Log in

No account? Create an account
Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Not offended or angry, but quizzical
Why is this joke, which was extremely funny and completely unacceptable when told about Paddy the Irishman, suddenly acceptable when told about blondes?

Have we decided, as a culture, that it's acceptable to take the piss out of women who just happen to be blonde? Or do we really think that blondes are stupider? Can you imagine this joke being told about blond men? Note the classic strategem of apologising to the group maligned in the joke, too. ("Oh no, flick or hhfishlifter. I didn't mean you! Obviously you're not dumb. But everyone knows that 'blondes' in this joke means 'generic group of people mocked for their stupidity'.")

Both men and women shown pictures of blonde women judge them to be stupider than pictures of the same women with dark hair, red hair or grey hair. So I think it's a pretty safe bet that they're discriminated against at school and in the workplace too.

Blonde women tell tales of being systematically put down all through school because of their hair colour. And there are far more blonde jokes now than there used to be. Now, it's fine for adults to dye their hair whatever colour they like, but we don't normally encourage children to dye their hair. Is it reasonable to expect blonde girls to put up with people assuming they're stupid, and making jokes at the expense of their ethnic group?

  • 1

As a culture, then I think, yes we have ..

... and while each of us "knows" better, there are films like "Legally Blonde" and characters like Marilyn Monroe and Patsy (in AbFab) and so many other areas where the blonde is very pretty and very stupid. And the big twist is quite often when it turns out the blonde has a brain as well.

But this hasn't always been the case, the blondes in the Film Noir detective movies were always both smart and devious.

But this hair colour thing goes further: Red Heads are firey and fun, brunettes are more intelligent and sensible. And it's true for men as well. "Ginger" men are ridiculed, blonde men are considered weak willed or admired for their physicality, while most CEOs are dark haired.

Could there be a genetic basis to this? Is there something about blue-eyed blondes and the fact that two recessives must meet up for that description to be true (I believe) be possibly some indicator that there are other genetic weaknesses (but aside from a penchant for Saabs, saunas and suicide, I'm not aware of any great Scandinavian plague, though of course they practiced euthanasia up until the 1960s...)

I've just done a fair bit of websurfing to see if there are any believable comparative figures, and I couldn't find any ... the best we could have done locally was the BBC "Test the Nation" which did have some figures by hair colour I believe, but they've taken down all those pages.

In the meantime, two URLs to check out.

I'd love to read this site, but it's blocked from work http://www.neoteny.org/a/femalesexualselection.html
Another interesting site
See http://www.unc.edu/~kmbooth/moore.html

The "joke" was that the vacuous airheaded blonde, when it looked like she'd lose her dark haired rich "aristocrat" boyfriend, decided she had to get into Harvard Law School with him, so she studied and succeeded.

The moral of the story (in that part at least) is that you can actually be very clever and able to study, but being blonde means you don't have to (usually) and very few people seem to have attacked the film on that basis.

Re: Legally Blonde

See, I thought that the joke was that she was a really good lawyer *becuase* she was a dumb, high maintenance blonde..

I commented on this earlier, and deleted it, and have now decided to re add it folowing what I wrote below about Buffy. The moral of Legally Blonde is that the character grows through the movie by discovering there are things she can only get by using her brain not just by being blonde and beautiful ; she starts off just wanting her boyfriend back; by the end she is earning her own self respect and the respect of other people who (implicitly) are more worthy of both her and the audience's time eg the rather cardboard fiancee of the last scene. What is lovely about Legally Blonde is that she gets to that stage WITHOUT losing either her beauty, her popularity or her joie de vivre. It is in this sense partly having-it-all post feminism and in an other sense simple impossible escapism and rather sad. But I love it, not least because the main character really does remind me hugely of my own elder niece (yes the same one who streaks her hair blonde) who now has a very nice career but is also v happy with her nice clothes, nice car, nice hair and nice boyfriend. And Why Not??

  • 1