50 Shades of Red (Part I)

‘Ginger;’ defined as a human, characterized by pale skin, freckles, and bright red hair. A day in the life of a red head can be difficult and rewarding.

Did you know that only 1-2% of the world is red headed? Most Americans wouldn’t know that because the majority of red heads are found in the United Kingdom. What is the percentage of redheads at Pentucket? 7%? 8%? Nope, only 3% of our school has red hair. Can you believe that?

Countries have different views on how red heads should be treated. In Corsica, people passing a redhead will spit and turn in the other direction. In Russia redheads are considered hot-tempered and crazy. However, in Denmark it is considered an honor to have red hair.

Most redheads are susceptible to skin cancer and Tourette’s syndrome. Because of their pale skin and lack of pigment, red heads are three times more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer than someone with a darker pigment. 55% of people in the world who have Tourette’s syndrome are red-headed. As well as being at a higher risk for disease, red heads are confronted with more health risks than other people.

Several health factors are different for gingers. During surgery, redheads need 20% more anesthetic to relieve pain. They are also resistant to pain blockers such as Novocain. These facts result in a fear of dentists and more severe toothaches for redheads.

They are also more sensitive to heat and cold. Do you ever wonder why some redheads don’t like spicy food or snowy days? It is because of their hair color. Gingers also bruise very easily because of the lack of pigment in their skin. Despite all of these things, redheads are less sensitive to stinging pain in the skin and have an overall higher tolerance for pain than people of other hair colors.

Having freckles is a common stereotype for redheads, but it is not always true. Redheads commonly have freckles due to their pigmentation and genes but not all redheads have freckles.

Along with the physical disadvantages that come with being a redhead, redheads also endure several social stereotypes and degrading nicknames. Many redheads are used to being called carrot-top, pumpkin head, ginger, or hot head. Gingers have been thought of as hot tempered, but the most offending stereotype came from a South Park episode that aired November 9th, 2005. This episode suggested that red heads do not have souls. Many red heads were offended after watching this episode because of the assumptions made.

Do you think the redheaded gene will ever become extinct? Geneticists are estimating that the gene for red hair will be extinct in close to 100 years!

Do you think gingers are blessed or cursed? Leave a comment below and tune in to part 2 to see how red heads in our school feel about their hair color!