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"On the playground, at the store, walking on the streets. They creep us out, and make us sick to our stomachs. I'm talking, of course, about Ginger kids."
October 1, 2011 10:38 AM   Subscribe

The war against red-haired males. [Time.com] Cryos International, the world’s largest sperm bank, recently announced that it will be turning away redheaded donors at the door. The company’s red-haired sperm supply is full up, and not often called upon. Clinic director Ole Schou told a Danish newspaper that parents are inclined to select donors who are physically similar to themselves, and red’s rareness makes it an unpopular choice.
posted by Fizz (102 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
War?
posted by hydrophonic at 10:42 AM on October 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


It's actually not possible to ensure red hair, however: despite a vial of meticulously selected sperm, that musician-cum-scientist-cum-soccer star may or may not have auburn tresses...

That writer enjoyed herself a little too much on this one.


Also, war?
posted by logicpunk at 10:45 AM on October 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


what is it good for?
posted by found missing at 10:47 AM on October 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


Ok, war is probably too harsh a word. I pulled that from the headline from this article at the Globe and Mail. My apologies if that seems a bit exaggerated.
posted by Fizz at 10:47 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a red-headed male, I can confirm that this does, indeed, feel like a war against us. The other hair-color genes have been dominant far too long.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 10:48 AM on October 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


Good God, y'all

"musician cum" *snicker*
posted by Curious Artificer at 10:49 AM on October 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


red’s rareness makes it an unpopular choice

You'd think that it would also make it an uncommon donation.

And I concur, you cannot carry out a war solely via sperm bank donor selection. You might as well talk about the red cross's "war on gay men" or "war on international travelers".
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:49 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd like to draw the conclusion that red headed males are more inclined to give sperm than people actually want them to give sperm, but I'm reasonably sure that's true of any man, regardless of hair color.
posted by clockbound at 10:51 AM on October 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


A couple of Gs, an R and an E, an I and an N
Just six little letters all jumbled together
Have caused damage that we may never mend
And it's important that we all respect
That if these people should happen to choose
To reclaim the word as their own
It doesn't meant the rest of you have a right to it's use
posted by empath at 10:52 AM on October 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


Wonders if there is a business opportunity in creating a red-haired only sperm bank? Hmm...
posted by Fizz at 10:53 AM on October 1, 2011


The Globe and Mail article is actually more interesting than the sperm bank story. (And seriously, the sperm bank story is not interesting.) I'm not sure why it is that red hair is considered attractive in women and usually not-attractive in men. Actually, I think it's partly that most red-headed women have dyed red hair, and so they're cultivating a certain dramatic look that isn't necessarily there with natural red hair.
You'd think that it would also make it an uncommon donation.
This is an issue because men from Denmark, where red hair is pretty common, supply a lot of the sperm for people in other countries, where red hair is generally less common.
posted by craichead at 10:53 AM on October 1, 2011


This is an issue because men from Denmark, where red hair is pretty common, supply a lot of the sperm for people in other countries, where red hair is generally less common.

They've come too far to stop now.
posted by hal9k at 10:54 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Globe and Mail article is actually more interesting than the sperm bank story. (And seriously, the sperm bank story is not interesting.)

Agreed: the sperm bank story is just a red hairing.
posted by hal9k at 10:56 AM on October 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


I'm clearly no good at metafilter. I couldn't decide which story to lead with, Time.com or the Globe and Mail. Fail.
posted by Fizz at 10:58 AM on October 1, 2011


something, something red-handed something.

I don't know, there's a joke in there somewhere...I think
posted by HuronBob at 11:01 AM on October 1, 2011


Just another example of the widespread discrimination against gingers.
posted by Summer at 11:01 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh! I wasn't faulting you, Fizz! I think the article you linked raises an interesting question, which is why this story has traction. It's clearly tapped into something. I just don't understand why it has, since it seems like such a non-event.
posted by craichead at 11:02 AM on October 1, 2011


I'm not sure why it is that red hair is considered attractive in women and usually not-attractive in men.

