, I absolutely agree with you! Nobody should have to experience such situations, but unfortunately there will always be people in your life who will treat you wrong. Especially in workplaces where we’ve heard so many stories about people in high positions who abuse their “power & authority”.
There are these awful stereotypes about hair & they are just not true.
Thank you for challenging the way we see the world & each other
Thanks Emma for your kind comment. The blonde hair stereotype may be a strong one, but unfortunately it’s not the only one. Stereotypes are built and used to control our minds and feelings. And this is definitely not a good thing! I only wish every human being could see that!
Thanks for sharing. It is amazing how these large companies force us to go to harassment training, and then allow supervisors to move up the ladder while treating their subordinates with utter disrespect. It makes no sense at all. I am sorry you have had to endure it. I still see this behavior on a frequent basis and it’s very unfortunate.
Thank you Laurel! Indeed, it makes no sense at all. I think some people (for whatever reason) get “crazy” when they realize they have power over a group of people. And it’s also so unethical to judge and characterize people by their appearance!
It makes my blood boil too when I hear of such discriminations and sexist comments.
It’s time for us to reclaim our power and put a stop to this behaviour
It would be great if we could stop it! Unfortunately, it’s a real problem for many of us, especially in our workplaces! Thank you Tasmin for your comment.
Great post! As a blonde I appreciate you bringing up these issues that us blondes unfortunately face. Love the way you have set this post out too, so easy to read x
Thanks Lacey for your kind words! I’m so glad you found the topic interesting! Over the years, I’ve realized that these silly stereotypes are harming people’s feelings and it truly upsets me.
Women have it tough in general I think! We should all be building each other up instead of tearing each other down to make ourselves feel better!
I totally agree with you! I find it hard to justify people who behave like that! Thanks for your comment!