sophiestockings

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

Month: March, 2012

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

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Self-Image

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.

Tis’ The Season To Be Jolly.

My self-esteem has been affected by the fact that I have ginger hair. Aside from issues with my family I have for all my life had to deal with other members in society whether they are friends or not. They have always used the colour of my hair against me as they are all too aware that I am different from them. My self-esteem was damaged because not only did I have to live with the idea that I looked different from others I actually had them tell me on a daily basis, essentially I was judged daily on the colour of my hair. Even with friends I was not safe from the comments, when we were joking around together and making comments and jokes being ‘’ginger’’ was an insult used against me. Even in the most light-hearted of situations being ‘’ginger’’ can surface as an issue: In December 2009 British supermarket chain Tesco had to withdraw a conversional Christmas card which left the public offended it read: ‘’Santa loves all kids. Even ginger ones’’.

Davinia

Ginger. The Early Years.

For a period of my life I began to realise that I didn’t look like the rest of my family, unlike myself the rest of my family didn’t have many defining characteristics. In fact, my appearance was so different I began to question my role in the family. I went through Tuckman’s team development model heavily applied to my family once my brother and sister where born, I began to realise the stark differences in the way we looked and this caused a lot of tensions between myself and the rest of my family. Once formed as a family ‘’storming’’ occurred for many years as I felt that I was so unlike the rest, perhaps this is because they were all typically blonde and brunette with similar skin whereas I was ginger and freckled all over. As time went on however we were able to ‘’norm’’ as a family because I grew into an image of my mother, although we may not look the same in terms of hair or eye colour we both share similar facial features such as the nose. 15 years on from the birth of my youngest sibling we as a group are finally able to ‘’perform’’ because I no longer feel like the black sheep.

Sophie ”Ginger” Stockings

Whilst still living in Essex, London I was experiencing a vast variety of different cultures, races, ethnicities and nationalities and therefore I was aware as most children in the area were, that there was alot of racial tension between conflicting groups. Being raised in a society which consisted of African, Indian, Chinese, Muslims, Sikhs ect. a lot of pressure was taken off me as an individual because the colour of my hair wasn’t considered an issue when comparing different ideologies and skin colours. Before moving to a typically white community in Lincolnshire I never truly understood nor appreciated that I was different from other children of the same race. Suddenly my red hair, pale skin and freckly appearance became apparent to me because everyone else categorised me as ”different”. For a period of time in my life I always remember the word Ginger was an operative insult used out on the playground  I would always wonder to myself ”why couldn’t have I been just like everyone else?”.