17 December 2009


Earlier this week, a certain news story hit the TV and press - it fell into the category of "human interest" and caused some smirking, ironic sideswipes and gasps of despair from several dark, blonde or grey-haired news reporters.

Essentially what happened was this. Mrs Davinia Phillips aged thirty of York spotted a particular Christmas card in her local Tesco store. It poked fun at people with red or ginger hair. As it happens, Mrs Phillips is the red haired mother of three red-haired daughters. She complained to Tesco and in a commercially skillful act of magnanimity, the monstrous supermarket chain promised to remove all examples of this card from its stores. Here's the card:-
Was Mrs Phillips right to complain or was she just getting her knickers in a twist over nothing? Personally I am 100% behind her. Although I am not ginger-haired myself, as a teacher I often witnessed ginger-haired children being teased. On more than one occasion I had to comfort the upset victims of this "harmless" banter. And I can remember two or three ginger-haired teenagers who dyed their hair black to ward off the hurtful name-calling.
As Mrs Phillips rightly said, if similar cards were made to mock Muslim, black or disabled children the nation would be in uproar. Accepting others for what they are and seeing differences as enriching and healthy is fundamental within a democratic society. Red hair will often speak of a distant Celtic heritage and there have been many high-achieving and attractive red-haired people. Being ginger should not be a subject for cruel mockery so I say well done Mrs Phillips - not just on behalf of ginger haired children everywhere but for the progress of civilisation too.


  1. She's *30*?

    Wow. I'd have believed she was 45 or even older.

    I'll admit the card is almost funny, but only in a "some people are stupid for having a discriminatory attitude towards people of a particular hair colour" kind of way.

  2. Have to agree, she does look considerably older, but I think it is so sad that people who happen to have a particular hair colour should be the target of other people's jokes and worse. Red hair is lovely, especially when it is long and curly. I've always longed for hair like that.

  3. They look as though they deserve bullying...

    However, most black people I know and Mick Hucknall (well known celebrity ginge) admit that after ethnicity Ginger Ninjas get the most discrimination.

    However, the idea of contacting the store's management and getting something removed rather than rising above it is just ridiculous.

    Perhaps us northern types should complain everytime there's an over-used cliche on northern life- cloth caps, whippets etc...

    Sometimes you've just got to laugh at yourself and surely this woman is just 'feeding the flame (haired' of this prejudice for her children.

    Whatever hang-ups children have, surely in the end 'most' will get over it and become better rounded individuals in adult life because of it.

  4. oh boo hoo, i think it is about time people get a bit of a sense of humour and get over it, if this is the worse thing they are teased about they are lucky. Just a bit sick of political correctness gone a bit far.

  5. ANNA So when you look in the mirror how old do you appear? After a boozy night out in Chesterfield talking about Piaget and Freud with your fellow students, I'll bet you look sixty!
    JENNY At least you see what I was getting at. I'm sure Keith wouldn't mind if you dyed your hair red. You'd look like Bonnie Langford!
    PC BOOTH (COMMUNITY CONSTABLE) Of course your hair is not ginger. A Yorkshireman can replace his cap or his whippet but ginger is not just for Christmas, it's for life. Any ginger students in Bangkok?
    CRAIG You and PC Booth should get together and form a new political party - F.A.G.S.! Fascists Against Ginger Swine!

  6. Not aware of the "ginger haired" prejudice here, although years ago people used to say red-haired people had bad tempers and angered easily. Haven't heard that in a long time. We tend to get more of the "dumb blonde" type jokes in the USA.

  7. According to a copy of National Geographic which i once flipped through whilst waiting on my lemon curd to try on clothes, inhabitants of Scotland (wahey!) are more likely than any others in the world to have red hair.

    And in the year prior to publication, more than 50% of all hair dye sold in the world was erm...red.

    Fascinating, huh?

  8. I've become slowly aware through some comments of my kids, that 'Ginge' is a hair colour to be despised. This seems quite newish, and a phenomenon that I've observed with a kind of fascinated sadness. The development of a new prejudice. What will be next to hate I wonder?
    Great post YP. Thanks.

    Happy Christmas, to you and yours, by the way.

  9. I love ginger hair. But when I was teaching, I was aware that many of the staff thought it was fine to call a ginger-haired child that they didn't know by yelling "Hey, Ginger!" I am often in the front of the queue saying "It's too PC" but on this occasion I totally agree with YP - it's just encouraging bullying.


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