It's that pasty white skin, which tends to look much better on women than it does on men. Now and then you get a male redhead who tans, and then the colouring looks really attractive.

I generally shy away from announcing that I don't like pasty-white skinned redheads, since I am one myself.
posted by orange swan at 11:04 AM on October 1, 2011


Growing up, nobody I knew used the term "ginger" or made any of the "have no soul" type jokes. My red-headed brother never really caught much flak for it that I know of (though maybe looking different subtly increased schoolyard harassment?). It was mostly just a reason for old women to fawn over him.

Today, this kind of thing is so endemic in my school that some of my red-headed students make those kind of jokes themselves. I haven't seen anything that rises to the level of serious hatefulness or prejudice, but there's clearly a feeling that it's a thing people should be made fun of for, and it does give me some concerns for when my little guy starts school with his lovely red curls.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 11:07 AM on October 1, 2011


I'm not sure why it is that red hair is considered attractive in women and usually not-attractive in men.

Maybe it's perceived as feminine? Plenty of other physical attributes are considered attractive primarily in one sex or the other. Consider broad shoulders or round hips.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:07 AM on October 1, 2011


Pale-skinned, red-headed/strawberry blond men are one of my types. Send them all my way.
posted by Summer at 11:08 AM on October 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm not sure why it is that red hair is considered attractive in women and usually not-attractive in men.

*ahem*cough* Robert Redford
posted by Fizz at 11:10 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


We actually looked for a red haired donor and couldn't find one without a family history including unpleasant diseases. I would have been happy with a larger red haired donor pool. Guess I really am in the minority.
posted by uberfunk at 11:10 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I’m with Dr.Enormous, I’ve never heard of making fun of red haired people until the last couple of years. I’m not sure why this is a thing now. Is it an English thing, and we’re hearing about it in the states more now? I always thought red hair was something desirable.
posted by bongo_x at 11:15 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's a British thing. Mainly it's just one more way for kids to be hateful towards each other.
posted by Summer at 11:18 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's an english thing that's been brought over to the US recently, for some reason.

I blame South Park
posted by empath at 11:23 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Red Haired men with pale skin are hot.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:25 AM on October 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'd like to draw the conclusion that red headed males are more inclined to give sperm than people actually want them to give sperm, but I'm reasonably sure that's true of any man, regardless of hair color.

Mefi swap?
posted by hal_c_on at 11:25 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


This was posted yesterday in the thread on the reality tv guy with seventy bio kids. The sperm bank has 70 liters of red head sperm in stock. My theory is red hair guys ejaculate real high volume loads.
posted by bukvich at 11:28 AM on October 1, 2011


These jokes, they write themselves?
posted by cjorgensen at 11:29 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


You might as well talk about the red cross's "war on gay men"

That ban has been in place for so long I'd forgotten that a blood transfusion can turn you gay.
posted by straight at 11:31 AM on October 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would preferentially choose a red-headed donor, should I need to use a sperm bank.

(always looked like Diana - wanted to look like Anne Shirley)
posted by jb at 11:32 AM on October 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's a safe group to bully: they're easy to spot, guaranteed to be outnumbered, and not protected by all the usual rules about discrimination against a certain sex, race, religion, ethnic group, etc.
posted by pracowity at 11:44 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am waiting for the "We will fight on beaches, landing grounds, In fields, in streets, and in sperm banks." Then it will be a proper war.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:48 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Agree with empath --- I thought this was a British way of targeting Irish and Scots from way back when or something.

And as for a war against red headed males? Well, if it is war of absolute adorableness, then clearly, the red headed males are gonna win.
posted by zizzle at 11:49 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


<snicker>
posted by jeffburdges at 11:50 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's weird, bullying pretty people for being pretty.

