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Saturday Conversations: Heroine Haircolor

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SaturdayConversations


The Sexy Redhead


The other day, Baby Girl (BG – 7.5 years old) was talking about her three favorite cartoon characters: Ariel (Disney’s Little Mermaid), Daphne (Scooby Doo), and Jean Grey (X-men). I noticed something – they were all redheads. I laughed, implying that I influenced this, as I am a redhead myself. But I know better… those characters are all really cool, and who wouldn’t want to be them?

It got me thinking about fictional redheads. In the five years that I’ve been reading romance and urban fantasy, I’ve notice that there seems to be a disproportional number of redheads. Depending on what source you check, the number of naturally occurring people with red hair is 0.5 to 2 percent world wide! That’s only 1-2 people out of every 100 to 200 people. Yet, romance novels are filled with sexy heroines with fiery red hair. Why is that?

Growing up a redhead, I hated my red hair. The only people that seemed to like it were my grandmother’s friends, who told me that they would try to dye their hair my color. That’s not what a teenager wants to hear! I was not the popular girl, and as I got older, I never felt that boys liked my looks – which I blamed on my red hair. Back then, the only famous actress with red hair (after Annie, of course) was Molly Ringwald. Sure, she got Jake, but I never did.

So I want to know, when did red hair become the norm for sexy heroines? Are you a redhead, and did you ever feel like you were the good looking one? Why do you think red hair heroines are prevalent in romance novels, when they are pretty rare in real life?

Thank you for stopping by to chat! Happy Reading!

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  • trinitytwo

    My grandmother had red hair, so I was always in love with it. Since it is rather rare in the real world, I think it makes a heroine stand out amongst the crowd. That would be my best guess as to why red hair is so popular in romance and urban fantasy. It gives them the edge of being more unique.

    • Great point… Making the heroine unique would help her stand out in the story. Thanks!

  • I’ve written a few books were the woman is a redhead. I think it’s because I always wanted red hair, so writing someone with it is the next best thing 🙂

    • I still find it weird that women, younger than my grandma and her friends, want red hair. I believed so strongly that it was ugly and unattractive when I was younger, that knee-jerk reaction is still in me.

  • I was born with red hair then it fell out and came back blonde. I hate to say I’m glad it did. LOL But because it was the orange red not a pretty shade of red.

    I think a lot of historicals have red heads but that might be because they are Scottish or Irish.

    • You didn’t want to be a carrot top?

      Good point on the Scottish/Irish ancestry.

  • I love reading about fiery redheads! I think they’re sassy heroines, and they allow me to escape a little more to the outspoken and sometimes irreverent thoughts they have as inner monologue. Like previously mentioned, the paranormal historicals I read are heavy on Scottish and Irish influence. My own writing is as well. That probably plays a role as well.

    Overall, I think that we like to read about people that are different from the way we are ourselves. Since such a small percentage of the population is actually naturally redheaded, it makes sense that authors would choose to use fiery manes of red for their heroines! Well, to me anyway 🙂

    • Good point, we do enjoy to escape when we read. So making a heroine a little unique or different can help.

  • Jules

    I am a sassy red head. I’m one of those even rarer red heads with blue eyes (kind of grayish actually). I didn’t like it as a child, I didn’t like standing out and being different. Many of the men I dated would say things like “I never thought I’d date a red head, they’re not really my type.” Well…thank you very much. But somewhere in my 20’s, I learned that being the exception was a good thing. Standing out was something I did anyway, so I may as well embrace it.

    I was, sadly, in my 30’s before I discovered just what good product could do for my natural waves and curl. In coping with my own hair color, it never occurred to me that it was impossible to duplicate, especially because there are so many additional colors threaded through it. People weren’t copying my hair because they wanted it, they weren’t copying it because they couldn’t.

    I think I noticed the increase in copper topped heroines and more people attempting to dye their hair red with the advent of reality TV. The whole country wanted to be noticed, to be different, to be F A M O U S….. My hair made me stand out without the effort of swallowing worms or surviving on a desert island. Additionally, with the explosion of social media, people are no longer trying to stand out in a classroom of 35 kids or a graduating class of 400. Now they’re trying to stand out in a world-wide community. Having red hair puts me solidly among a tiny percentage of the population without even trying. I’m actually more concerned about going gray. Gingers don’t gray well. They get kind of a dingy blonde. SInce I already have some blonde, I figure I’ll go all in as a platinum Marilyn then because I won’t be able to duplicate the red!

    • Very good points. And as for duplicating colors… I hear you. Growing up, I had a deep red, threaded with orange, blonde and brown. As I’ve gotten older, it’s getting darker; less of the deep red and orange. I’m also going gray. I’ve found a colorist that does a great job, even if it’s not the multitude of shades I had in my youth.

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