Being one of the minority of the red-head clan, I am constantly appalled at the discrimination against us gingers…
Who could forget the “Ginger Kids” South Park episode?
But it seems I should move to Holland, where having red hair is celebrated!
A festival just for red heads, imagine that. I bet no one was asking each other why they were so pale, why did they have so many freckles, or do the curtains match the carpet.
Below is an article from The Independent regarding this momentous celebration of fiery follicles.
Red hair? It’s so this season
As a child I used to get called “Duracell”, “copper-coloured top”, “ginger-nut” and “Orangina”, admits Jordan Adams. “When I was a teenager groups of boys used to hang out of their car windows and yell at me, ‘gingaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!'”
There’s little chance that Adams, a 35-year-old music teacher from Brighton, would have heard these “gingerphobic” terms bandied about at Roodharigendag (redhead day) in the Dutch city of Breda. The two-day event, which took place last weekend, is a gathering for people with natural red hair. The event, which started in 2005, was the brainchild of Bart Rouwenhorst, a 38-year-old Dutch scientist and a part-time artist who, to start with, wanted to paint 15 red-headed models. However, after placing an ad in a local newspaper, he attracted 150 models, and decided to photograph them all in Breda’s town centre. The idea of a group photo featuring redheads snowballed in popularity and last year 2,000 of them from 20 countries were featured for the picture; around 3,000 turned up this year.
“Redheads always stand out and it’s difficult to find a place in this world,” explains Rouwenhorst. “This is a festival that celebrates difference.”
But red hair appears to be fiercely fashionable. BBC2’s preposterous Desperate Romantics focused on the Pre-Raphaelite painters and their adoration of redheads, Hollywood’s newest sweetheart Amy Adams is red and proud, flame-tressed Lily Cole is arguably our “hottest” model and the third in line to the throne, Prince Harry, is a ginger. The increasing success of Roodharigendag – the festival is experiencing “100 per cent growth each year” – is another sign of a redhead renaissance.
“This festival is unique,” adds Rouwenhorst, whose favourite redheads, for the record, are Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age and Meryl Streep. “The people don’t come for somebody famous who has red hair, they come for each other.”
Rousing stuff and it makes me, a reddish-head myself, want to break into “all we are saying is give redheads a chance”. However, a lot of redheads don’t feel the same way.
“The very notion of a redhead festival depresses the hell out of me,” says 29-year-old Dan Sait. “I don’t subscribe to this ‘we’re special’ crap, either. As far as I’m aware I have no special ginger-witch powers, I just happen to have a hair colour that makes white van men want to throw empty cigarette packets at me.”
James Spencer, a 37-year-old from Ipswich, concurs, pointing out: “I wish I’d thought of such a pointless way to make money.” Rachel Drayson, a 29-year-old teacher from Surrey, is a little more relaxed about the idea, but confesses she “might be unnerved by my sudden non-uniqueness”.
Bart, who is blonde, not ginger, points out that there is a little prejudice towards redheads in Holland, but maintains it appears much worse in England. Sait agrees: “As an English bloke with red hair I’ve certainly had to put up with way more than my fair share of random abuse but there’s nothing I can do about it.
“As a kid the abuse was non-stop. Amazingly, at nearly 30 years old, I still, very occasionally, get people bellowing “Ginga!” from cars.”
Perhaps it’s time to follow Rouwenhorst’s lead and set up a British Rood-harigendag. After all, if it can happen in the Netherlands, where only 2 per cent of the country has red hair, maybe it’s only a matter of time until the Scotland (13 per cent) and Ireland (with 10 per cent) embrace the idea of a redhead celebration too. Here’s to UK redhead day 2010. Ben Walsh