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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?

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Yikes, here it is 2002, not 1972, and I am reading here the very same conversation that I had with my best friend in high school. She was blonde. She was tall. She was athletic at a time when that meant she could be a cheerleader, but not a basketball player. She had a brain in her head too. It was hard times. Now there is much better funding for girls' athletic teams. But the brain in your head part is no better for either boys or girls than it ever has been, and possibly worse. You don't have to be able to put a coherent sentence together to be President.

I think there is a historic difference in how these issues played out culturally in the U.S. and in the U.K. Now we share this language about "political correctness" but the value of intellectual effort and verbal expertise is entirely different in our cultures. Divided by a common tongue, like the fellow said.

It has a lot to do with why Bridget Jones was such a hit in Britain and sank pretty quietly here in the States. The issues of appearance makes women crazy in similar ways on both sides of the water, but the intelligence issues seem to be different. I was going to say, some of my best friends are blonde... and so is Hillary Clinton, who still gets a hard way to go.

I hate (again) to be so stereotypically me, but what about Buffy? there's your classic buzzy, beautiful, ditzy popular cheerleader style blonde who in typical Joss Whedon metaphorical style has to face up to the responsibility & reality of actually being clever and competent and brave (and sometiems not automatically poular because if thexze things). if that isn't a metaphor for the fact that women can't get by on being dumb and attractive alone (however nice and easy that might be, and yes, it IS sometims v tempting) then I don't know what it is. (Curiously the nearest there was to a dumb blonde in Classic Buffy was Cordy, who was the most dark haired character apart from Angel. It is in fact noticeable that the less Joss has had to do with the day to day running of the series the more characters have become blonde or blonder - Anya, Cordy, Willow. Is Spike a dumb blond?)

Buffy very minor spoiler about hair styles!

Yes Spike is a dumb blond, he makes several choices in the last few series (like those eggs) which are not the sign of someone intelligent, and Drusilla was the brains in the pair ... it took Harmony to make him look not quite as dumb (but only just) ... he sits around his crypt watching TV, playing poker for kittens, has Clem as a friend, enjoys himself by drinking and desperately wants to be loved (when the writers, as usual, forget he's a demon and evil). He has some street smarts, but his hair is always well styled, he's got the outfits sorted out and he can achieve most of what he wants without particular application of intelligence ... it's only when he wants things that terrorising and biting can't provide (e.g. Buffy) that he starts to use his mind.

spoiler space






In season seven, some characters change their hair styles! Both Spike and Anya go darker, though Anya goes a lot darker ... and Willow's hair is longer and flows gorgeously <grin!>

I wish they all could be...

Well, having seen very little indeed of Buffy, I have to say she does not strike me as a cheerleader. Maybe a wannabe. She is a New Kid, which is something I have far more experience of than anyone ought. She might sort into cheerleader if high school lasted long enough, but she is first an outsider.

But I have a basic lack of understanding and appreciation for the whole Valley Girl thing that Buffy is spoofing. Like Bridget, she is not as shallow as the bimbo ideal of American womanhood is spozed to be. Footnote here for Clueless. I can only wonder exactly how California girls map to British expectations. Fluffhead is still a pretty lively career opportunity here. Blonde, brunette or redhead: those are the salient categories. There too you think?


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