Life

Being Ginger

April 15, 2016
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This may seem like a silly post to some, but bare with me. With the match.com controversy going on in the UK, I thought it would be a good time to address something. (Despite what it sounds like, this is not just a post for redheads). This is what it is like being ginger, and what we can do to recognize and appreciate differences in others rather than tearing them down.

Match.com's subway ad in London

Match.com’s subway ad in London

Being ginger

A few months ago, I watched a documentary on Netflix called Being Ginger.  In the film, Scott P. Harris is an american red head living in Scotland searching for love.  What becomes apparent over the course of the film is that the bulling he received from an early age affects him now as an adult.  The reason for bullying: he has red hair.being gingerDuring the film, he encounters a ton of people who either like redheads or don’t.  One of the interviews that stuck with me most was a woman he speaks with who tells him he would have no chance of dating her because she would never be with a ginger.  She said

I don’t like freckles, they are associated with being unattractive… there are no hot people with freckles. It’s like the gingerness is all speckled across your face… Everyone finds the ginger thing a bit funny…they [gingers] just get used to it because they accept that they are ginger.

It is crazy to me that a grown woman would have such strong opinions about the color of someone’s hair or their skin pigmentation.  While I appreciate her honesty, it was disappointing to me that this is not something someone grows out of.  I understand that people have features they find attractive, but it is

when we start classifying certain features as “unattractive” we set up an impossible standard of beauty.

We disregard groups of people just because they have a physical quality we are not a fan of.

Growing up a red head

Did you know that less than 2% of the world’s population has red hair?  Even more rare…red hair and blue eyes. Like, Scott, I was teased growing up for having red hair (or being ginger).  There were only a couple of redheads in my entire elementary school, and I was one of them.  I stuck out like a sore thumb.  Unlike Scott, I can’t recall a time I was made fun of and bullied to the point of not wanting to go to school (I do remember asking my mom to dye my hair blonde so I could be pretty).  Scott’s stories made me cry because the kids were so mean to him.  I was called names like “strawberry”, “cherry”, “tomato” (insert any red food here) and”french fry” (because I was white with red on top like a french fry with ketchup) more times than I can count.  These may seem like petty names, but the can really hurt the self-esteem of a little girl when heard over and over. Like Anne of Green Gables, I believed my red hair would be my “lifelong sorrow.”image

Not to mention, no one in my family has red hair so I was always questioned by strangers if I was a “milk man” baby. I probably demanded to see my birth certificate 50 times growing up because I was convinced I was adopted.

Being Ginger

The media also did a terrible job of making redheads pretty.  My red head role models as a kid were an orphan (both Annie and Pippi Longstocking) and a mermaid (who was very pretty, by the way, but let’s face it… a fish).

I blocked out most of the teasing in junior high, and by high school, the redhead jokes were primarily about how pale I was.  Rarely did I ever wear shorts or skirts in high school because I was so self-conscious about my pale skin and the names and jokes that would be made (“gah, Jessica! You’re legs are blinding me!”)  Fortunately, I had great friends (a group of us that were redheads: 2 natural and 2 adopted) that helped me to feel more confident with who I was and made it cool to be a redhead.

Being Ginger

RHMC- Red Head Moped Club

What can we do about it?

As an adult, I rarely go anywhere with my hair down without receiving a compliment from a stranger about it. This, along with a summer full of America’s Next Top Model Reruns (Tyra always tells the girls that their differences are what stand out most and make them beautiful)  has led to the realization that

Beauty is found in the unique differences in each of us.

I teach that to my kids at school every day. “Wouldn’t it be boring if we all looked the same?”  We read books, watch videos, and play games together that encourage them to appreciate others’ differences.  It’s funny that as adults we forget. Children have an excuse, they are afraid or don’t understand differences due to a lack of life experience.  Adults do not.  Adults should have the experiences and wisdom to know better.

As adults, we should:

  • Encourage our children to not tease others because of a difference (hair color, birth defect, language, ethnicity, habit…the list goes on and on).  This seems like a no brainer, but believe me, parents often forget how their children absorb the things they hear.
  • Make it a point to acknowledge these beautiful differences in others. Tell someone they are beautiful or have a beautiful quality.
  • Celebrate our differences!  Acknowledge the beauty we see in others in ourselves.
  • Catch ourselves before making fun/making a rude comment about others (in front of our children or even by ourselves)
  • Stand up for others. This can be on a small scale (correcting someone else for making fun of someone…”I think that’s beautiful”) or by petitioning and standing up for them (like the people who were offended by Match.com’s ad did) on a larger scale.

This isn’t just about being ginger.  This is about being ______ (insert your difference here).  It is about embracing your own uniqueness and loving and appreciating others’.  Unlike 8 year old me, I am no longer self conscious being the only redhead in a room full of people.  Now, I accept my rarities like a unicorn. Tan is beautiful, but white as snow skin with freckles is beautiful too.  My unique differences are part of what make me beautiful.

