Wednesday, March 28, 2007

my brunette garbage

A reader recently left an interesting comment in response to this post. It was so interesting, in fact, that I wanted to post about it. She said:

Brunettes that are bleached are not Blonde. Yes, I know that Bleached Brunette sounds ugly but hey, if you are a Brunette and you're bleached, then you're a Bleached Brunette. Stop using the name Blonde to dress up your Brunette garbage. Blondes are actively disassociating from this forced relationship. Blonde is the name of the Blonde people and nobody else.

Well, she certainly told me, didn't she?

(Also, did you guys know there were a "blonde people?" Perhaps they hail from a great "Blonde nation" located in some remote region of Scandinavia?)

I was intrigued and just had to check out this reader's website, Blond from Birth. It's basically a soapbox where this very disgruntled blonde laments the shitty, undermining stereotypes she faces as a blond woman, and has likely been facing all of her life (if she is, in fact, among the 1 in 20 women who are naturally blond from birth--she's posted no pictures to prove it.)

The content is problematic to me: virtually unsupported & for the most part WAY oversimplified, i.e. her comparisons between blonde prejudice & racism or anti-semitism--in my opinion, that's totally inappropriate. But, I can't say I blame this woman for feeling upset about her plight. I'm sure that as a blonde, she's treated like a bimbo all the time. I lived as an almost platinum blonde for a year and a half, I know what that feels like. And truly, it sucks to be treated like you're stupid, solely because of the color of your hair.

That said, I think that more of the time, blondes are celebrated based solely on the color of their hair. I certainly was as a child, from the moment wispy strands of baby hair grew in flaxen on my head (yes, I was blonde from birth), thru my teens, when puberty, hormones, and the natural aging process turned my hair light brown. All of that happened again in a whole new way when I went blonde as an adult, and persisted thru the day I dyed my hair brown. Sometimes, as a brunette, I truly miss that special treatment...though I am beginning to suspect that the person who felt the most special about my blonde hair most of the time was me.

So, thanks for the food for thought, Carol "Blond from Birth" Cox. It's too bad you didn't take the time to read my blog, and just skimmed thru that one post before leaving me an angry/mean/slightly scary comment. The fact of the matter is, Undercover Blonde is a very pro-blonde, very pro-woman project, designed to question stereotypical notions of blondes, and make readers think twice about the prejudices we hold based on meaningless physical traits.

Far more interesting to me than your 'natural' blond hair color, however, is your self-protective, othering attitude about your blondness. It tells me that you fail to see the big picture I am so desperately trying to deconstruct with my project. The fact of the matter is, your experience of marginalization is so much bigger than you, and so much bigger than the plight of blondes alone. It's part of a very complicated web that has all women of every race, class, and sexual orientation ensnared in it's sticky fiber. It's the experience of being female in a sexist, looksist, unfair society.

The sad thing is, by fostering an "us" and "them" mentality with rhetoric about my "brunette garbage" and invalidating my experience because I'm not part of the elite "blond from birth," you are only making a complex situation worse. As women, we are constantly pitted against each other in this culture, constantly finding ways to undermine or undercut the other, based on horribly superficial things. Anyone who has ever critiqued the length of a colleague's skirt is guilty; anyone who has ever been so critiqued is a victim. It's a classic example of divide & conquer, baby. Ever heard of it? As aggrandizing as it is to put another woman down in the moment, it only serves to undermine our power as a group. And it's a remarkably effective way to perpetuate a sexist, looksist, and totally unfair status quo.

With a little bit of patience and a little bit more reading, you might understand that I get what it feels like to be treated like an idiot because of the color of my hair. Every woman does, because if it's not our hair that marks us as ditzy sex objects, it's our bust size or our height or not being pretty enough, or being too pretty, you name it...mostly we're marked as inferior because we were born with a vagina. It's part & parcel of the sticky web of sexism. Hair color? That's just the icing on the patriarchal cake.

Then again, perhaps you're not actually the blog reading type. Perhaps you lack the patience to pore through the many pages of Undercover Blonde, to make sense of my goals and ambitions with this carefully drawn project. If that's the case, you can wait until it's all out in book form, buy a copy on Amazon, or take a copy home from your local library. By then, I'm sure, it will be much more concise.

Lucky for you, that will sooner than late, because I just signed on with a literary agent.

And no, I will NOT be changing the title of my "brunette garbage" to Undercover Bleached Brunette. Something tells me a title like that just wouldn't work in the marketplace.

10 comments:

east side girl said...

You tell her, Kitty!

Congrats on the agent thing--email me and give me the full scoop.

Big Love from NYC,

East Side Girl

Kimberly said...