Actually, with sperm donorship, it's discriminating against unique people for not being average enough. When it comes to guys under 6 feet tall, there's no hub bub. I mean, it's totally understandable that women want tall men! But when it's redheads, it's supposed to be unfair? Meh.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:50 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


and here i was thinking they just dumped it all in a big vat and let nature roll the dice.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:55 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The "gingers" thing is out of control. It's all happened in the last few years. I don't know why, I think maybe there was a South Park episode that sparked it? The resurgence I mean. Then it became an LOL internet meme, a youtube theme and it just spun out of control. It's crazy though, and it's something I've totally noticed. All of a sudden it became "funny" and totally okay to just bully the shit out of "gingers". Kind of disturbing.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:03 PM on October 1, 2011


PS someone should link to the M.I.A. vid, I would but I'm on my phone.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:05 PM on October 1, 2011


For the record, this is what a war against red headed males would look like: Born Free.
posted by nooneyouknow at 12:05 PM on October 1, 2011


Kind of disturbing.

And simply not very funny.
posted by Cerulean at 12:05 PM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


A couple of Gs, an R and an E, an I and an N
Just six little letters all jumbled together
Have caused damage that we may never mend
And it's important that we all respect
That if these people should happen to choose
To reclaim the word as their own
It doesn't meant the rest of you have a right to it's use
posted by empath at 1:52 PM on October 1


I just heard this for the first time a few days ago! Cracked me up.
(it's Prejudice by Tim Minchin - check it out)
posted by flex at 12:05 PM on October 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Apparently my mind meld with nooneyouknow is functioning.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:07 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this definitely wasn't a "thing" when I was growing up. I had a couple of redheaded friends and I don't recall them being teased much more than usual. I mean, I was around, and I was a much richer target for that... Then again, I grew up in a somewhat Irish Catholic neighborhood.

Even today, with the meme spreading online and via South Park, I don't think for Americans it's that serious, whereas in the UK it certainly comes across as just about as serious as the US discrimination against blacks that you can still find in certain quarters, magnified by yob culture's overall casual violence. But is this something where Canada is a few inches, still, closer to British culture? Don't they have about the same number of Irish immigrants?

*ahem*cough* Robert Redford

Not to mention, for their part, David Bowie or Paul Bettany or Ewan MacGregor (admittedly, all of them tend to vary their hair color with style or role being played).
posted by dhartung at 12:08 PM on October 1, 2011


Sperm bank tells redheads to go fuck themselves somewhere else.
posted by Apropos of Something at 12:09 PM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


HuronBob: "something, something red-handed something."

If your red hairs are coming off on your hand, you really should have that checked out. Doesn't sound good.
posted by Apropos of Something at 12:11 PM on October 1, 2011


Any credence to the idea that since red hair is recessive, its presence may be a sign of inbreeding? I've heard that before, but haven't seen much evidence for it.

What about the idea that red hair, left handed-ness and so on may be remnant Neanderthal traits?

Please don't take any of this disparaging. I find red-haired men quite attractive.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:11 PM on October 1, 2011


Yeah. Let me say this. As the red headed girl in a school with lots of red headed boys but only little ole female me? I was the target. Always. Because unlike those red headed boys, I had freckles ALL OVER. Still do.

And seriously, I've had multiple people over the course of my life ask me if I had something wrong with my skin, because they had never seen freckles all over like I have.

And being ginger, and freckled?

Yeah. Forget being outdoorsy without layering on the sunblock or just living with blisters constantly.

Yeah. Forget ever being able to find anything that looks with your skin color.

Yeah. Forget being remembered as anything other than the girl with the freckles and red hair.

And bonus? I look nothing like my parents. The redheaded stepchild joke got really old.

There are still a lot of people out there who will bully ginger kids. Even here in the states. You just have to be different enough looking from normal.
posted by strixus at 12:13 PM on October 1, 2011


What about the idea that red hair, left handed-ness and so on may be remnant Neanderthal traits?

