Friday, June 22, 2012


My youngest son has the most amazing red hair.

Our first son was born with a full head of dark brown hair, like my own. So it came as a shock, when Oscar popped out, fiery red. I was thrilled! I'm no scientist, but I figured my genes (brown hair, brown eyes) had won over my husband's (auburn hair, blue eyes) Obviously, I was really wrong. What do I know? LOL. So we have two beautiful, smart, sweet boys, who, aside from their hair color, look very much alike.

Now, I'm sure anyone with a baby can attest, you can't go anywhere without people commenting, or giving advice on child-rearing, or "ooing" and "ahhing" and wanting to talk to your baby or young child. Most of the time, I don't really mind. It's a way that we connect with other people.

I had this elderly lady come up to us in the mall and tell me that her husband had always wanted a son with red hair, because his best friend that he had fought beside in WW2 had red hair. :)
It's stories like that that make me smile.

Recently, it's almost become a social experiment when we are out. I can actually time it, going into the mall, when we're going to get the first comment on his hair colour.
Now, I didn't really even pay attention to this, until I had grown adults coming up and saying, "Oh! You have a little Ginger!", like he's some type of other species. Then, I started hearing about "Kick a Ginger Day" and "Ginger Kids have no Souls" ?!?!

I thought that saying "Ginger" was like calling a red-head, "Carrot top" or something. But, it's not. It's derogatory. My son is three and he's being called "a Ginger" by adults. And, no, I don't think most people who say it are being rude or unkind. Some of them may be poking fun at his pale skin and red hair. Often people pose the question "Does he have a temper to match?" (the colour of his hair) - - All of that I can deal with - - but, he has a name and "That Ginger" isn't it.

This "Ginger" issue came up recently when a friend of mine was questioning the term. She kept hearing the phrase "A Ginger" being used to describe someone and had always thought of it as a spice and couldn't make the connection.

Someone else said that it's not a new term, that one of the girls on Gilligan's Island were named Ginger - - and she had red hair. Yes, that's true. She was the "movie star". People are not thinking about the Professor or MaryAnne or Ginger when they're talking about "Ginger Kids" We are far, far from the days of Gilligan's Island. It has more to do with South Park and is intended to make fun of a certain group of people.

It's really begun to annoy me a bit.
I'm actually concerned that my son is going to be picked on because of his hair colour and pale skin! Isn't that crazy and really sad?!

What do YOU think about the term "Ginger"?


  1. I've always said "Ginger" for redheads. It's actually a British term, just like saying "fringe" instead of bangs for hair, and "torch" instead of flashlight. Side note: I'm not even British.

    This whole VERY RECENT twisting of the word "Ginger" in hair color context is from a couple South Park episodes. If you know that show, you know it is something no child should EVER be exposed to, but unfortunately we live in a world where parents just don't care. So the things above (Kick a ginger day, etc,) have come from that show. In the last two years it has turned from a harmless term meaning hair color, to....I don't know what. It's not a joke because it's cruel.

    It's sad how people can turn a simple word into a cutting reference. Just know that not everyone who uses the word use it maliciously. I NEVER would. EVER.

  2. Laura, Thanks so much for your feedback.

    It's really discouraging to find out an innocent term has been twisted to have negative connotations.

    It's filtering through our culture - - being thrown about as an insult by some, and a harmless description of the colour of someone's hair by others. I just find, once a term has been coined to hurt or discriminate against another person, it's hard to revert it back to the innocent meaning it once had.

  3. Hey great blog. I still don't like the term even it's said with positive intentions. I HATE it when people refer to me as "mixed" or "millatto" as if I'm some kind of breed of horse.
    I would rather be called "Hey, you!" At least it's implied that I am a human being.
    I think you should let people know that you would appreciate it if they didn't use the term "ginger" when referring to your son.
    Oscar and Griff are sweet little boys by the way. I love all of the posts about them!

    Sarah K

    1. Much love, Sarah.
      Glad you brought the topic up the other day!

  4. I relate to this, as you know my husband and daughter are redheads and going out with them is like being with a traveling sideshow. It seems like the color of their hair makes it ok for people to remark on them, make assumptions etc. Sadly singling out/ostracizing redheads is not new, in Holland when my husbands grandmother was young, to be a redhead was a bad thing and they were given the short end of the stick socially. According to my british friend, the term Ginger for the most part is derogatory. And my darling husband was teased within an inch of his life as a child, he even balks at the term carrot-head, and it bothers me as well now that I deal with it coming from strangers. It's frustrating to deal with.

    My plan is to help my little one own her hair color, rock her pretty little redheaded self and phooey with all the rest.

  5. Jennifer,
    I was hoping to hear what you had to say about this issue! :) My Hubby, too had red(der) hair as a child. Identical to Oscar, though now it has toned down so much, we've had people ask where our son gets his red hair, or if our boys are actually related (Really?!)
    I understand that kids are going to get teased, no matter what, BUT, there's a fine line between teasing and bullying.
    I don't want him to feel anything but great about himself, so I'm bracing for whatever impact this whole "Anti-Ginger" attitude will have on our little family. Re-enforcing self-esteem and inner strength without being a psycho Mom. ;)

  6. We used to get stopped often in shopping centres when Emma was little because her combination of dark brown hair and blue eyes is unusual here. The attention was often very awkward for her. I have been asked by total strangers if I am wearing color corrected contact lenses because there is no way that my eyes are 'that blue'. It's extraordinary and quite rude what people will say. I think differences are to be celebrated not denigrated but we are all more than hair colour or eye colour or skin colour.

    1. Kathleen,
      It's amazing sometimes, what people say. I think for the most part people are looking with admiration or fascination. After all, many people have to use contacts, or a box of hair dye to achieve a certain "look".
      I worked with a woman in college who had the most amazing blue eyes. Sometimes I'd catch myself staring at her while talking , because her eyes were such an amazing colour. So, I'm guilty of that myself. LOL. I also stare at my sons as well, but that's admiration and the fact that sometimes, I'm just amazed they're mine. LOL ;)


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