I saw a story recently on that hunky Dr Andrew Rochford’s son being bullied because he has red hair.
This is a problem as old as time itself, and I’ve seen it firsthand – as I’ve said previously in this column Dear Reader – my brother is a carrot top as are my two best friends. I’ve been surrounded by them my whole life and feel I can communicate with them really well, kind of like Jane Goodall.
Dr Andrew was quite rightly cheesed off when his son was bullied, poor little bloke can’t help the colour of his hair, but unfortunately kids will be kids and will find pretty much anything to tease their peers about.
I was teased and called “Alexander the Bunyip” thanks to an ABC children’s television show that was on when I was growing up, and a friend of mine from Uni was teased horribly and called “Big Bird” because she was so tall with long skinny legs when she was just 12 years old.
(SIDEBAR – ‘Big Bird’ was signed by a modelling agency at 19 and her long skinny legs were used by a pantyhose manufacturer for their international print ads and packaging from which she made hundreds of thousands of dollars, lessening some of her painful memories).
It’s never nice when you are teased – at any age – I am still teased with regular abandon, but I do feel for the Rangas. They are a minority group and have historically been given a hard time.
You couldn’t walk down the street in the Middle Ages without being burned at the stake for being a witch just because you had red hair. Harsh. One of my Besties Agatha used to hate riding her bike past the local Catholic boys’ school because they would yell out “Hey look it’s Beaker!” when she rode past them which she had to as it was the only way to get to our school.
The fact she still talks about it tells me she’s far from over it. I feel we really missed the boat to do some special for all the redheads before Julia Gillard got thrown under the bus as PM.
It was a great day for Rangas when she became Prime Minister although it turns out she wasn’t actually our first PM with red hair. That honour goes to James Scullin who came to power in 1929 and was our ninth Prime Minister.
I am aware that some people feel the term Ranga has a derogatory connotation as it’s derived from the word orang-utan. I did ask both my Besties if they thought it was but they both said they didn’t due to developing a tremendous resilience over the years from constant teasing.
And as one of them advised, “Oh that’s fine! I’ve been called WAY worse than Ranga.” So I was THRILLED when I stumbled upon the Red And Nearly Ginger Association or R.A.N.G.A which – and I’m quoting from their website – “exists to represent the interests of Ginger primates everywhere.”
This group has been around since 2009 and I’ve already contacted them to see if you can join as a supporter of Rangas even if you’re not one or if they have support groups for relatives and partners of Rangas.
Apparently R.A.N.G.A has grown to become the peak special interest body for Ginger issues and go to organisation for media on current ginger matters. I wonder what constitutes a ginger matter?
Theon Greyjoy and Sansa Stark being the only Rangas on Game of Thrones? While they do undoubtedly cop flak there are also advantages to having red hair:
- According to Hamburg sex researcher Dr. Werner Habermehl, women with red hair have more sex than women with other hair colours. BOOM! Drop the mic. Redheads win.
- Natural redheads do not go grey. The hair turns a shady colour first, and then goes white. They often keep their red colour later in life than those of other hair colours.
- Having a redheaded child in Denmark is considered an honour.
- Scholars note that redheads have influenced history out of proportion to their numbers.
Famous redheads include Roman emperor Nero, Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, the ancient god of love Aphrodite, Queen Elizabeth I, Napoleon Bonaparte, Antonio Vivaldi, Vincent Van Gogh, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Malcolm X, and Galileo.
WOW! Talk about punching above their weight. On a personal note I think that redheaded bloke from Outlander Jamie What’s-his- Name is SMOKINhot.
So spare a thought for our flame-haired friends and remember they make up less than two percent of the world’s population so they are very special indeed.
Ruadhgubrath!! (Gaelic for “Red heads forever!”)
With a successful 20+ year career in media and communications, Alex’s media portfolio includes contracts as a radio and television presenter (612 ABC, 4BC, Channel 9 and Network Ten) and as a feature writer for bmag and Brisbane Times.
Alex’s voice and face may be familiar to you from her voiceover and television commercial work. She has been featured in national radio and TV advertising campaigns, corporate videos and has been a regular MC for major events.