'Smart Brunettes, Dumb Blondes, Spunky Reds': What Does Your Hair Color Say?

If blondes have more fun and gentlemen prefer them, then why do blondes get such a bad rap?

OK, stop me if you have heard this one: It starts with three blondes walking into a bar and ends with some variation of 'blondes are dumb, haha."

It is a ubiquitous punchline, one we all know well. In the UK, television anchor Mariella Frostrup says she fights the stereotype everyday. Of course, one might ask why she keeps her hair blonde, but that is another story...

We all know it is true. Brunettes (like me, right now) use words like "ubiquitous" and blondes can't change a light bulb. Redheads, meanwhile, are wild and full of spunk. As someone who dyes my hair a different color every few months, I know a thing or two about the assumptions people make.

Here are some:

  1. Black hair: Those with black hair (black heads?!) are seen as dark and mysterious. Think Bettie Page or Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. It is a deep hair color that makes people assume you, too, are deep and dark. This is the hair color high school girls who want to hang out in coffee shops, smoking cigarettes and reading poetry often go for. It is a very sexy color, but also bold and confident. Think Monica Bellucci, Lucy Liu and Salma Hayek.
  2. Red hair: "When I see a redhead, I always assume they are kind of quirky in a good way. I know a redheaded woman who is pragmatic and conservative, but because of her hair, I think of her as a free spirit," my friend M told me. And it is true. A friend with a red-haired son told me that people always assume he is spunky and hard to manage. Think "Red-headed stepchild." It is a unique color, so people often assume that you, too, are unique and quirky. Of all the hair colors I have sported over the years, red is my perennial favorite. Famous redheads include Marcia Cross, Cynthia Nixon and Rita Hayworth.
  3. Blonde hair: Of all the colors I have been, blonde was the most dramatic and when I was blonde, people treated me differently, no doubt. I was simple and silly and I found myself acting that way because people treated me that way (and round and round). Though I have known many, many smart blondes, the stereotype persists. Famous blondes include Marilyn Monroe, Jessica Simpson and Pamela Anderson.
  4. Brown hair: My current color is a deep brown and there is something eminently more serious about it. Though many brunettes say people assume you are smart, my experience with the color is that they assume nothing. Brown is a blank slate and you can really prove yourself based on merit, not just stereotypes. Is it fair? Probably not. But it is a good color to be when you want people to look at something other than your appearance. Famous brunettes include Katie Holmes, Jennifer Garner and Angelina Jolie.

What color is your hair and what does it say about you?


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