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The Blondes of Yesterday Vs. the Blondes of Today: Do Gentlemen Still Prefer Blondes?
Can We Not Get Enough of a Good Thing... or Is Variety the Spice of Life?
The 1953 movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starring blond bombshell Marilyn Monroe and equally bombastic brunette Jane Russell, seemed to be stating what America already knew -- that generally speaking, all things being equal, the men of our nation fancy the fairer haired females. Or at least they did in the 1950s.
But what about today, more than half a century later? Do men as a whole still have this preference for the sunnier side of hair color? Or do they no longer have a favorite? Or -- GASP! -- do they now prefer brunettes? Or -- OH THE HORRORS! -- even redheads?!?
I should probably, in all fairness, point out that I definitely prefer blonds. That is because I have superb taste and am appropriately shallow so as not to be bothered by things like an open mind. So I am admitting to my bias upfront before anyone starts complaining. Not that it would do you any good. After this brief admission of my discriminatory leanings I plan to deny any suggestion whatsoever that I might have in any way attempted to the skew the results of this almost scientific investigative sort of report. No matter what the results of my report are, please consider this article proof that men do indeed prefer blonds.
The easy question, of course, is whether or not men are superficial enough for hair color to matter. Well, of course we are. I mean come on, if it mattered to our grandfathers you know it matters to us. It is not like men have had some sort of spiritual enlightening over the decades. Simply put, it is definitely something men think about and if the normal flow of society is changed, well, let's just say it could be a lot worse than when we lose the remote or run out of beer money. This could bring the nation to its knees! So let's take an almost scientific look at this most perplexing question of societal stability and see if we cannot get it straight before the downfall of all we hold dear.... We'll begin with the blonds of yesteryear...
Let's face it. Marilyn was one of a kind. Even if she isn't your particular dream girl, you have to admit she had something that very few ladies, if any, have had since. She was the girl next door, the secret mistress and the perfect one night stand all rolled up in one. With her pouty looks of seductive desire and a slight giggle or half-released sigh, Marilyn sent the average red-blooded American man into a tailspin.
I doubt that anyone would argue that Marilyn Monroe was the most popular blond of her time and indeed the most popular actress with hair of any shade during those years. Quite likely she is also the most popular blond of all time with her posters, movies and various memorabilia still selling as strong as ever. Actors, sports figures, even United States Presidents all wanted to be with Marilyn Monroe. And that is not even mentioning how many girls wanted to be her! Or how many still do! Who knows how many bottles of blond hair color Marilyn has been responsible for selling?
But since we are discussing whether men prefer women because of their blond hair, we must ask ourselves, was it just those admittedly not-exactly-natural golden locks that made Marilyn so special? Would she have had the same effect on men if she were a brunette? Were men really captivated by her just because she was so fabulously blond? And, most importantly, would she marry me were she still alive today? (And would I still be attracted to an 85 year old Marilyn? But I digress...)
Obviously there was more to Marilyn than her hair. But I think most men would tell you, back then or even today, that the blond hair made her a little more special. As a brunette she would still have the pout, still have the giggle, still have the knockout body... But as a brunette, she would not be quite as sexy when she pouted, quite as seductive when she giggled, or quite as irresistible when she sighed. While she would still be an incredibly sexy woman, she just would not be Marilyn Monroe.
Grace Kelly had a relatively short career as an actress due to marrying Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and becoming a princess. Yes, an actual princess. She left acting after only six years to assume the duties of her throne in Monaco. Needless to say, Americans remained fascinated with Princess Grace until her untimely and tragic death in 1982. But what made her so fascinating?
Certainly the novelty of a young American marrying a foreign prince added to Grace Kelly's allure. But men were infatuated with her long before she became royalty. Was the golden shimmer of her soft blond hair the reason? Certainly her other features, as near perfection as a man could hope for, played a part. But the highlight of her beautiful face was that gorgeous blond frame, locks of pure gold highlighting the face of an angel. It is easy to see why any man, be he prince or pauper, would easily fall under her bewitching spell.
So even after obtaining the title of Princess, Grace Kelly was first and foremost a beautiful blonde to most men. Had she been a brunette, would our fascination with her have been the same? Perhaps we must acknowledge that there could certainly be a brunette capable of winning the heart of a Prince while holding the attention of the men of the world in thrall, but we can also say truthfully that that woman would be no Grace Kelly.
Debbie Reynolds found success playing the girl next door which is probably proof that the men preferred the girl next door to be blond. In films such as Tammy and the Bachelor, Susan Slept Here and The Tender Trap, men who were seen as level-headed and clear-thinking found themselves befuddled when confronted with lovely Debbie. She simply had a way of making the most footloose Romeo change his uncommitted ways. More importantly, he was happy to make that change for a chance at a girl like Debbie.