Embrace your own beauty. What makes you beautiful?  Leave a comment with what your unique trait is.  

Check out my experience with The Redhead Project too!

love you more too north dallas blogger plano lifestyle blogger Being ginger UK match.com London subway freckles red hair

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  • Heather @ Simply Save April 15, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Thanks for this! It’s true…the media portrays us gingers so poorly!

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 10:11 am

      It’s getting a little better. Girls now have Anna and Merida. 😉 I think we are pretty unique and fun, just wish everyone could see it.

  • Katie April 15, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Girl, you are gorgeous and YOU rock YOUR beautiful self!

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Thanks, dear! Right back at you for sure. <3

  • Ginger Marie April 15, 2016 at 8:49 am

    OMG Jessica, I love this post so much! I can’t even put into words why, you just perfectly handled a topic that many people probably shrug off! Good for you!!!

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Thanks, Ginger. It’s always hard to post current event stuff, but I think acceptance and loving others is an important lesson for everyone. 🙂

  • Mai Lyn April 15, 2016 at 9:14 am

    I love this post! Beautifully written. I never understood why gingers were made fun of. I always loved the red and thought it was so unique and beautiful.

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Thank you so much. Same reason anyone is made fun of…it’s different. I wouldn’t change my hair now. 🙂

  • Julie April 15, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Like the comment above said…such a beautifully written post. I love this: “Beauty is found in the unique differences in each of us.” I was always made fun of in high school because I was so skinny. Like, really skinny. And my daughter deals with the same thing. I keep telling her, just wait! You’ll be glad you’re so tiny when your metabolism catches up. 🙂

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 10:16 am

      Thank you, Julie. I was also very skinny and called chicken legs all throughout school. I am so glad you are telling your daughter to rock it. I have a girl at my school in 6th grade who is tall and skinny and she has people making fun of her all the time. Our talks are very similar. 😉

  • michelle mink April 15, 2016 at 9:27 am

    we have no control over the hair color we are born with. just like we have no control over our skin color. i wish that people would not use things things as a way to bully. you did a great job with this post

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Thanks, dear! I know! As kids we have little control of most of the things we are teased or bullied about. (How much money our parents make, where we live, our accents/lisps, etc.) By teaching children acceptance and practicing it ourselves maybe one day it will get easier. 🙂

  • linda spiker April 15, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Your hair is gorgeous! If I could be guaranteed that color I would do it in a heartbeat!

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Thank you, Linda! It’s always easy to find me in a crowd full of people. haha.

  • Kim Munoz April 15, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I come from a long line of brown haired, brown eyed family. I adore other colored hair. I had a few friends who had red hair growing up and I loved it. I can’t understand such nasty things being said about people over the color of their hair. Or at all but seriously, hair color?! Makes me sad.

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 10:20 am

      I know! Me too! I love all hair colors and eye colors. Hopefully one day differences will all be celebrated world-wide. 🙂

  • provokeasmileblog April 15, 2016 at 10:08 am

    #1 your hair is beautiful. #2 I LOVE being a redhead. In fact, my hair is starting to get a little darker as I get older which makes me so sad because I think it is one thing that makes me unique. Fortunately, I was never bullied for having red hair, but my father who is a red-headed Italian (which isnt as rare as you think) used to get builled when he came to the US by kids that would say – id rather be dead then red in the head! how awful is that? Great post 🙂

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 10:22 am

      I heard that one too! Thank you so much. I love it too now. So glad to hear that you were never teased or bullied. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by.

  • Brandi April 15, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Beautiful post. It baffles me why people pick at each other. Just like you said the world would be a very boring place if we all looked the same. I’d be a unicorn over a black horse any day!

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Thanks, Brandi! Wouldn’t it be? My kids and I talk about that a lot. We would all sound the same, like the same things… probably not have all the fun and creative foods and arts we do now. Just dull.

  • Chandler April 15, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I love this! I have always ADORED red hair! It’s gorgeous!

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Awh. Thank you, Chandler! 🙂

  • Chelsea April 15, 2016 at 11:40 am

    AW! I LOVED this post! I think it’s so important to empower women and send the message to be comfortable in your own skin. I have little flaws like chicken pock scars on my face that I think make me beautiful. Over anything, my heart makes me beautiful !

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      Thank you, Chelsea! That is exactly why I started this blog in the first place (empowering women to feel comfortable) and am a member of Movemeant. Great messages. Love that you have embraces your differences. I agree, our hearts are what make us the most beautiful.

  • Rebecca Hicks April 15, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Wonderful post Jessica! I know one of the first things I thought when I saw you was how gorgeous your hair was. I’ve secretly wanted to have read hair ever since reading Anne of Green Gables growing up. You are such a sweet woman and I’m so glad you shared this. We need to embrace how God made us and use those differences to glorify Him.

