Common Ginger Misconceptions (and the Lesser Known Facts to Match)

Common Ginger Misconceptions (and the Lesser Known Facts to Match)

Madison Metheny, Reporter

Have you ever seen a ginger walking the halls and wondered, is he really going to steal my soul? Have you ever wondered if that redheaded girl in your bio class is actually a witch? Well, this article’s for you. As a ginger, I’m qualified to let you in on some ginger secrets: which rumors are real and which are not.

1. we all know each other, like it’s some kind of secret club or something. MYTH! I can’t tell you how many times someone has mentioned a person I’m not familiar with, and I say, “Who’s that?” and they say, “Well, she’s a ginger.” Um. Okay? I still don’t know who she is?

2. we all look the same. MYTH! At this point, even my closest friends and family are doing it. It’s kind of comical. They’ll see a picture of a redhead that isn’t even the same shade of red, has blotchy freckles everywhere, brown eyes, and still I’ll hear, “Madison, that looks just like you!” Forgive me if I don’t see the resemblance.

3. the cutest ginger nicknames include “carrot top”, “pumpkin head” (thanks Mom), and “pumpkin spice”. DEPENDS WHO YOU ASK! Some people think it’s cute (generally not redheads), but I’m not personally in that category. I can’t even get a pumpkin spice latte in peace!

4. we’re all feisty or “fiery”.  RELATIVE FACT! Yes, fiery, because our hair is the color of fire. Ha-ha, yes, I get it. Which, okay, this might be kind of true, but not always. And it’s only because you guys harass us about it. (The more you tell me I’m feisty… yeah, I’m going to be a little feisty.)

5. gingers aren’t gingers unless they have freckles. MYTH! This actually ties into another rumor about us, but the facts are some redheads just have… red heads. Some don’t freckle or tan from their sunburns. There are gingers out there with perfect porcelain skin, and yes, they are still gingers.

6. our hair is dyed. I don’t really know if this can be technically classified as a myth, but since we’re dealing with questions the other 98% of the population has, this one is just plain funny to me. Any time I go out in public at least one person asks me if I dyed my hair. Sometimes they jump right to “Where did you get it done?” The best part is that it’s almost impossible to dye red hair. Our pigment is too strong and no other color stays; it has to be bleached first, which is just a bad idea all around, but more for redheads because we have fragile hair.

7. we’re good luck. MYTH! I personally have horrible luck. But apparently we can’t wear green without being called a leprechaun (St. Patty’s Day is the worst). Or Ariel, but that’s a different conversation.

8. We have curly hair, so obviously we must be Merida. Being compared to Disney princesses isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened to gingers, but still. MYTH. My curls don’t even look like Merida’s (unfortunately).

9. we’re all Irish. MYTH! This is another thing that makes St. Patrick’s Day a bad day. People point and say “Ha!” every time, which doesn’t actually make sense, considering I’m not Irish. Most redheads are actually Scottish. They could also be Swiss, Swedish, or even Greek. And to think Ireland gets all the credit!

10. we steal souls. MYTH! This is a really common trope. It’s said that our freckles represent the souls we steal… or they represent angel kisses. There’s no in between.

11. we have no souls. MYTH! I’m not sure if this superstition relates to the one before it. Are we supposed to steal souls because we don’t have them? Senior Avrey Steiner personally finds this one to be one of the most irritating. “You’re right,” she often says back. “I haven’t heard that one before.”

12. gingers become vampires when we die. MYTH? To be fair, I’ve never actually died, so can I really say that this is for sure a myth? I’m going to say yes, but you never know. Maybe this rumor is due to our pale skin, or maybe because our hair tends to be the color of blood, but either way people seem to want to demonize gingers.

13. we are on fire. MYTH! (usually.) Obviously this is due to the color of our hair. It does get annoying when people are constantly making fire jokes at you. I couldn’t even enjoy the song Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys because everyone kept pointing at my hair and singing in my face. To be fair, I did catch my hair on fire at a Halloween party once. I never heard the end of it.

14. bees are more likely to sting us. MYTH! Bees don’t really seek people out to sting them. If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. The truth in this myth, though, is that bees are rather attracted to us. Just not to sting us. I’m not sure if the brightness of our hair represents a flower to them, but whatever the reason, they’re constantly landing on my head.

15. we are witches. MYTH! Despite the cinematic masterpiece that is Hocus Pocus, and the resemblance of our hair color to the devil’s flames, we are not witches. What is true, though, is that a lot of people have mistaken us for practicing witchcraft in the past. From 1483-1784, roughly 45,000 redheads were burned at the stake in the witch hunts all around Europe.

16. we can’t be priests. MYTH! But also a little truth. Because Judas was depicted as a ginger, in some countries redheaded men were excluded from priesthood.

17. we can’t go out in the sun. TRUTH! Sort of. We do tend to get sunburned rather horribly. I don’t like the feel of any kind of sunscreen, so I never wear it if I think I don’t have to. But beware, if you’re swimming in the summer, even if it’s cloudy, put it on. Don’t end up like me, who ended up looking like a human lobster for two weeks.

18. redheaded, blue eyed people are the rarest in the world. TRUTH! Gingers commonly are known for their green eyes, and a good portion have brown and hazel eyes as well. Blue eyes are a recessive gene, as well as the red hair gene, which means that double recessive means double rare.

19. we have less hair than other colors. TRUTH! Gingers actually don’t have near as much hair as, say, a brunette would. It just looks like the same amount because the hair strands are super thick.

20. we are more sensitive to temperature changes. TRUTH! I can walk into a room and immediately sense if it’s humid, dry, etc. It’s also true in a pain context as well: we’re more sensitive to hot and cold pain because we sense it faster. Ever been out in the winter and felt like your fingers were going to fall right off your hands? Yeah, the gingers understand. We just understood ten minutes ago.

21. we don’t go gray. TRUTH! Our pigment stays in our hair longer, so we stay red longer. But everyone has to age sometime, so when the time comes we actually go white. Speaking of aging, we don’t wrinkle much, either. Guess we lucked out, huh?

22. Hitler hated us. TRUTH! This one isn’t well known at all, and it’s kind of funny when you think about it. He actually banned redheads and non-redheads from marriage because he thought we would produce “deviant offspring”.

23. we require more anesthesia and vitamin D. TRUTH! We require at least 20% more anesthesia than the rest of the population (our skin is also tougher, so all medical procedures are just hard for us). Also, because we don’t have enough eumelanin, our body can’t absorb vitamin D like it’s supposed to. So when it’s exposed to low light conditions, gingers make their own. Senior Cameron Warner says, “That’s my favorite fact. It’s so interesting to me that y’all are producing something that most others aren’t.” Almost like superhumans, wouldn’t you say?

I hope you learned something about the truths and untruths of your ginger friends. Next time you see a redhead walking down the street, resist the instinctual urge to ask if their hair is real, and if they wear a lot of sunscreen (yes, we do. Sometimes multiple layers). Instead, maybe lay off the ginger jokes and ask about our day. Or at least make some new ones.