Showing posts with label rutiluphilia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rutiluphilia. Show all posts

9 Aug 2018

Rutiluphilia (Reflections on Redheads)

Emma Hack: 'The Redhead' 
from the series Beautiful Women (2013)

Naturally red hair is an uncommon condition, even amongst the native peoples of north-western Europe, such as the Celts, in whom it occurs more frequently. In Ireland, for example, the most redheaded nation on earth, no more than 10% of the population are blessed in this manner, although over 1-in-3 carry the recessive ginger gene variant.

Whilst red hair is associated with other physical characteristics - such as fair (often freckled) skin and light (often green) coloured eyes - so too is it rich with cultural significance and subject to both positive and negative stereotyping.

Redheaded women, for example, are said to be fiery of temper and sharp of tongue.

But they are also regarded as morally suspect and bestial in nature, which is why, for example, during the Christian Middle Ages red hair in combination with green eyes was taken as a sure sign of a witch, a werewolf, a vampire - or a Jew. Such fear and mistrust of redheads - particularly in fatal combination with antisemitism - led to their persecution as heretics during the Spanish Inquisition. 

Not surprisingly, red-haired women also feature in the pornographic imagination as unusually passionate and promiscuous. Perhaps this is due to the vividness of their colouring; or perhaps it's their sensitivity to ultraviolet light and other forms of stimulation that makes such vixens of them.

Or perhaps all such ethno-sexual stereotyping is just nonsense ...