Lets just... Not.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:15 PM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I spent about six months with my hair dyed red when I was 17 - my skin's pink-toned and pasty, and the colour was ginger red, not dramatic Nicole Kidmanesque red - and was floored by the amount of abuse I got from strangers. I've always found red hair really attractive, even with skin the same colour as mine, and just didn't expect to have strangers shout at me on the street or kids circling me on a bus. I spent school as a glasses-wearing alt loner and I've had plenty of specific and random harassment, but nothing like this.

Must start winking at red-haired men to redress the balance.
posted by carbide at 12:29 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


What about the idea that red hair, left handed-ness and so on may be remnant Neanderthal traits?

Neanderthals had red hair, but it had a different genetic origin

Red hair is probably the result of a mutation that's not selected against in northern climates with less sun.
posted by empath at 12:38 PM on October 1, 2011


I like gingers. Male and female. They look mad-headed, in the best possible way. I appreciate that kind of thing.
posted by Decani at 12:48 PM on October 1, 2011


I think one of the things that's so depressing about the South Park episode making people think it is ok to bully red heads is it basically confirms all of Dave Chappelle's fears about racial comedy.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:49 PM on October 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think one of the things that's so depressing about the South Park episode making people think it is ok to bully red heads...
posted by nathancaswell at 8:49 PM on October 1


This whole "taking a joke" thing. I suspect you may need to do some reading around the subject.
posted by Decani at 12:52 PM on October 1, 2011


Heh, I just clicked on this thread after admiring (ok, salivating over) some pictures of Brooks Reed (yes, yes, I'm a dirty old lady).
posted by medeine at 12:59 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Any credence to the idea that since red hair is recessive, its presence may be a sign of inbreeding?

No.

I will never, ever use the word "ginger". Redhead.

Also, fuck South Park forever.

Also the British.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:59 PM on October 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


For the record, this is what a war against red headed males would look like: Born Free.

R. Gavras also made a full-length movie based on the same premise: Notre jour viendra / Our Day Will Come. And Karim Boukercha shot an brief but interesting on-set documentary on the topic of redheads.
posted by progosk at 1:01 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


flex, that Tim Minchin piece is great. I love him.

I’ve never heard of making fun of red haired people until the last couple of years.

bongo_x, I am guessing you aren't a redhead. (Redhead representing...)

Root Ginger
posted by madamjujujive at 1:04 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


This whole "taking a joke" thing. I suspect you may need to do some reading around the subject.

I don't think you understand what I'm saying. I think the creators of South Park wrote the "ginger" episode intending to point out the ridiculousness of racism. Unfortunately I think what it did was make people think that it was funny to claim that "gingers" were some kind is soulless others. At least in America. I really do think the South Park episode was responsible for the anti-redhead fad. The timing is too neat. You can call me humorless I guess, that's your perogative. You're wrong, but go ahead. For the record I think South Park is funny. The 200,000 dipshits imitating South Park thinking they are funny, not so much.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:05 PM on October 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


The Pain of Being a Redhead
posted by pracowity at 1:07 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a pale, rarely-freckling, redhead -- strawberry-blonde which darkened to auburn in my mid-20s -- I have never gotten a single negative comment on my hair color. Thus, I often feel that conversations about the persecution of redheads would benefit from a handy reference chart, a taxonomy as it were of shades of red, ranking the shades by how likely they are to draw negative notice. To wit: that extraordinary orange-red, often accompanied by TONS of freckles, seems to me to be the shade we're talking about when we say redheads get picked on. (And it's gorgeous, strikingly unusual, and I don't understand the social stigma AT ALL, and if I were in the market for a baby daddy, I'd be hunting down a brassy-haired fellow so we could raise strapping passels of carrot-topped children.)

But anyway. In my experience, you should not waste your pity on the auburn-haired and strawberry blonde.
posted by artemisia at 1:08 PM on October 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


P.S. But I will say this: back in the lighter days, I used to identify as a flat-out blonde. It did signal something of a personality shift when I finally was informed by the DMV that, no, I am in fact a redhead. Suddenly I felt so much more interesting. (Here I feel the need to insert a "wink" emoticon, but recent Metatalk threads compel me to restrain myself.)
posted by artemisia at 1:09 PM on October 1, 2011



Any credence to the idea that since red hair is recessive, its presence may be a sign of inbreeding? I've heard that before, but haven't seen much evidence for it.

