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Gingerism - children bullied for being a Red Head or a Ginger Kid

Updated on February 3, 2016


Go back 20 years and it was quite rare to see a child with ginger hair. They stuck out like a sore thumb in the playground. I still remember now that we only ever had one ginger kid in my school. I never had a problem with her, she never done anything wrong to me, in fact she was a nice girl that never done anything wrong to anyone. Yet she was bullied throughout her entire school years and it still goes on now.


Twenty Years Later


Fast forward 20 years later and there are loads of kids with ginger hair, but still the bulling goes on. I was blonde as a child and still am now, I get my fair share of being called Blondie and the occasional blond joke but I was never bullied. So what’s the difference?


It’s Bullying


It’s seems that some people do not even consider it as bullying, but it is.  It doesn’t stop with the hair colour; it leads on to them being bullied about a whole lot of other things as well, fingers pointing in all directions. Gingerism is as bad as racism, yet racism is held on a much higher regard when it comes to dealing with it in schools.

Fat or Thin, Tall or Short, Black or White, Rich or poor, Ginger or Red head; if you pick on someone for those reasons: Its bullying!


My Daughter Pays The Price For Being Ginger


My daughter has ginger hair and she’s the same as any child (just with a non average hair colour). It’s a dark ginger with a slight hint of brown in it, it’s a beautiful colour, some call her hair strawberry blonde, some call it auburn and some call it ginger. Either way she goes to hell and back for it.

She has been bullied for her entire way through junior school and now senior school. Even grown ups that she doesn’t know can’t resist shouting out and calling her names in the street. I only wish someone would sit them down and describe the hurt a bullied child feels and what effects it’s likely to have on them in the future. They do not realise how lonely and isolated it makes the children feel.


It’s No Joking Matter


Most people of can boast a good sense of humour and my daughter is no different, she can take a joke as much as the next person. But she can also tell the difference between something that is meant as humour and something that is meant to offend.

She is extremely strong minded and she pulls out all the stops to overcome what mindless things that people put her through. Not all children can do that though and some kids have gone on to commit suicide over the taunts that they have experienced.


Its Soul Destroying


It is heartbreaking to see your young child sat there in front of you crying their eyes out, telling you that they want to dye their hair and move so that they can start a fresh and fit in with a brand new hair colour. It’s painful when they tell you they feel that they don’t like who they are purely because of other people.

It’s sad that some people see this as acceptable!


It’s More Accepted In Grown Ups


A bazaar turn in the trauma and suffering that the kids go through is that many grown ups pay a huge amount of money to regularly dye their hair ginger or become a red head because it’s seen as sexy and attractive, so why is it so unattractive and such a burden when they are young?


Quotes


  • A lot of people are afraid to tell the truth, to say no. That's where toughness comes into play. Toughness is not being a bully. It's having backbone. - Robert Kiyosaki
  • Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. - Judy Garland
  • The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere. - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them - Washington Irving


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    • Victoria Stephens profile image
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      Victoria Stephens 4 years ago from London

      Hi Livewithrichard,

      Thankfully my daughter has overcome the problems she has had with school and people teasing her about her hair. It took an awful lot of confidence building and talks about liking herself for who she is and reminding her that she should be proud to be ginger and instead of feeling like she stands out from the crowds in a bad way, embrace and enjoy it.

      Now that she is fully comfortable with being a red head, she doesn't care what other people say now. Their words don't affect her mood, she excepts that it's them with the problem, not her.

      It certainly sounds like a very positive turn around for your friend and a lot of self belief in her part and determination to come out of the better person. It's always lovely to hear a nice outcome. It reminds people that it is possible and does happen.