Kitty, she's just mad because your an intelligent, witty and beautiful woman no matter your haircolor. No stereotype can apply to you because you are unique and special.

A real firey Redhead

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I agree 100% with Carol "Blonde from Birth." Let's face it -- its pretty clear to me that all of you brunettes who bleach their hair blonde are motivated by one thing - plain and simple envy for women with beautiful, natural blonde hair, and jealousy that no matter how good the bleach, the dark roots always come sooner than expected. Everyone knows that blonde haired women are the most beautiful, not just because of their gorgeous hair but also their accompanying "blonde" features, including eyes, complexion etc.

threetoedsloth said...

Geez, that woman's comment had kind of a scary Aryan Nation feel to it...

Leslie said...

Oh my god - she left almost the EXACT SAME COMMENT on my blog, on a piece I wrote about becoming a redhead: "Some Brunettes, like you, are so pathetic. You assume the name Blonde but you act like a Bleached Brunette, which you are. You have harassed Blondes by forcing yourself on us and now you're doing the same thing to Redheads. Get over it, you're a Brunette and you'll always be a Brunette. Leave Blondes and Redheads alone. We are keeping track of the ongoing damage to our reputations."

Yikes - I guess she IS keeping track, isn't she?

By the way - congrats on the agent! That's a HUGE accomplishment; publication is now but a short step away.

Anonymous said...

ITS HAIR COLOR!!! people seriously need to get over it. I'm naturally dirty blonde. I've went brunette and I've went blonde. But honestly what does it matter folks?!??!?!?

Anonymous said...

WOW. Carol's not pro-blonde, she's anti-brunette.

I actually found this blog because I stumbled onto Carol's "Blond From Birth" site and was hoping that someone had put something.. anything.. up on the net to challenge her premise.

It seems apparent that it is actually Carol who is the one feeling insecure about her looks. If she were so happy and proud to be blonde, she would be outside showing off her golden locks and meeting up with her vast array of adoring friends who only like her because they envy her luminous tresses (I say this last part because her elitist attitude and snarling personality don't seem like they would do much for her social life on their own).

Indeed, it seems like Carol is feeling that her only worthwhile feature is her blonde hair, so she attempts to broadcast it as a superior trait, belittling everyone else along her way. I feel sorry for a person with such low self esteem.

Hair colour is not a defining feature of beauty on its own. Sure, each person has colours which suit them. But, across a broad array of human appearances, attractive hair colour becomes a spectrum.

Saying that someone is cheap/unattractive/[insert any other derogatory term within reach] because they dye their hair is downright nasty and bitchy. To be against colouring hair based on appearance is to be against any cosmetic change. Does Carol wear make-up? That would be changing her own looks against what was naturally given to her.

I hope for her sake and for the sake of consistency in argument that Carol is against make-up, cosmetic surgery, braces, eyebrow tinting, etc.

People change/modify their appearances for the sake of beauty.. not usually out of jealousy. The jealous ones are the people who put down others based on looks, such as bigots like Carol.

s. said...

i completely agree with the person who posted above me. dying your hair is really no different than wearing make up. and as for the anonymous bitch who said "everyone knows blonde women are the most beautiful.." referring to natural blondes, that's total BS. she sounds like a real white supremecist creep. sorry to burst your bubble anon bitch but blonde hair does not dictate other pretty features. yeah there are tons of etremely pretty natural blondes but there are also tons of extremely pretty natural brunettes. if what you say were true there would be no such thing as an ugly natural blonde, and yes there is. and there would never be a case where a natural brunette is prettier than a natural blonde, and yeah there is.

s. said...

lol i just realized she said "blonde" features. wtf? pretty features don't belong to any one hair color or any people of a certain hair color. oh and brunette hair can be gorgeous too. it's deep, rich and shimmery. not everyone is jealous of blonde hair itself, if they are they're idiots. having prefrences is fine but not being able to aknowledge the beauty in another hair color besides blonde is well, close minded, and only reveals your insecurites and fear of your inadequacy as a blonde- the great 'blondeness' you uphold yourself to. get real.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just stumbled in here in my (insomniac) quest for make-up tips for natural blondes hoping for a legitimate glimtz of the darker side...I now have the dark hair but haven't quite captured the smoky eye...I didn't realize I'd be required to pledge allegiances to one color - can't we just go by family background or religion - they are such tried and tested methods for delineating the flaxen from the damned...I guess I can neither claim status as a blonde nor as a brunette - how about a lowly "dyed blonde"

Whatevs I'm still rockin it. Any tips for darker makeup on fair skin -preferable avoiding the Goth look? -