As with everything women have to put up with, hair maintenance is tough. You’re expected to use all kinds of products to make it smooth, voluminous, and vibrant, all the while pretending that you don’t use any products and that you woke up like that. If you’re too forthcoming about your routine, or the end result is obviously unnatural, you get shamed for it, which is why women who dye their hair blue or wear “too much” makeup are so strongly vilified by certain sections of the internet.
What happens, though, when you have an unnatural hair color that nobody knows is unnatural? Welcome to being a bottle redhead! When some people hear that a redhead is “faking it” they act all scandalized, but the truth is that most people have no idea how to tell what actual ginger hair looks, thanks to decades of seeing unnatural shades in movies, TV, and especially comic books.
Well, no, I should be more specific. Everyone can tell when men dye their hair — just ask fans of Riverdale (sorry, KJ Apa, but you’ve gotta do something with those eyebrows). It’s women they have a harder time with, because all the women they see in media look so perfect all the time that they just think that’s who we’re supposed to be.
Don’t believe me? Let’s go down a list of “fake” redheads and see how you handle it:
Emma Stone? Actually a blonde.
Christina Hendricks? Blonde.
Lucille Ball? Brunette.
Alyson Hannigan? Brunette.
Sophie Turner? Blonde.
Florence Welch? Brunette.
Rita Hayworth? Brunette.
Ann Margaret? Brunette.
Molly Ringwald? Brunette.
Gillian Anderson. Blonde.
Amy Adams. Blonde.
Even the redheads who are naturally redheads, like Felicia Day or Karen Gillan, often color their hair a different shade of red to make it pop more. Because you know what? Bright red hair is fun! I should know — my natural color is brown. Yes, I am also “lying” to you. Except I’m not, because that’s the point I’m trying to make here: dyeing your hair a different color isn’t a lie. I’m not “faking” at being a redhead, and neither are all the celebrities who wear their hair the same way, because we all made that choice consciously for ourselves.
Sure, there’s definitely a conversation to be had about how gender norms encourage and often require women to embrace artificial forms of beauty (especially black women, who are frequently penalized in professional spaces if they don’t literally alter their hair chemistry to fit white standards). But “your hair doesn’t grow out of your head that way so you’re a liar” isn’t it. And it’s definitely not the conversation that dudes who wanna know if your “carpet” match your “drapes” are trying to have with you, anyway. Trust me. I’ve been there.
So the next time you find out that a woman — or anyone, really — did not grow up with the same hair color they now possess, get the heck over it! Celebrate them for their choice! Just don’t be all disappointed. Pretty hair is a social construct anyway.