What about the idea that red hair, left handed-ness and so on may be remnant Neanderthal traits?

Please don't take any of this disparaging. I find red-haired men quite attractive.


Not a Gingerist

posted by Cerulean at 1:18 PM on October 1, 2011


My father has red hair, and, while my brother certainly inherited it, I ended up a dirty blond. I can't say the same for my facial hair, unfortunately, which is why I always buy a new razor before making my donations.
posted by rollick at 1:19 PM on October 1, 2011


Since puberty, volunteer sperm donors have been offering their services to me practically any time I flash my red hair in public. If it's mainly red-haired ladies that would want to buy red-haired sperm, I'm not surprised the demand is low.
posted by milk white peacock at 1:25 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Growing up, nobody I knew used the term "ginger" or made any of the "have no soul" type jokes. My red-headed brother never really caught much flak for it that I know of (though maybe looking different subtly increased schoolyard harassment?). It was mostly just a reason for old women to fawn over him.

I agree with every word of this paragraph. I don't think I learned what the term ginger meant until I was in my 20s and the "have no souls" thing until even later. Before that it was "carrot top", which every school photographer seemed to think was the funniest thing in the world to say.

Being fawned over by old women also strikes true. I grew up my entire life thinking red hair was a valuable asset, since every woman I met growing up said she would die for my hair colour. It's only been the last few years I've heard this "beat him like a red-headed stepchild" business. For me it's like learning having sparkling white teeth is considered a sign something is wrong with what you're eating.
posted by Adam_S at 1:36 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I once read an article that red-haired people have fewer hair follicles, thinner skin and are crazy.
posted by longsleeves at 1:37 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


For me it's like learning having sparkling white teeth is considered a sign something is wrong with what you're eating.

To be fair, I kind of distrust people who don't drink coffee.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:38 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it just me, or has MetaFilter been totally obsessed with IVF recently? And incidentally, how come nobody else seems to see the totally unethical implications of creating new people, red-haired or no, in a world full to bursting with seven billion people, most of whom are starving? Shouldn't we be focusing more on adoption than on all the new wonderful ways of making elite little Western people to consume more precious resources at a brisk clip?
posted by Mooseli at 1:41 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


And incidentally, how come nobody else seems to see the totally unethical implications of creating new people, red-haired or no, in a world full to bursting with seven billion people, most of whom are starving? Shouldn't we be focusing more on adoption than on all the new wonderful ways of making elite little Western people to consume more precious resources at a brisk clip?
I dunno. Another thing that metafilter has been semi-obsessed with lately is the rampant abuses in the international adoption system, up to and including outright kidnapping and baby selling. It's not as if international adoption is without its own ethical conundrums and accusations of first-world privilege.
posted by craichead at 1:54 PM on October 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


As Russell Peters said, there are over 1.15 million of us. Sooner or later you're going to get fucked by one of us.
posted by Fizz at 1:54 PM on October 1, 2011


nobody else seems to see the totally unethical implications of creating new people, red-haired or no, in a world full to bursting with seven billion people, most of whom are starving?

This point is to my experience always part of posts dealing with fertility treatment.
posted by longsleeves at 2:02 PM on October 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is so completely weird to me. I've always thought of red hair (and green eyes and freckles) as this rare and beautiful phenotype. My wife has some redheads in her family and I would have been delighted if any of our kids had had red hair. (Of course I'm delighted with our light-brown-haired girls too.)
posted by straight at 2:28 PM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


"I'm not sure why it is that red hair is considered attractive in women and usually not-attractive in men. Actually, I think it's partly that most red-headed women have dyed red hair, and so they're cultivating a certain dramatic look that isn't necessarily there with natural red hair."

