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.
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.