      Thanks very much for taking the time to share that with me and the readers. Best wishes.x

    • livewithrichard profile image

      Richard Bivins 4 years ago from Charleston, SC

      Before reading this, I don't think I have ever heard the term Gingerism. That is such a shame your daughter is bullied because of her hair color. Bullying is wrong no matter what the reason and it is something I cannot stand. I remember having a few childhood friends that had red hair and I recall they too were treated differently. One girl I knew had been treated really bad in grade school but by the time she was in Junior and Senior high school she was very popular. I don't know how she overcame it but she was once so shy that she would actually run away when confronted. By the time she was a young teen she had found more confidence than anyone I knew at the time and became sort of a star in High School as she was always chosen for the lead role in our school productions. I don't know what kids are thinking but as you say, Red is sexy on adult women and it is cute on young girls. I would bet that if you get your daughter interested in activities designed to boost confidence or spotlight talent, then she too will overcome this terrible thing you call Gingerism.

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 4 years ago from London

      Hi H,

      I think the secret here is to be absolutely 100% confident with how you feel and who you are, once you have that in place you won’t care about what other people say anymore. There will probably always be someone who will make a stupid comment about your hair because they don’t know what it is like and let’s be honest they are just small mindless idiots that don’t deserve you to be bothered about their comments.

      Work on being happy with yourself just the way you are inside and out, and remember that sometimes it’s nice to not fit in with some people, especially the ones who have nothing nice to say other than to taunt you about your hair (who wants to fit in with them anyway!). Embrace your uniqueness, be proud of who you are.

      I don’t come from a religious background at all but I love the idea of this: I read something interesting not so long ago about how very many of the gods were pale skinned and redheads. Many religious people still today worship redheaded gods and some Islamic people even dye their beards ginger as a sign of dedication to their god.

      So there you have it, you could well be the descendant of a god! How many people do you know that can boast of that one! :-D

    • profile image

      4 years ago

      Hi, I'm a 27 year old female and have been dying my ginger locks since I was 18, blonde brown and once even black but it has been primarily blonde. I was bullied all through school and didn't really fit in due to my hair colour. People often tell me ginger hair is beautiful and that I should go natural, however I'm just too scared of the comments if I went back to ginger, I'm a strong person however what the bullies don't realise is their comments can stick with someone throughout their life x

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 5 years ago from London

      Hi Conor Scott Ginger,

      Thank you for your advice to other kids suffering from being teased because of their hair. I'm sure now that you are leaving school, you will face this problem less and less. I hope you go on to have a very enjoyable life as I'm sure by now, you deserve to!

      Take care and best wishes for the future.x

    • profile image

      conor scott ginger 5 years ago

      I am now in my last year of high sschool and I have suffered and suffered because of my hair even in public by random tosspots but any ginger thinkin of dyeing their hair... Don't. U may get bullied for it but your ginger hair is the last thing you have, dyeing your hair will change nothing you will just be that ginger kid who dyed his\her hair.

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 5 years ago from London

      Hi Maddie,

      Sounds like the piece you are going to read out is a worthy cause. Look at it this way, if it helps just one person to think about their actions and stop being a bully then you have made one more better person in the world. That one person may just be the one who helps stop other bullies. Hold your head up and be proud to be who you are. Hopefully the other kids won't laugh but know in your mind that even if they do, there will more than likely be at least one person in that class who is secretly listening to your message and will take note of what you say even if they don't show it immediately.

      Stay strong. I wish you all the best and it's really nice to hear you are trying to make a difference.xxx

    • profile image

      Maddie 5 years ago

      I have red hair! And i get called HURTFUL names all throw my school life and ive had someone put something on my locker saying i was prago with a demon baby jst because i have red hairi cryed all day long! The day i hate the most is kick a ginger day! Kids tried to kick me all day n said that i have no soul. Ive had kids say that when im mad that my hair i s on fire and if i touch them or anything it will start on fire!! Wish it would stop and in my English class we have to write a speech on something so im doing it on red head/giners getting bulled and how it needs to stop i jst hope my class doesn't laugh at me when i read it out loud!

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 5 years ago from London

      Hi Fran,

      What a horrid and really stupid thing people keep saying to you. Try not to let them see that it gets to you because the more response they get from you, the more they will say that stuff.

      Don't let such silly people ruin your life for you, I'm sure you have gorgeous hair. Maybe those people are jealous of you.