I'm a red-haired woman -- mine's a dark auburn, not a bright orangey-red, and it's curly.

My law school's career services office, when I was interviewing as a 2L (2002ish?), told me I needed to dye my hair brown and iron it flat, because it looked "too ethnic" and "like I was trying to stand out and make a point with it" and that law firms wouldn't hire me because my HAIR wasn't conservative enough. I was like, "are you fucking kidding me? Is it 1920? Red hair is 'ethnic'?" I could not even imagine what kind of instructions they gave to, say, black women and their hair. I told them there was no universe in which I was introducing chemical color to my hair to make it look "more natural." (I actually fairly stridently made the point that they were reinforcing damaging, limited, and unattainable standards of female beauty, and that I didn't think that was their appropriate function, particularly when it was a natural attribute and not a "chosen" attribute.)

So that summer, when I was working in DC, I went to some attorney networking event for summer associates and a partner at another firm said, "You're a democrat." (His first sentence.) I was like, "Um, what?" He said, "Well, your hair is just so ethnic. If you were a republican, you'd at least straighten it." (Yes, almost exactly the same words.) I was like WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE???? And seriously, how is red hair "ethnic"? And why are professionals using the word "ethnic" to describe apparently undesirable traits? WHY ARE SO MANY THINGS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE????

I was so delighted to get back to the midwest where professional women can have natural hair.

My worst red-hair related experience was a creepy dude in a bar following me around begging to bang me because he wanted a "hair color trifecta." Worst. pickup line. ever.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:54 PM on October 1, 2011 [31 favorites]


Red-headed males who have hairy chests and grow nice beards...

Give them all my phone number. Give them all my address. I'll make time in my calendar, really I will.
posted by hippybear at 3:17 PM on October 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, my facebook wall runneth over with gay guys bragging about their gingerbeards.
posted by roger ackroyd at 3:31 PM on October 1, 2011


The problem isn't that red hair is particularly undesirable in general, or that it's painful to be a redhead. The problem is that they're accepting sperm donations in Scandinavia where red hair is common, and donating it to people all over the world where it is not. As painful as being a redheaded child is, imagine being a redheaded child with parents who look nothing at all like you....
posted by miyabo at 3:32 PM on October 1, 2011


Cryos' surplus includes 140,000 doses of redhead sperm, and that's more than enough for now. And by the way, they've got plenty of quintessential blond-haired, blue-eyed Scandinavian sperm too. Unless you're a brown-eyed gent, in fact, don't bother Cryos.


That article title is totally sensationalist and so is this post!
posted by 200burritos at 3:56 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


My father had red hair. He was nicknamed "Red". (And like Red Foreman on "That '70s Show" went bald enough for people to wonder why he was called "Red")

I was born very blonde. Blonde enough that when I first went to school with my crew cut (mandate by my father, who was an ex-Marine and, as I said, had already gone mostly bald), my hair was nearly invisible and I did resemble Charlie Brown. THAT was bully bait in the 1960s.

My hair has permanently darkened over the years, so much that when I renewed my driver's license in my 30s, I was reclassified from "BLOND" to "LIGHT BROWN".

But I digress...

The first Tom Robbins book I ever read was "Still Life With Woodpecker", which in its own back-cover blurb declared: "It also deals with the problem of redheads." But the two main characters were redheads, and relatively likeable (more so than some of Robbins' protagonists, I later learned), and the book left me kinda wishing I were a redhead. And if I couldn't be, one of my greatest (still unfulfilled) ambitions was to tickle every individual freckle on a sexy redhead's body (no, not you, fella).

I also remember the first line of the main verse of Randy Newman's "I Love L.A." about "riding down Imperial Highway, big nasty redhead by my side", and one of the greatest ironies of my life was that, due to a family tragedy, I was once driven to the L.A. Airport, via Imperial Highway by a VERY red-haired lady in her convertible, essentially living out that musical scenario on one of the saddest days of my life.