This is in contrast with both Marilyn Monroe, the highly sexualized fantasy girl that many men saw as unreachable, and also with Grace Kelly, the proverbial princess that most men saw as unobtainable. Debbie was, in a way, the middle ground that the average American male might actually hope to find in his day-to-day surroundings. Perhaps this makes Debbie Reynolds the epitome of the blond fantasy -- the fantasy girl that can step into reality.
So ultimately, the 1950s was filled with blond fantasy girls to fit just about every niche of the male imagination. When their beauty was combined with the bubbly personalities that seemed to go hand-in-hand with their looks, these girls were irresistible. Certainly the blondes of today are just as beautiful and bubbly. Or are they? And certainly men are no less infatuated with blondes today than we were fifty or so years ago. Or are we? Let's take a look at the modern blonde and the 21st century man's ideal woman.
Intermission: The Years Between
Before moving on to the next part of our story, lets take a moment to look at some of the blondes that were popular in the 1960s through the 2000s...
At last, we will take a look at the blondes of today and ask ourselves once again, do gentlemen still prefer blondes?
Moving on to the modern day, one has to wonder who are the most popular blonds among men today and are these blonds also the most popular women. When I tried to research this I found a lot of silliness (lists that included Justin Beiber for instance) and some that were clearly slanted toward certain celebrities either by manipulation or simply by the fact that they were on a site specific to a certain star. I mean, is it really any surprise that Penelope Cruz's fans believe she is the most beautiful?
So I turned to my own hubs for information and one thing my hubs have shown me is Tara Reid is America's favorite blond. While it may be true that Tara's poor choice of films and wild shenanigans have left her on the short end of the box office, when going head-to head with other blonds, Tara literally blew them away. No one even came close, with naughty Tara leading her closest competition, perpetually nice Kate Hudson, by more than a 50% margin.
Of course, when considering is Tara's popularity due to her blond locks or her bad girl attitude, we have to ask ourselves if there is perhaps a darker haired lady out there getting the same attention for being bad. My answer would have to be absolutely not. You see, I also did a hub on non-blond beauties. In fact i did it first. And while over 2300 people have voted on the blond hub including more than 400 votes for Tara, only around 340 people have voted on the non-blond hub. So the total number of votes on the non-blond hub doesn't even match the number of votes for Tara!
Clearly, or at least sort of vaguely, my research indicates Tara Reid is the most popular woman in the world proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that blonds still rule supreme. Ah, but maybe Tara is a fluke, you say. Maybe it is her attitude that wins her so many fans despite the fact they do not seem to support her theatrical endeavors. Are there any other blonds that might support your case? Are there any other blonds today that thrill men the way Marilyn, Grace and Debbie did? Well, why don't we take a look...
Hayden Panettiere burst onto the scene in 2006 as the world-saving cheerleader in the mammoth hit series Heroes, but that was far from her first television appearance with recurring roles in the soap operas Guiding Light and One Life to Live as well as shows like Malcolm in the Middle and Ally McBeal. But it was her Heroes portrayal of Claire Bennet that really brought her to the attention of America. She basically grew from a child into a young woman on that show and as this occurred her popularity gained ground yearly.
But can her popularity be attributed to her radiant blond hair? Certainly the argument could be made that her portrayal of a cheerleader may have influenced many men who see in high school cheerleaders a fantasy based around a missed opportunity from younger days. Certainly almost every guy at some point thought about making out with their favorite cheerleader while very few actually achieved this. But while Claire Bennet may have been a cheerleader, this aspect was not displayed prominently very often on the show.
When all is said and done, there can be little doubt that Hayden turns heads because of the golden locks on her head. Certainly another actress could have played the world saving cheerleader, but it took a beautiful blond to turn that into something extra special.
So now you can see how blonds still rule the world of celebrity and stardom, but what about the regular girls out there. Does the average man walking down the street still fall for the average blond?
To seek enlightenment to this question, let's look (as we did with Debbie Reynolds) for an actress that could easily be the girl next door. Probably the most fitting choice currently in Hollywood would be Kate Hudson. While Kate has beauty that can stun the most jaded man, she also has that down-to-earth quality that makes it possible to see her as a real person and not simply a movie star. This is a bit surprising as she is actually the daughter of actress Goldie Hawn and musician Bill Hudson. Yet there is no denying her very wholesome attractiveness.
Kate is not only beautiful, but also funny and energetic, passionate and demure, yet still outgoing and full of life. In short, she is exactly the kind of girl most men seek out for their life mate. And the crowning glory of this perfect package is her sun-like golden hair. Certainly this is evidence that gentlemen still prefer blonds just as much now as they did in our grandfather's time and perhaps even more. There can be no denying the advantage these women have as blonds.
Will This Fascination Endure?
So what about the future? Will men always prefer blonds over brunettes? Will they always choose golden shades over reds, blacks, browns and more? Only time will tell, but one look at the next blond you see will likely answer this question for you... Yes, gentlemen will always prefer blonds!