So today is apparently National Kick A Ginger Day. Wait, what?
Yes, sadly, this is A THING. Even Twitter seems rather gleeful about the fact.
Now, I’m only newly aware of this phenomenon, and at first I couldn’t even believe it was an actual day. Surely it was just another ‘joke’ us ginges are supposed to shake our heads at and laugh off, just like all the other jokes. Oh, but no. This exists and it’s happening and it’s happening today.
The non-gingers of the internet were even counting the days. Well, this suave dude was anyway.
Remember, kick a ginger everyone! Sigh.
I am a redhead, a ginger, a carrot top, and any other loosely descriptive term you care to think of. I absolutely love being ginger. If you ask me to describe myself, my first thought is Ginger. Closely followed by northern. And though my hair’s been through many rainbows of colour (even jet black which led to an unfortunate eyebrow mismatch situation), I’m a true ginger through and through. I’m proud of it and my identity is shaped through my hair colour. I wonder if many other hair colours say the same?
People always seem to talk about the disadvantages of having ginger hair. Mainly bankrupting yourself in the summer months on Factor 50, getting sunburned in the dark, and enduring endless comments about drapes, carpets and other household furnishings. Plus dealing with those people who seem to really, really, really like redheads. Society seems to imagine that being a ginger is really no fun at all. And with Kick a Ginger day permeating the consciousness around the world, who’s to blame them? It’s things like this that make people, and especially young people, feel terrible about a physical fact of themselves that they should be celebrating.
Kids have been driven to suicide through being bullied for their ginger hair. Abuse is shouted in the street, comedians make jokes on tv, and everyone continues to believe it’s ‘normal’ to take the piss out of gingers. But imagine. Replace the ‘hair colour’ description with a ‘skin colour’ description. Why is it so different? Is gingerism a form of racism? It’s the thinking behind it that’s worrying. It’s still normal to abuse people for a physical trait. Why? And if you’re one of those who giggle and laugh and think it’s just a bit of fun, take a look at why you think that. Is it ever ok to bully people? Why is this anything different?
Throughout my life, I’ve never been subjected to any harsh ginger abuse. Primary school, high school, home life…no one’s ever made fun of me. There’s been a few comments, sure, but nothing close to what some kids have to go through.
The thing is…it’s great to be ginge. Redheads are limited edition. Redheads hold a certain mystery. There’s the ‘angry ginger’ stereotype-always a lot of fun to play up to, the ethereal quality of pale skin, and when you’re watching a sunset, your whole hair dances and glows with the fire of the sun. 100% awesome.
But oh! Wait! THIS PERSON thinks I shouldn’t be writing about Kick a Ginger day. Because it’s just ‘BANTA’ (sic) isn’t it?
So I guess I’ll just calm the fuck down. Oh wait, I can’t! I’m an angry ginger! And any form of bullying and intimidation under the guise of the words of the misspelled youth is never ok.
I guess I can continue to pretend to wryly smile at ginger jokes on the tv. And I suppose I’ll let it go when someone mistakenly uses a ginger insult then realises there’s a real ginger within earshot, and everyone hurriedly looks away. I can take this because I wouldn’t change my hair colour for the world. Sometimes, it’s interspersed with highlights or lowlights or more and more red, depending on my mood. But the ginger’s always there and I love it. I love being one of the 0.5% of redheads worldwide.
Days like Kick a Ginger day promote the lie that it’s not ok to be who you are. That just being you results in pain and sadness. That for the rest of the population, it’s ok to hate on people because they look different to you. Look at how that’s worked out in the past.
I’d end with a message for gingers to unite but instead I wish the world could unite. Every hair colour should support each other and redheads shouldn’t have to unite against them. We’re all awesome, whether we’ve got red, purple, blonde, brunette, green or white hair.
What we should unite against is prejudice. Unite against people who bully others for looking different to them. The future’s bright, guys. The future’s ginger.