      You should definitely tell at least your best friend how you feel, they might be able to support you and help you to see that the other people are not worth you being bothered about. After all, if they've got nothing better to do than point and poke fun of your hair, then they've clearly got to have a pretty sad life of their own, right? xxx

    • profile image

      Fran 5 years ago

      I haven't said anything to my friends or parents yet. It's continuing, they sing 'we didn't start the fire' when i am near them and they say 'stay away from me, you will set me on fire' :L

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 5 years ago from London

      Hi Fran,

      Sounds like a good idea and worth a try!

      Good Luck.xxx

    • profile image

      Fran 5 years ago

      I'm not sure.. I could see about my best friends.. I never see my aunties/uncles or grandparents anymore..

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 5 years ago from London

      Is there anyone else like an aunt or family friend that you could speak to who might be able to talk to your mum and help her to understand for you?xxx

    • profile image

      Fran 5 years ago

      Ok I'm really annoyed at my mum she won't listen to me and won't understand that I wanna dye my hair

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 5 years ago from London

      Hi KVincent,

      It’s pretty shocking how young it all starts. I remember someone coming up to me in the street once when my daughter was about 6 months old and peering into the pram, then she looked at me with a rather alarmed look on her face and said “ooohhh... she ginger”. I didn’t quite no what to think at the time but later on I though to myself ‘how rude’. From then on when anyone else approached me with a similar attitude I was ready for them and said “yes it’s lovely”.

      Fingers crossed for your niece that it doesn’t become a problem like it did for my daughter. Try to encourage her to be strong, love her hair for how it is, to appreciate that she stands out in a crowds or is a little bit different and to take other peoples comments with a pinch of salt as much as possible.

      My daughter usually replies with “yes I know” when people call her ginger and they seem to be a bit stunned for anything else to say. xxx

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 5 years ago from London

      Hi Fran,

      I’m really sorry to hear about what you are going through at school but thank you for commenting here.

      I’ve had a very similar situation with my daughter who is now in yr 10, she is also auburn. For years she asked me if she could dye her hair because of the other kids and for ages I told her “no” but I didn’t go down the school because she asked me not to. She’s got beautiful hair and I didn’t want her to ruin it. She went on and on and on at me and eventually I said “ok!”

      She rushed out, got hair dye and loved it for a bit, except everyone at school already knew she was a red-head and still continued to call her ginger and even went as far as calling her extra names such as ‘ginger in denial’ etc, and she actually found that it seemed to only make matters worse.

      After about 6 weeks of her hair being dyed the roots started coming through and she hated it, she didn’t want to have to keep dying it for the rest of her life so she went out and brought a ginger hair dye to cover the colour she had dyed it, and said “I’m ginger, I will always be ginger and I’m proud to be who I am”.

      Now when the kids call her ginger, she replies “yes I know” and the other kids don’t know what to say back to that!

      Kids at school can be really mean, but try to make the most of being seen as little bit different and enjoy who you are. It may be really annoying right now for you but when you are a bit older most of the kids saying that kind of stuff to you are going to be the ones that are extremely jealous of you and your gorgeous auburn hair.

      Take care and best wishes.xxx

    • profile image

      KVincent 5 years ago

      My neice is not even two and a little girl said to her at the park, "you've got ginger hair". A couple of days later she said to her mum, "mummy, I'm ginger". Was the little girl just making a statement or is this the start of bullying. We are trying to think of something for her to say back to children if this continues as she grows up, something along the lines of "yes it's lovely isn't it" or "and you've got blonde hair". Nothing nasty otherwise we will be teaching her to sink to their levels. It's such a shame children pick on each other if they have something different, although this should be picked up as school like any other bullying or racism.

    • profile image

      Fran 5 years ago

      UGH! I'm auburn but everyone says I'm ginger except my friends.. I'm in year 8 (I am 12 years old and in my 2nd year of secondary school). I wanna die my hair brown but my mum says she will think about it. I'm too nervous to tell my mum why i wanna die my hair because she'll go into school and then make things worse.. Please help me someone?

