"While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats." Mark Twain

Filmography and Fantasy

Filmography does tackle these different forms of social stigma however film blurs the lines of reality and fantasy. Although in all genre of film even those intended for a specific audience some concepts are more represented as more realistic than others. Film adopts a different mode of address depending upon its intended audience which often allows for a different outcome or message to occur in its resolution.


Goffman – Social Stigma Theory

Through film we experience a multitude of social issues through catharsis; we can distance ourselves enough from the content for it to be harmless however its exploration of issues such as racism, sexism and inequality can have an effect on an audience’s perspective and psyche. The filmography of social matters stems from our social consciousness to be part of a collective. Erving Goffman believes that there are three different forms of social stigma:

  1. Overt or external deformations, such as scars, physical manifestations of anorexia nervosa, leprosy (leprosy stigma), or of a physical disability or social disability,      such as obesity.
  2. Deviations in personal traits, including mental illness, drug addiction, alcoholism, and criminal background are stigmatized in this way.
  3. “Tribal stigmas” are traits, imagined or real, of ethnic group, nationality, or of religion that is deemed to be a deviation from the prevailing normative ethnicity, nationality  or religion.

Representation of Otherness in Film


Depending on the intended audience the message of a film with regards to otherness can drastically change: this is most common in the variation between films aimed at adults and films aimed at children. Within film otherness normally takes the form of a physical or mental abnormality or a representation of a different culture. Films which are specifically aimed at both children and adults look into these important social factors the difference in the two however is the resolution which is offered to the audience.

The X-Men were named for the “X” in “Charles Xavier.” Since I am Ginger, you will be my “G-Men.”

Aside from the connotations of being ‘ginger’ the denotations are far more complex, essentially the hair colour is a mutation and therefore a recessive gene, as to why those who do have the hair colour are normally referenced to as ‘diseased’. It is believed my the masses that the hair colour will eventually die out because of its inability to compete against the dominant hair colours. The hegemonic view on the colour is that people are less likely to procreate with another ginger and therefore through selection the gene will die out or that because the gene is recessive that eventually the colour will die out. However this is a myth the colour has been promiante since the Viking era and will continue to survive for many years yet to come. In fact some research suggests that the hair colour may even date back to the era of the Neanderthals which means that perhaps the colour is in fact something hwich has been around for much longer than anticipated by society and therefore something which should not be mocked because of its ability to stand the test of time.

The Ginger Gene Revealed

Man I Feel Like A Woman.

Aside from the division of class, the term ‘ginger’ is applied differently depending on gender. Typically the term ‘ginger‘  is a male-attributed phrase whereas the term ‘red-head’ is typically female. Usually a woman with red-hair is referred to in a positive light as the term ‘red head’ generally is regarded to mean attractive or striking, however the same connotation is not applied to men.


 The collection of redheads above vary and it is fair to comment that the female gender is more attractive from these images. These images are taken from a Google search of ‘redheads’ it is clear that ‘ginger’ women are thought of as more attractive than ‘ginger’ men. Decisively, I would agree and although I am ginger myself I don’t see the appeal of celebrities such as Ed Sheeran and Rupert Grint. Personally I think feel that these two particular men are not attrative. Whereas actresses such as Isla Fisher are in my eyes beautiful. However many women are beginning to find ‘ginger’ men more and more attractive as they come into the limelight through media exposure, the images which we are now shown in magazines ect. actually promote the hair colour and is slowly shifting into a positive light. Perhaps the issues which I experienced are now a thing of the past and as society re-educates itself it will move away from previous negative connotations.

Its a poor person thing.

In a European community where the populous have mainly brown or blonde hair the connotations of the ”ginger gene” have been greatly misconstrued. In adolescence perhaps being ”ginger” is something which resides in playground taunts however as society changes rapidly and ginger celebrities are coming to the forefront of fame being ”ginger” is an issue which doesn’t seem to have the same prevalence as before. Famous singers such as Ed Sheeran, comedians such as Tim Minchin and actresses’ such as Cristina Hendricks have all moved towards making being ”ginger” socially acceptable however aside from the rich and famous those who are termed ‘low class’ seem to continue to find faults in a red heads appearance. Perhaps this class of people continue to mock the hair colour because of their own self-image or self confidence however the reasoning behind the taunts are not known entirely.