Still, I would never call a redhead "ginger", not even as a joke. Or "carrot top". DEFINITELY NOT "carrot top".
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:10 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


>I think the creators of South Park wrote the "ginger" episode intending to point out the ridiculousness of racism<

That’s what I thought when I first saw the M.I.A. video when it came out, that it was a gross exaggeration to make a point, because seriously, no one could have anything against redheads. That would be dumber than "Short People".

All this talk of women with red, curly hair and freckles, is it getting warm in here?
posted by bongo_x at 4:16 PM on October 1, 2011


Still Life with Woodpecker is excellent! On the flip side, I remember the aliens in one of the Tripods books had a penchant for capturing, murdering, and taxidermying redheaded children.
posted by miyabo at 4:24 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


@ Eyebrows McGee: In corporate life, first they dictated what clothing is suitable for their precious offices, now they want to dictate our bodies?!?¡?¿! I have had a big enough problem with the first concept, but the second one us really cause for someone's ass to be legally kicked!
Why in the name of God should you
have to harm your body against
your will? Chemical dyes are
harmful. Ironing your hair can
damage it. Chemical straighteners
are even worse.
At one time naturally curly red hair was envied. Ethinic? Why is that being used as a negative?
I know in these desperate times HR people think that they and their bosses are God Almighty, but that is so wrong, so very wrong.
I hate those people
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:43 PM on October 1, 2011


As an iron-haired (as opposed to you copper-haired majority) person myself, I've had several people suggest I should find some other ginger and make beautiful red-haired children, all with my busted protein that makes it hard to process alcohol or make melanin.

Even with those disadvantages, I never got this "gingers are ugly" thing. But, we are a minority for a reason, I guess. It can't just be that the genetic expression is recessive.

Oh, wait. It does.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:13 PM on October 1, 2011


After I was born, my dad (a redhead) called my grandmother to give her the news. Her first question, "does she have red hair?" (nope.)

I am a fan of redheads. I guess if my husband's own sperm hadn't done the job (our daughter has gorgeous red hair ) I would have picked a redhead.
posted by vespabelle at 5:29 PM on October 1, 2011


that makes it hard to process alcohol

What? Really? I've never heard this.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:30 PM on October 1, 2011


hippybear--

i think we will have to arrange a visiting schedule
posted by PinkMoose at 6:27 PM on October 1, 2011


I vote we start a Save The Redheads campaign. Redheaded dudes are hot. These sperm bank folks are fools.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:24 PM on October 1, 2011


Well Hippy Bear and I are more than willing to save bearded, hairy chested, red headed men, and well I am more than willing to save red headed women, and the odd Irish Setter.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:28 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, it's true. We have no souls.

the joke is that neither do any of you
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 7:32 PM on October 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Agree with empath --- I thought this was a British way of targeting Irish and Scots from way back when or something.

This. The bad thing is we picked it up ourselves. I'm from a not very redheaded part of Ireland and I hear ginger jokes all the time. There's a certain amount of postcolonial self-hatred in it I think.
posted by kersplunk at 8:08 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well. I have some Celtic genes and one of my grandmothers had auburn hair, so if Mrs. Lewis is willing to lend him out, I'd be down with making more adorable redheads with Mr. Lewis.

Anything to help the cause, right?
posted by droplet at 8:55 PM on October 1, 2011


Philosopher Dirtbike--I saw what you did there.
*snicker*



The redheaded stepchild joke got really old.
posted by strixus

But did the beatings continue?
posted by BlueHorse at 9:16 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a red beard, inherited from my grandfather, the rest of my hair is chestnut brown. My best man's hair is flaming red so when we were kids, everyone called him Ginge. These days we call him by his proper name since he's a Doctor, but there was never any stigma attached.
posted by arcticseal at 9:18 PM on October 1, 2011


Also, until I read this thread and googled a bit, I had absolutely no idea that gingerism was once actually a serious form of discrimination in the UK. Nuts!
posted by miyabo at 9:29 PM on October 1, 2011


Growing up, nobody I knew used the term "ginger" or made any of the "have no soul" type jokes. My red-headed brother never really caught much flak for it that I know of (though maybe looking different subtly increased schoolyard harassment?). It was mostly just a reason for old women to fawn over him.

