Friday, October 10, 2008

BLONDE DISPATCHES: The Anti-Marilyn and the Pitfalls of Being Blonde

by TommyGirl

Sometimes I forget that I have blonde hair. That's because I've spent most of my pre-adult and adult life trying to make others ignore that fact. I've always been aware that people pre-judge me based on how I look. And every time I meet a new person I know I have to overcome their unfair expectations. No, I'm not high maintenance; I live in jeans and Chucks. No, I don't work out all the time and eat celery and rice cakes; in fact I hate the gym and eat lots of meat. No, I never cheered for sports other than when I watch my favorite football team. No thank you, I don't want a cocktail, I want a beer (and I don't want a glass for it).

I had college professors who were guilty of assigning me some societal role based on how I look. One told me that he was sure I had been a cheerleader in high school. Another said to me that I "looked like the girl who dates the quarterback." Who were they to say these things to me without knowing anything but my name and student ID number? Should I have said to them, "you look like the guy who jacks off to pre-teen internet porn every night?" Or, "you look like someone who used to be thin and now your self-loathing causes you to be unfair to the pretty girls in your class?"

The fact is, I went to a super nerdy high school that didn't even have a football team. I had an appropriate level of angst, loved rock music, played sports, and generally didn't pay much attention to my hair. Unfortunately, when I got to college I discovered I was woefully unprepared to navigate the complex social hierarchy. The girls were so unfriendly to me and I had no idea why. My mom's words echoed in my head, "They're just jealous." But I couldn't believe that they would be jealous of me. I had no style. I was clumsy, loud, and socially retarded. Truly, big boobs and blonde hair will make girls come to some stupid conclusions.

As I've gotten older, I have come to embrace my blonde hair. I don't fight it anymore. When girls meet me now, I am aware the wheels in their heads are already turning. I greet them with a big smile and a loud hello. And I burp and cuss and let my Tommy Boy sense of humor show through until they know I am not just a bubbly babe masking a cruel penchant for gossip. I think Cameron Diaz kind of saved me. When she burst onto the movie scene and became a sex symbol for embodying the anti-Marilyn, I knew I was going to be OK. I love Marilyn. I'm just so not her. Cameron briefly abandoned me for a brunette phase. I'm so thankful she came back.

Living in a society that values blondes as sex symbols and not much else forced me to rebel against the stereotype. I'm glad I have blonde hair. I think it's made me develop my personality and figure out who I am. And it has most definitely gotten me into a few concerts and out of a few speeding tickets.

TommyGirl lives, works, and defies blonde stereotypes by drinking beer and cussing in the Northeast.


Anonymous said...

Are only Caucasian women worried about being blonde, naturally, or having to colour it? That's the sense I'm getting from reading your blog. I'm East Indian, I have black hair, tends to get a bit browny in the summer, whatever, it's never phased me, my hair colour. Looking at other colours, etc., I've never thought once about how I might be regarded a certain way b/c of my hair colour...
It boggles me, this whole concern about being treated differently if a blonde...

Anonymous said...

You have totally captured my own experience as a blonde. Girl, I understand. It's both wonderful and horrible all in one. And yeah. I STILL get called Barbie at 42.

Working for the Army has been a lot of fun with all that going on too. Your blog is like therapy.


--Janna Lewis
Staff reporter
Fort Hood Sentinel

Kitty said...

Thanks for commenting, anonymous. I think you bring up a great point. I also think that it might only be blondes who worry about being blonde, because when I was a dark brunette, worrying about my hair was the last thing on my mind.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!