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Thank you, Rebecca! You are so sweet. I forgot about Anne Shirley. I mean, she was ridiculously teased, but ridiculously cool. God made us all different for a reason. We all have physical, mental, and emotional qualities that make it a better place. You are kind, inspirational, motivated, and I love seeing God work through you to benefit others. 🙂

  • Kendra Taylor April 15, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    LOVE this post….because being different is waaat more beautiful!! And yes, i adore your fabulous red locks too!! 🙂

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks, Kendra! You are so sweet.

  • Christina Rambo April 15, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    I’m learning to love getting older in general. Though it’s hard to see grey hair and laugh lines, aging is beautiful and not everyone has the chance to age. I can’t get over the “milkman” comments. Ugh! Some people.

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      I agree! It’s so weird seeing face lines and having to worry about metabolism, but there is something special about growing older with someone (e it a spouse or friends or family) that is fun. Aging is beautiful.

  • Klauss April 15, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    You absolutely fit this hair color 🙂 An excellent result!

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Stacey April 15, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Love this and love that you put your thoughts and experiences so straightforward and eloquently. Your kiddos at school are SO lucky to have you and you will change the way they view the world. Absolutely love it.

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 7:28 pm

      Stacey, Thank you so much! That is so kind of you. I love my job and am so lucky to help these kiddos grow into kind, caring, and confident bigger kids.

  • Angie Scheie April 15, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    LOVE this Jess! That documentary was really moving. I actually saw it in Seattle when Scott came and they showed it in a theatre with a hundred redheads or so. People can be so mean, but now those things I hated I embrace! Great post xo

    • Jessica April 15, 2016 at 7:53 pm

      Thank you, Angie! That would have been such a cool experience!! It was really good and I loved to watch him progress over the film. I am so glad you embrace it now. So beautiful.

  • suzanne April 15, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    You are absolutely stunning! Different IS beautiful. Love this post 🙂

    http://mykindofsweet.com/

  • Suzette April 16, 2016 at 1:31 am

    Thanks, Jessica! This post is so uplifting!

    • Jessica April 16, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      Thank you so much!

  • Neely (@Neelykins) April 17, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Your hair is perfection! I always wanted red hair!

    • Jessica April 18, 2016 at 8:15 am

      Awh. Thank you, Neely!! It’s pretty great. 😉

  • Tamara April 18, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    While I am not a redhead, I am brunette with a lot of red in my haircolouring. My whole first pregnancy I prayed for a redhead, and my oldest daughter is a red head! I love it!

    • Jessica April 18, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      That’s so fun! With all the talk of us becoming extinct, I love meeting young redheads. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Liz Jo April 18, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    You are beautiful!!! I cannot believe you were teased for your hair?? I know what it’s like to be teased over hair, but not hair color. My husband is a redhead plus blonde, it becomes more reddish in the winter and blondish in the summer and his beard is completely red throughout the year. And he has freckles for days. I love it, but I know others find it weird. I don’t.

    liz @ j for joiner

    • Jessica April 19, 2016 at 9:11 am

      Awh. Thank you, Liz. Sorry you were teased about your hair too. You and your husband are completely adorable. 🙂

  • Tayler Morrell December 31, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    I found this post on your Top Post blog and HAD to read it. I’m a redhead and have been my entire life….the super pale, freckly, hazel-eyed, curly haired red head! I grew up hating my hair because it looked like a bush (think Hermoine Granger) and I didn’t like the red color. I was also “the milkman’s daughter”…the rest of my siblings (and mom) were blonde. One brother and one sister were born with red hair, but once they lost their baby hair, it grew back blonde. It wasn’t until college that I started to love my red curly hair and freckles and embrace it. I had been told my entire life, “do you know how many people would kill for your hair” and I never believed them. Now I do. My son was born with red hair, but same thing as my siblings, it turned blonde. Now my daughter (born a week ago) has red hair and I’m hoping and praying it stays red. Red is beautiful! Freckles are beautiful!

    • Jessica January 2, 2017 at 10:22 am

      Tayler! Thanks for stopping by and reading. I hate that you had so many similar experiences, but I believe they have made us better people. I am so proud that you embrace your hair and freckles now (Which you should, because you are beautiful!) Fingers crossed your sweet daughter will stay a redhead! We are a rare breed.

  • Masera November 6, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Jessica I love this post so much! You are so incredibly beautiful inside and out.

    Literally every time I see you, I think of how amazingly gorgeous you are but also they way you radiate joy and so much happiness.

    Thanks so much for writing this post!

    • Jessica November 6, 2017 at 11:02 am

      Masera, you just made my whole week. Thank you so much for your sweet words. I am honored to know you and be your friend.