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 5 years ago from London

      Hello hi123,

      You just hang on in there, your life is worth more than other peoples stupid comments towards you. Keep yourself strong minded and you will come out of it all the better person than all them people saying stuff put together. Be proud of who you are inside and out. xxx

    • profile image

      hi123 5 years ago

      probs gunna kill myself from comments people make

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi Berna,

      Glad the witch hunting days are over.xxx

    • profile image

      Berna 6 years ago

      I am a red-head (24F) from Turkey, in my country redheads are not bullyied and we do not take ginger as an offensive word. It is more of a joke, like a nickname. I am truly sorry though for the things you have to face.

      It reminds me the middle ages, the redheaded women being chased, and accused for being witch..

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi melbel,

      Most people are ok with the joking around, it's the mean stuff that is uncalled for and upsetting.

      Thanks for input and best wishes.xxx

    • melbel profile image

      Melanie Shebel 6 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

      My sister is a ginger and she has always been sensitive about her hair color. I used to pick on her about it, but only in a slight teasing way -- because she is the only person in our entire family to have red hair, I used to say she was adopted. That said, she really does have beautiful hair and I meant no harm by it. It's a shame that some people are actually mean about it.

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Thanks Prasetio30, it's good to learn something new everyday. Glad you liked the pictures and thanks for the feedback. Take care.xxx

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Gingerism is new term for me. Thanks for writing this and I learn much from you. You always beautiful cartoon pictures. I liked it. Take care!

      Prasetio

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi Amanda Severn,

      It would be lovely if people could feel at home where ever they are and where ever they go but we are such a long way off from that. Good on your daughter for being able to take it in her stride, unfortunately not all kids can and they become very vulnerable.

      Thanks for having a read and leaving a comment, best wishes.xxx

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK

      My daughter has inherited my auburn hair, and has often been teased at school. Fortunately she has learned to take it in her stride. A couple of years ago we were on holiday in Southern Ireland, and we couldn't help noticing that there were a great many redheads around. We felt quite at home there!

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi QudsiaP1,

      Thanks for having a read. I really wish being ginger wasn't so difficult for people; it seems crazy this all goes on for the sake of a hair colour.

      Take care.xxx

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi Ginger Meow,

      The real sad thing is that most schools don't even recognise this as a problem so there is still very little chance of them doing much at all to stop the taunting.

      Thanks for commenting, best wishes.xxx

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 6 years ago

      Wow, had no idea, being a ginger was that difficult. Still thank you for bringing this to light.

    • Ginger Meow profile image

      Ginger Meow 6 years ago

      Gingers Unite! Great hub Victoria, it's sad how different groups of people are picked out of society and made to feel different via bullying etc. Usually it is the minority groups that are the targets. Your words should be mandatory reads for young school goers to ensure the taunting is stopped from an early age.

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi Kashmir56,

      It is a shame this goes on. I hope someday people will see the same beauty in red heads that I do. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and have a read, really appreciate it, Best wishes.xxx

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi Ghomefitness,

      I think jealousy has a lot to do with it as well. While the kids are young they just want to blend in with everyone else most of the time but a lot of people really enjoy it when they are older having something different that makes them stand out. I would love to be a redhead. Much appreciate your comment, Thanks for stopping by and best wishes.xxx

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Victoria, it is a shame that this still goes on today. Thanks for writing this hub to make everyone aware it is still a problem.

    • ghomefitness profile image

      ghomefitness 6 years ago from Chicago,IL

      My whole family has redheads all over it and they take it as jealously. People are always trying to stand out from the crowd and be noticed, it is a distinct advantage! :)

    • Victoria Stephens profile image
      Author

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi PhoenixV,

      Thanks for your comment. It is really sad that it happens and I have been made aware that it goes on more in some countries than others. The UK is a hotspot for it (which is where I live), while Canada previously didn’t too have much of it going on at all (until they come here for a holiday that is!) Apparently the torment is fast catching on in America now :-( It’s a huge shame.

      Best Wishes.xxx

    • PhoenixV profile image

      PhoenixV 6 years ago from USA

      I was fortunate to go a small rural school, where the kids were fairly decent. I do remember having a couple of classmates that had, well you know, bright red hair. One was pretty much my best friend in grade school and then they moved. I don't remember them getting teased a lot, but I am sure that it does happen and, yes it is sad. Good hub to remind us.