Sunday, 11 May 2014

Lip Service: Ginger Nuts

It's absolutely no secret that I am an obnoxiously proud ginger, though that was not always the case. I dyed my hair all through my teenage years to get away from my true colors, as it were. However, in the recent past, from last October, I would say, there has been a wave of "pro ginger" publicity in the media, and I feel it started with the beautiful Angela Scanlons amazing documentary, Oi Ginger! 

Angela herself is a beautiful blogger and telly presenter, with the most amazing deep red locks, and her documentary was a fantastic look at the bullying, prejudice and ignorance there is surrounding the ginge. However, in my search to find the documentary in order to re-watch it, I came across a clip from The Saturday Night Show (above), wherein Brendan O'Conner mentions there being a hierarchy within the ginger culture... I have no idea why anyone would think that, to be perfectly honest. We're all ginger, and we've all been bullied. So, on we go, to look at the science and the misery... 

The Ginger Gene; The MC1R gene, is a form of Melanin with a mutation on the one of the chromosomes. This mutation has two different triggers which are responsible for the darker ginge and slightly sallower skin, which Angela has, and the lighter more flame-like red coupled with pasty, glow-in-the-dark levels of pale which I think I possess. Yeah! Science! What I'm trying to say, is that we all carry the MC1R gene, Gingers just carry a mutation, and that mutation is the same in all gingers, just presenting itself differently dependent on the individual. Therefore, there is no hierarchy, Brendan! 

A human, characterized by pale skin, freckles and bright red hair. "Gingers" are generally considered to be inferior to their more melanin-rich brethren, and thus deservingly discriminated against. Gingers are thought to have no souls. The condition, "gingervitis" is genetic and incurable. 
          The quote above is taken from Urban Dictionary.

As a kid, I was bullied quite badly for my ginger tresses and it was awful. "The roof is on fire" was a common slur during primary school, and the older I got, the worse and more vulgar the bullies got too... I was backed into corners and called such unintelligent and highly un-funny ditties as "ginger pubes" and "carrot top". The abuse did peeter out when I got past the Junior Cert, I continued to dye my noodle just to be safe, and dyed it for 2 years after I finished school. I'm not the only one who took this kind of flack, and I can prove this by sharing the article I was featured in, along with 4 other beautiful red-head ladies, who all have different shades of the ginge. 

We have all experienced bullying, prejudice and probably all have been afraid of people as a direct result of our hair color. We've all heard the jokes, the puns, we've seen memes on Facebook and Pinterest. 

For me, part of what helps me to be strong in the face of bigotry against the Ginge is looking at the amount of amazing, successful gingers there are in the public eye. Rupert Grint, all Potterheads favoite ginger, the Phelps twins, who played Fred and George, Christina Hendricks from Mad Men, Ed Sheeran, Tim Minchin, and my personal favorite, Karen Gillan. 

Source: Cheezburger

What I'm here to say is, screw the haters. Laugh with the people who try to belittle you. They wont continue if they don't get a reaction. Bullies want a reaction, a specific one. They want you to feel bad so they can feel good. Their power is in your pain. If you reclaim that power by laughing along with them so they don't get that powerful feeling, you will be left in peace pretty quickly. I laugh along with people when they try to make fun of my hair color, because they have no power over my self esteem anymore. Many of my friends make ginger jokes, much like "woman" jokes and I laugh because they're now funny to me.

Now, what I do want to say is there will be times you cant laugh it off. There will be times you are deeply hurt, but they won't be half as frequent if you can learn to laugh with them. 

After all, if you don't laugh, you'l cry. 

Drop me a comment, 
Let me know what you thought!