November 5 – Love Your Red Hair Day

Posted on November 5, 2018

There's this word that is often said as an insult: ginger

Of course, ginger is a root used to make some food yummy and used in some medicines. 

It's used to make mmmmmm ginger ale. And it's used to make a yummy powdery spice - you know, the spice used to make gingerbread and ginger snaps!

But somewhere along the way, someone started calling redheads gingers, even though the color of the ginger root and powdered spice ginger is not a bit red - and nothing like the colors most commonly seen in natural redheads' hair. And, it turns out, most redheads feel insulted by that label.

So don't use it!

Fictional character
Anne (of Green Gables)
hated being teased
for her red hair.
Also, no-go on terms like carrot-top and nicknames like Weasley or Red. People with red hair have names - use them! 

(Of course, if very beloved good friends love you to call them Red, that's fine - but make sure they really do love the nickname!)

Everybody loves the Weasleys, but most
people don't want to hear, "Your last name must
be Weasley!" ten times a day.
One word many redheads like is auburn. That words is usually used for dark red hair or reddish-brown hair - but if someone with bright or light red hair uses it for him/herself, you should respect that. Another beloved term for red hair is strawberry blond.

Prince Harry is one of the most
famous and popular natural redheads
in the world.
Natural redheads are very rare. Less than 2% of the world's population has red hair! Of course, that translates to a lot of people - around 140 million of them! - but they are few and far between. 

(Actually, blond hair is much more common than red hair in babies and young children, but blond hair tends to get darker - the brown hair we call brunette - as people get older, so only about 5% of adults in Europe and North America are natural blonds. That's not a lot greater than the percentage of natural redheads!)

Naturally red hair is most common in Scotland and Ireland - but still, a minority of people in those two countries boast of this hair color. Only about 13% of Scots and 10% of Irish have naturally red hair. 

Some natural redheads live in Asia or Africa (or have Asian or African ancestry). This is because many instances of red hair and freckles is a result of a particular gene - MC1R - and when both parents are carriers of the recessive MC1R gene, the result is red hair and freckles. This explains the Celtic (Scot and Irish) redheads, too - because way more folks living in or from those countries have the recessive version of this gene.

Did you know that the famous "redhead"
Lucille Ball was a natural brunette?
Being a very rare minority, redheads are sometimes mocked or insulted, but they are also often treated as rare and special in a good way. A lot of people dye their hair to look like a natural redhead, for at least parts of their lives (and of course some people dye their hair very UNnatural red colors for parts of their lives!).

Today is all about natural redheads recognizing their hair as rare and special - celebrating their hair - and maybe even reclaiming the hated word ginger. Whatever your natural hair color and texture, you should be able to say "I love my hair!"

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