The family shown in this video clip of BBC News reside in Newcastle which is predominantly north of the UK wealth divide, living in what is largely regarded as the poor region of Britain it is not surprising that this family have been tormented on the basis of hair colour.

The link above discusses issues which the hair colour may in tale after reporting the incident regarding the family.

Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones But Words Will Never Hurt Me.

As I’ve ascended into adulthood and ”grown-up’’ the negative connotations of the word ‘ginger’ aren’t as hurtful as they were when I was in my adolescence. As I grew up I began to notice that being ginger wasn’t such a big issue after-all and all those years spent hiding my-self away under the makeup and clothing was unnecessary. I’m not exactly sure when the change occurred perhaps it was when elder men and women began to compliment my hair colour and complexion or when I had my first boyfriend but the change in mental state from positive to negative not only changed my dress sense but my ego-state. As I began to accept my self-image my confidence boosted and has lead to being the confident, social person I am today, I believe that without the shift in mental-states that I would have not become the person I am today. Goffman’s theory of Darmaturgy no longer applies to my life, I no longer feel the need to change my persona in order to be socially accepted whether that be by society in general or by a sub-culture.

Ginger & I Know It


As a teenager my Self-Image became confused with pale skin and flame red hair my fashion-choices were consciously of black or grey items, this is because for years I thought that my skin tone and hair colour clashed with the current trends – this very quickly lent to my involvement in the sub-culture of Goth. As a sub-culture being Goth meant that I could cover up with dark heavy materials and clothing, I felt far more comfortable in Gothic clothing than anything else the dark colours and heavy makeup distracted from the fact that if I were to wear clothes from the main-stream or high street that I would perhaps look strange or different from other girls in my age group. The sub-culture was a safety blanket and my self-esteem was greatly improved, I found comfort in friends who were part of the same sub-culture as we all looked the same. It was comforting to know that we all looked the same and as a group I was less likely to be singled out. I also appreciated that fact that the people in this sub-culture understood the fact that the term ‘ginger’ was insensitive and steered from labelling me with the name.

International Kick A Ginger Day

Although the media’s representation of ‘gingers’ is usually for comic effect there have been some harrowing results as society take the message too far. After South Park aired the serious of anti-ginger episodes there was a growing concern for people’s safety. In November 2008 Facebook received a lot of criticism from after a group page was established entitled ‘National Kick a Ginger Day’ as a result a 14-year-old boy was repeatedly kicked by his school peers just because of the colour of his hair.

I have never experienced such cruelty because of the colour of my hair but the fact that others have been tormented does affect the way I see and feel about myself, because of such video’s above I do wonder to myself how I appear to others and wonder about what they think of me, do they actually believe that I am different from them because of what a TV program says? Cooley’s Looking Glass Theory applies to my life because sometimes I find myself believing that others have a predetermined idea of who I am based on my appearance.

Why So Serious?

Prejudice against red-heads and gingers’ has been generated not only by the general public but through media interpretation, however in these cases this is normally done for comic effect. A famous British comedian Catherine Tate was well known for her red-hair so much so they she began to use it as a focal point for her comedy sketch show. One sketch in particular focuses on a fictional character Sandra Kemp who was forced to seek solace in a refuge which has been specifically set up as a ginger safe-haven. As a red-head myself I find this level of comedy amusing because it is a light-hearted gesture coming from another ginger it is not to specifically put out in the media to upset or hurt anyone. However outspoken adult-themed cartoons such as South Park have lent themselves to becoming offensive as four episodes of the series are focused on being ginger and purposefully prejudice.

In fact the cartoon creation has gone so far as to openly mock any objectors to the prejudice which they felt after watching the episodes.