Those Sinful Gingers

I’m still trying to figure out the best way to keep a blog.  When it comes to the internet I’m not a very technical person.  Mostly I just want to work on the film, but little things keep coming up and I feel compelled to share them.  Hopefully this site will work for me.

So I just had an interesting chat with a fan on Facebook and I’d like to share it.  She’s a redhead living in the US and she told me that when she was six or seven growing up in Montana, in a strong Christian community, adults would tell her on a pretty regular basis that she had red hair because she was sinful, and that she was going to lead a life of sin.

I know that red hair has always been associated with sin in art.  Judas was painted as a redhead so that he would standout from the other 11 apostles, and this painting really struck me when I first saw it at Musée d’Orsay:


But for adults to actually tell a small child that she’s sinful just because of her hair?  I’ve had to deal with my share of abuse, but I’ve never come across that.  And it wasn’t even that long ago, she was talking about the ‘80s. 

Mostly I wonder about the long-term impact of that on a child.  It seems to me that it has the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  It also makes me wonder about the stereotypes other groups face.

I’m curious, has anyone else had to deal with this stereotype?  And do you think it’s had an impact on the person you are today?

Leave a comment below, or email me:


Keep me informed.


11 thoughts on “Those Sinful Gingers

  1. Cyndi McCurdy

    Oh, I had to hear all the time about how I must have a fiery temper or how I must have been adopted since none of my siblings had red hair. I heard “I’d rather be dead than red on the head” more times than I can count. You name it, I’ve probably heard it.

  2. Alaena Prince

    I know about that one, but can’t say I’ve ever had anyone tell me or any of my family that. Did have a lady rub my son’s hair at the grocery store the other day for “luck”. She was nice enough to ask first. Guess she was going to poker night later that evening. Hope she did well.

  3. Carmen Parkinson

    I too was told this as a child, among other things. I would grow up to be bad tempered, mean and unlovable. It’s sad that adults pass these kinds of judgements on to children. Thank goodness I have a mother that is loud and proud about having a ginger!!

  4. chipsareonfire

    My sister and I were told we were devil worshippers by some kids in our village (funnily enough, one of them was ginger, too, so I’m assuming most of the motivation for the bullying came from how he was also being bullied!). They used to shoot bb guns at us and one threw an apple that hit me on the side of my eye… They said it was because we were ginger but the reasons occasionally varied- maybe just boys treating ’em mean to keep ’em keen?? Can’t say we were that keen…

  5. jessurwin

    When on holiday in spain when we were kids I remember people pointing at me and my sister and saying “El Diablo”. Also, someone slapped me and called me the devil when I visited the vatican a few years ago. I didn’t ask for her reasons as I wanted to get away, but can only assume it was because of my hair colour.

    Can’t say how it’s impacted on me, I’ve been an atheist since my teens, so I’m not bothered by it, I find it a bit funny actually. But if I were religious, it would probably be really upsetting.

  6. Mark Mordey

    As a child, growing up in a farming community in Lincolnshire, I was constantly being told I was the runt of the litter (youngest of 5 children, parents and 3 siblings black hair – my redhaired sister was called “the mistake”) and I had a face only a mother could love.
    Another taunt was that “you can be sure of your mother – but not who your father is”

  7. Doug

    Mark’s story sounds familiar. I grew up on several farms with extended family or guardians so I was already a little different. Some were downright mean. For a long time I did think that I was just left-over parts, a mistake. Kids can always be cruel, but it hurt so much more when it came from an adult.

    1. Mark Mordey

      This is just a comment, not a reply or anything. On May 26th 2013 is the second annual Rossitalia day in Milano, August 25th Ginger Gathering in Crosshaven,near Cork Ireland and 1st September there’s the Red Hair 4 day event in Breda, The Netherlands. Thousands of gingers gather at each but there’s no equivalent meeting up in the UK – I couldn’t organise a party in a brewery, not that I’ve ever tried – no doubt in the UK Health n Safety would be involved. But I slept on it last night and I live on the Isle of Wight – could become the Isle of Red, the ferries are the Red Jets and Red Funnel (yes really!!!). If you look up those three festivals on the internet there’s loads of photos of incredibly pretty girls (naturally!!!) – but no handsome hunks (like me!!) errr – or is a “goodlooking ginger” an oxymoron; that sort of “joke” is what causes us blokes low self esteem – anyway do we really want a woman to like us solely for our ginger hair?

      1. beinggingerthefilm Post author

        I was in Breda last year, and I’ll be back this year. I’ll also be in Cork, but I don’t think I’ll be able to make the one in Milano (maybe next year.) Breda was amazing and I’m happy to recommend it to everyone. Also, I have a few British friends who are trying to launch a UK event. Search for “Redhead Day UK” on Facebook.

        As for wanting a woman to like us solely for our hair, no, I would never want that. From the very beginning I just wanted to know if such women actually existed. I’d heard about them, but never met one, and I found the idea of trying to find one, like the quest for the holy grail, amusing. (Mostly because I’d only ever encountered abuse.) That’s just where the film starts, it ends up being much more than that.

      2. Mark Mordey

        Just found out the cost to Milan is £530 by plane – but Breda is £150 return by rail sail, so def going to that. The manager of our new Costa coffee shop is a redhead – she likes the idea of Ginger Gatherings – by the way, talking about your film/gingerism is a great opening line to meet people. That interview is “gob-smacking” – Tot ziens, (Dutch for see you) at Breda

  8. chipsareonfire

    Hey, my blog isn’t particularly good or anything but I just posted a rant about Gingerism… I’m mentioning it as it was chiefly inspired by your short film and that amazing To This Day poem. I thought I would post about it on this particular post of yours because it is sort of my outlook on bullying in its various forms… and I would be interested in hearing feedback from fellow redheads, too, if they feel so inclined!
    Emily x


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