“Blonde Like Me”
by Kelly Anneken, managing editor
I think it’s awfully stereotypical of you, ISA, to force me to write this thing about the theme of the goddamn magazine at gunpoint instead of letting me write about flamingos like I freaking wanted. I don’t care if it was only a hot glue gun. Go suck a fuck.
So. Stereotypes. “Commonly held public beliefs about specific social groups, or types of individuals,” if you want to be a know-it-all Dickipedia about it. I really didn’t think I was qualified to write about this subject, being blonde-haired, blue-eyed and practically perfect in every way, until I hit the Google and learned that there are a lot of negative stereotypes about blondes, including the supposed existence of something called “blonde privilege,” defined by Let’s Talk About Race blogger Angela Dion as “a special identity for women with fair skin and long hair.” Blonde privilege is the compensation we flaxen-haired fillies receive for being generally thought of, or “stereotyped” as vapid, bubble-headed penis repositories
I know what you’re thinking. “Kelly! Surely a self-respecting girl such as yourself is familiar with the works of Ann M. Martin, specifically the Babysitters Club Super Special #5: California Girls, in which Mallory Pike, the group’s token ginger, explores the issue of blonde privilege ad nauseum! Haven’t you ever seen those grammatically incorrect t-shirts that say “Life is better blonde?”
Yes, reader, I am familiar with a variety of schlocky YA series, as well as the apparel selection at www.miztees.com. What you must understand is that all my life, I have incorrectly self-identified as a brunette. I chalk this up to a selective form of colorblindness, my desperate desire to be an oppressed minority and negative cultural attitudes regarding blondes. After all, brown-haired girls on television are always plucky and resourceful, while their tow-headed counterparts are slutty and devoid of intellect. They couldn’t put it on television if it wasn’t true. I obviously fall into the first category, so by the transitive axiom, I am a brunette. QED.
Such was my pride in my brunette identity that in elementary school, I co-founded an exclusive club–“The Brunette Sisters.” You see, my tiny parochial school boasted a population of only five girls in a class of fifteen students. Two of those girls were very, very blonde, while we remaining three had hair the color of dirt. We three non-blondes formed “The Brunette Sisters” as a way of fighting back against corporate male pressure to be blonde and the fact that all the first-grade boys liked the blondes better than us. Being the nascent Mean Girls we were, we felt it was our solemn duty to support one another and exclude the blondes from our awesome slumber parties.
During my formative years, only my father dared insist that I was a blonde, though the term he used was “dishwater blonde,” as if my hair could remove even the toughest grease and cooked-on food. I didn’t believe him anyway, since Dad had long since revealed himself as an unreliable source on the subject of me–he could never remember my date of birth or current age. I casually opted out of the blonde debate during an extended period of collegiate hair-color experimentation, but in recent years, I got tired of massaging lye or rat poison or whatever the hell makes hair dye smell like that into my scalp and my hair reverted to its natural shade of brownish, which I eventually understood and accepted to be part of the blonde spectrum.
So I’m a blonde. Cool, whatevs, that’s totes fine with me. I mean, the Brunette Sisters have disbanded for all practical purposes (though our slumber parties are still kickass), so it’s not like I need to impress anybody with my brunetteness anymore. My problem lies in the fact that I’m not getting- and have never gotten- any of this blonde privilege. Evidently, I screwed myself out of all kinds of special treatment and free shit for years because I was operating under the delusion that I was a brunette. Don’t worry, I have since modified my behavior to be more blonde-compliant and filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of myself and the other Brunette Sisters. If all goes well, we will receive “Rapunzel reparations” from the US government for the rest of our natural lives.
However, there are those who believe that we blondes are unfairly rewarded for the accident of our hair color. Check out what Robin Givhan has to say about blondes in her December 2009 Washington Post article about Michelle Salahi, that dizzy bitch who crashed President Obama’s first state dinner: “She is the archetype for so many of the cultural touchstones of male-female interactions. The damsel in distress is not typically depicted as a dark-haired, middle-aged woman, after all. The Bergdorf blonde — that high-maintenance prima donna — still wins the wealthy prince. Why? Because even with her demanding, narcissistic ways, she’s still the epitome of the trophy wife. He who has her wins.” The aforementioned Angela Dion goes on to assert that “[blondes] get what they want without even asking and men fall over themselves to cater to their every need.”
Oh, puh-lease, ladies. What fantasy world do you live in? Look here, when I got married at the tender age of 23- a time when most of my friends couldn’t even convince a guy to stick around for longer than one drunken night, regardless of hair color, I might add–I had to ask my future husband to buy me a rare and difficult-to-find trilliant-cut diamond engagement ring, so I guess that shoots all to hell Ms. Dion’s claim that we blondes get what we want without even asking. We’re blonde, not freaking psychic.
And, hey, Robin Givhan, if I’m such the fairy-tale damsel in distress, why is that bitch Kate Whatsername the one engaged to Prince William, not me? Why am I not living in a castle with turrets and a moat and a handmaiden named Hildegarde, who I call “Hildy” for short? Why, if I’m so high-maintenance and narcissistic, did I pledge to stop throwing my spike heels at my husband when he brings me the wrong brand of bottled water or forgets to have my fainting couch steam-cleaned every other week? I mean, I’m still doing that, but I think the fact that I’ve admitted the problem is a very positive first step. And if I’m such a prima donna, then why hasn’t an eccentric millionaire built me an opera house yet?
I believe I’ve made my point. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it next time you make me write something for this stupid magazine, ISA, you inferior brown-haired Cuban whore.
I think I’m finally getting the hang of this blonde thing.