I agree with every word of this paragraph. I don't think I learned what the term ginger meant until I was in my 20s and the "have no souls" thing until even later. Before that it was "carrot top", which every school photographer seemed to think was the funniest thing in the world to say.

Being fawned over by old women also strikes true. I grew up my entire life thinking red hair was a valuable asset, since every woman I met growing up said she would die for my hair colour. It's only been the last few years I've heard this "beat him like a red-headed stepchild" business. For me it's like learning having sparkling white teeth is considered a sign something is wrong with what you're eating.
posted by Adam_S at 1:36 PM on October 1
It's true. I have Danny Bonaduce colored red hair. (to the extent that my name became "Danny" sophomore year of HS) Old. Ladies. Love. It. They just can't get enough of it. I give my (departed) great-grandmother a pass, as she claimed to have had the same color hair in her youth and was being wistful. The rest of them can please stop.

As for not wanting my sperm, I would guess that it falls into some kind of not wanting the recessive genes subconscious urge. All other things being equal, males seem to want diversity in their females, while females seek the strongest genes they can find. (Speaking of many species, not using the misogynist "female")
posted by gjc at 10:25 PM on October 1, 2011


My mom is a redhead and she was certainly made fun of in her youth because of it (this was the 1950s). Of course, Anne Shirley broke a slate over Gilbert Blythe's head for calling her "carrots" and that was over a hundred years ago.

My dad likes to leeringly say, "I slow down for brunettes, I brake for blondes, but I back up for redheads". It's less creepy than it sounds when he says it.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:59 PM on October 1, 2011


Talk of redheads always brings out the creepies, too. I understand that we all think people lIke to be fawned over due to their genetic trait, but, no, it is creepy.

I'm guessing people who seek sperm donations are more often than not less creepy, then?

Mentioned earlier in the thread, and ignored, is the fact stated (parenthetically) that blonde-haired, blue-eyed men are also bring rejected alongside red-haired men.
posted by jabberjaw at 12:15 AM on October 2, 2011


I had absolutely no idea that gingerism was once actually a serious form of discrimination in the UK

You have no idea.

I can't believe that in a thread concerning redheads and sperm donation, nobody had made this tasteless joke yet.
posted by Skeptic at 2:26 AM on October 2, 2011


I'm a male redhead. I'm also short (5'5") and my mom let my hair grow quite long when I was very young, so old ladies always complemented my mother on having such a "cute little girl."

Yes, I was bullied in grade school, but I think it was more about my interest in sci-fi (which didn't become an okay thing until the mid 1970's).

However, having a rare body characteristic always results in attention, which can be both positive and negative... the old "blessing and curse" thingy.

In my mind, Simon Pegg represents the redhead we've all met sometime in our life; witty, clever, enthusiastic, ability to charm others... these are the survival techniques one develops to combat bullying (or at least it worked for me). Make 'em laugh and they (sometimes) won't beat you up.

I can also confirm there is definitely a segment of females who are attracted to redheads. Especially funny redheads.
posted by valkane at 3:16 AM on October 2, 2011


SpermFilter.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:39 AM on October 2, 2011


I only remember one person getting teased for their red hair, and that was generlly leveraged into also teasing him about being rather flamboyantly feminine. *shrug*

My four kids all have red hair of slightly different shades. My wife & I are both half-Irish, she balanced with French genes and me with German & Norwegian; we were both redheads as kids but both of us shifted (her to brown with highlights, me to brownish-reddish-blah). I am hopeful that my kids will keep their beautiful hair for ever.

Red Haired men with pale skin are hot.
That's usually caused by the sun burning their skin: if you listen closely, you can hear them sizzling.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:52 AM on October 3, 2011


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