Some Sociological Musings

So I was speculating the other day why women seemed to be better predictors of their race times than men (based on a totally inadequate sample size and highly questionable logic).

In that same vein, here is an observation and a question.

It struck me, watching the high school show choir Sunday night (not the RockStar’s choir), what a significant percentage of blondes (and blonds) there were.  (Granted, in the picture below, the girl in the foreground looks highlighted, a bit, but three of the other five girls in the picture appeared to be totally natural blondes in real life.)


Here’s a slightly different sampling.


Now, yes, there may have been selection bias for the choir.  But I think most of it is genetics.  Lots of Germans around here, some Norwegians (though many are dark, actually), a few Swedes and Danes.  Of the girls in the choir, there were two redheads, and about 1/3 blonde blondes, about 1/3 dishwater blondes/light brown like me, and about 1/3 brown/black.

Why do I bring this up?

I was at an educational conference in Florida a few years ago.  I was knitting, at the back so as not to distract anyone.  I looked forward at the group of attendees and realized that, although there were a number of blonde heads in the group, not a single one was a natural blonde.  Not one!  It was so strikingly different from the Midwest.

And it led me to ponder — what is so special about blondes?  I considered myself blonde when I was young, though my hair has darkened so I don’t any more (my husband, bless his heart, still thinks of me that way) — being blonde-ish didn’t seem like anything special.  (Leastways, not around HERE.)  Why do black and brown-haired women go blonde?  Sometimes, it doesn’t strike me as flattering, with certain skin tones.  Nor does the black line at the part of the hair.  (My husband, who is generally fairly observant, used to ask me wonderingly how I could tell, if I said something about a woman dyeing her hair.  Another difference between men and women….)

Theories?  Do we want to believe that blondes have more fun?  What is it about blonde hair?

While you’re pondering: tomorrow, a contest announcement, and the day after, the unveiling of the Coulee Shawl (and its free pattern).  Plus:  The Noro Striped Scarf is indeed addictive.  I think it ought to be a controlled substance.

8 responses to “Some Sociological Musings

  1. Perhaps it is the association with the early platinum blonde bombshell movie stars — Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, etc. But that begs the question; why did the movie industry decide that glamour = blonde? Maybe it was a practical matter, in early black & white films, all hair colors looked pretty much alike, except bleached white. Having platinum blonde hair was a way to make a character stand out. But why did they not feel the need to bleach a male actor’s hair?

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said “I considered myself blonde when I was young, though my hair has darkened”. Blond hair does darken with age, so it’s associated with youth; youth is associated with female fertility and therefore sexual attractiveness.

    I suppose that makes it one end of a scale of measures that include make-up, corsets, Botox and cosmetic surgery.

    BTW, I work in a high school. We have punk/Emo kids who dye their blond hair dark. It’s really weird to see blond roots on dark hair when you’re used to the opposite.

  3. martha in mobile

    Down here in the Deep South, bottle blondes are in the majority. And if your hair is unaccountably brown, you highlight it until you feel dizzy looking in the mirror.

    I bleached my hair blonde a few weeks before it was due to fall out because of chemo. That was a nice distraction from all the cancer worries. When it did fall out, it looked like a golden retriever had been shedding on my bed and clothes. I think it helped, since I really didn’t associate it with my own hair!

  4. I blame Baywatch…but I’ve blamed that show for a lot of the world’s wrongs :).

    The best manifestation of its evil was being asked how I could possibly BE from Southern California if I did not surf, have a tan, or blond hair. I should have had my residency revoked, or something.

    In WA state? I’ve seen more redheads than blonds. Some coming from families who have not had a redhead in generations. The dormant genes pop out when you least expect them. For the bottle blonds, could that be it? They might be the only dark-haired person in their family and it was just easier to fit in?

    Or as the ladies in the library once told me, you end up blond by mistake. Your stylist keeps lightening and lightening your hair to hide the gray and one day, poof, you have become completely blond.

  5. i think of my self as a blonde.
    (the mirror informs me daily that my platinium blonde hair of my child hood, has long since faded to a dishwater blonde, and now to a dark ash blonde.)

    It is a northern european thing.. and yes, i was always surprised that guys never had a clue.(until about 3 year ago, Me and Miss Clariol colaborated to make me a very light ash blonde..)

    now, my dark ash is mixed with lots of grey..(and i am seriously thinking of adding a purple wash in/wash out streak or two!..

    (you know when i am old, I will wear purple (hair!) and red hats…)

  6. Yay for Martha, that’s the best reason I’ve ever heard to dye hair! I’m with Sally, it’s a youth thing. Here’s what though, mine used to naturally highlight itself golden (from dark ash), now it’s just darker darker ash, but never so nice as brown… just dark mousy, you know? So I do highlight it now and then, but I don’t fuss about how good a job I do, because it all grows out anyhow. And I don’t have it in me to care so much as to spend lots of $$ and get it done professionally. I also think that as we age (at least those of us of more or less northern european stock), that lighter colors look better on us than darker. Really though I want to be golden red, but everybody tells me it’d look awful w/ the olive tones in my fair skin (that’s the part I just don’t get… how can I be so fair but olive toned?). It was so much easier when we just wore skin and fur and were dead before we went gray.

  7. Oh, so true! I remember being slightly disturbed, when we moved up to MN, by how many people “looked like me” (me being a pale blond, the only one in my immediate family). I agree with everyone else who’s saying it’s probably an age thing. My hair actually hasn’t darkened all that much as I’ve gotten older, but I never had the platinum blond to begin with…I’m more of a honey/strawberry blond.

  8. I’m finally getting caught up on blog reading and had to chime in.

    I’m a natural blond and though it’s a bit darker than my childhood (and oddly more curly) it’s still a honey/golden blond. Here in Seattle, I don’t feel noticeable or like everyone else. We seem to have quite a mix. When I travel it’s a different story though. Getting off the airplane in Detroit always makes the Sesame Street “One of these things is not like the other” song go through my head. But going to a family reunion makes me feel like one of the gang.

    That’s a long way to say I think it’s regional and anything that’s not common is interesting. So some places it is more fun to be blond, but others maybe black hair is more exotic. No matter where you are I think it’s the red heads that get the most attention. It’s certainly true in my daughter’s case.

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