Is Hair Colour Really an Indication of Personality?
Stereotypes have been part and parcel of everyday life for much of mankind’s existence. Read as far back into history and you’ll find that prejudice and inappropriate assumptions are more or less embedded in the fibre of human nature.
Even today, it is a problem that perpetuates on a global basis.
For example, speak to any hairdresser in Fitzrovia and they will tell you just how many people make assumptions based entirely on your hair colour. We consider ourselves an advanced and educated society, but millions continue to believe hair colour alone is an indication of a person’s character.
At the risk of jumping immediately to the conclusion, all such assumptions are wrong, unfounded and completely nonsensical. Hence, the answer is no – hair colour is by no means an indication of personality.
The Roots of Hair Colour Stereotypes
Judging people entirely (or partially) by their hair colour is nothing new. For example, blonde hair was considered a symbol of love, desire and beauty by the Ancient Greeks. By contrast, sex workers in Ancient Rome were required by law to dye their hair blonde (or wear a wig) to identify themselves.
As for redheads, having red hair is supposedly a sign of countless character traits. Some associate red hair with having a fiery temper, some genuinely find red hair intimidating and others instinctively believe those with red hair have a superior intellect.
It’s the same with brunettes – the stereotype suggesting they don’t have ‘as much fun’ as blondes, but are nonetheless smarter by design.
To be frank, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that claims and assumptions like these are laughable at best, though potentially harmful and insulting at worst. Nevertheless, research into the whole phenomenon has shown that despite conclusive evidence to the contrary, assumptions and presumptions still perpetuate quite painfully.
Blondes vs Brunettes
As you would expect, much of it has to do with popular culture and the way people are portrayed. For example, blondes currently make up around 26% of the US female population. Yet in Vogue magazine and Playboy, the percentage of blondes featured is 35.7% and 41.2% respectively.
Incredibly, a study carried out in France found that if a blonde was waiting to cross the road, around 19% of men said they would stop. By contrast, less than 14% said they’d stop to let a brunette cross.
Blondes were found to be far more likely to be approached in nightclubs than brunettes, while blonde waitresses earned around 8% more in tips than their brunette counterparts.
Conversely, just 5% of CEOs in the top 500 FTSE listed companies at the time of the study were found to be blonde – 88% of women agreeing that having blonde hair instantly puts you at a disadvantage at a job interview. 76% said they believed brown hair would give them an advantage, while 81% of men presented with a series of photographs judged brunettes to be more intelligent.
Far from one-sided assumptions based on gender, 67% of women admitted that if they were in charge of a company and had to hire a person based on their hair colour, they would hire a brunette.
Again, all despite the fact that science hasn’t drawn a single link between hair colour and intelligence at any point in human history.
Are Redheads Really Hot Tempered?
The short answer is no, but the fact that so many people make this assumption could explain why some redheads get hot under the collar when the suggestion is made.
Increasingly, red hair is becoming one of the most desirable colours for women of a variety of ages. Though it hasn’t always been this way – surveys suggesting that most women still see red hair as disadvantageous. In fact, just 3% of women when polled believed red hair would make a good first impression at a job interview.
Redheads also took a backseat to blondes and brunettes in terms of perceived attractiveness among those polled. Which is interesting, given how a separate study found that redheads were typically interpreted as more feminine than brunettes.
Redheads (on average) were also found to have more sex on a weekly basis than both blondes and brunettes – an unexpected finding to spice up the discussion!
No Basis, No Science, No Sense
Revisiting the initial question, the answer is a clear and decisive no – hair colour is in no way indicative of character or personality.