Editorial: Seeing red over hair sign

By Michele Hunter


A sign outside a Tauranga hair salon, telling red-heads they can "fix" their hair colour is offensive, tacky and takes the gentle ribbing red-heads receive too far.

For a service industry that specialises in making people feel good about themselves, I think Scarlet Hair Studio's marketing campaign fails miserably.

I can't imagine local red-heads are rushing to have their hair "fixed" by insensitive hairdressers who have jumped on the bullying bandwagon.

Who will they appeal to next? People going grey or balding, brown-haired people with blonde re-growth or people with split ends? There are plenty of reasons for people to feel self-conscious about the way their hair looks, without being made to feel ashamed about the natural colour of it.

The salon's sign endorses negative opinions many red-heads had drummed into them at school - that their hair colour is not "the norm" and they should regret being born with it.

Being blonde, I have some idea what it's like to be discriminated against for my hair colour.

There isn't any basis for people born with blonde hair being considered less intelligent, in the same way there is no basis for red hair being an undesirable hair colour.

While the salon's sign will probably be laughed off by most, for red-heads who have endured a childhood of being called "carrot top" or "gingernut" it may not be so easy.

Some of the most famous women in the world are red-heads with gorgeous, glowing locks. Nicole Kidman, Adele and Emma Stone are all people I'm sure this Tauranga salon would be happy to have as their ambassador.

Surely the salon would be better offering people the chance to enhance their natural looks rather than reinforcing negative feelings red-heads thought they had left behind at primary school.

In most cases of bullying or discrimination it's the majority picking on the minority who are a little bit different in some way.

While having brown or black hair will protect you from the "ginga" jibes and jokes about your lack of intellect, it will also see you hidden amongst the majority.

Red-heads make up only a small percentage of the population. Why would any one want to "fix" what is special and rare to ensure it never stands out in a room?

- Bay of Plenty Times

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