The bellicose blonde…

July 3, 2010

The chicken or the egg?: Are blondes born aggressive or did they have aggression thrust upon them?

Society’s worship of the all-powerful blonde bombshell seems to have manifested itself into a connected super-ego developed by all participants, blonde or bottle, throughout the world. In a study, which (honestly) doesn’t seem entirely conclusive or far-reaching, researchers found that women with fair hair color tended to display more hostility and a “warlike streak” when fighting battles to get their own way. Many believe that this bitchy type of behavior results from a feeling of deserving more, an expectation to be treated a certain way, leading some to argue that we place too great an emphasis on the beauty of blonde.

To me, what makes this study interesting is the conclusion that bottle-blondes assign themselves these expectations and behaviors as soon as they sear their scalp. When does the change occur? Is it an internal reflection of beauty and confidence or can the treatment of these women by others influence their perception of their outward looks and demeanor? I suspect that it is an impossibility to guess, though one wonders if roots reappearing somehow weakens a bottle-blondes warlike streak.

What is it about the blonde that so excites us?

Blonde or brunette?

In the 6th century, Pope Gregory the Great saw fair-haired/skinned slave boys in the markets of Rome. When told they were Angles, he replied “They are not Angles, but angels.” Connecting this appearance to divinity and virginal cleanliness no doubt caused some of the peroxide adoration that was to follow. It is interesting to me how, at that time, blonde represented the exotic other.

Blonde as foreign has some genetic credence, too. It is a rare gift to be blessed by the flaxen fairy. Incredibly so, it would seem, leading German scientists (of course) to speculate that natural blonde hair will be extinct by the year 2202. The blonde gene is a recessive trait; thus, a child may only have blonde hair if the gene is present on “both sides of the  family in the grandparents’ generation.” And that is becoming tricky indeed.

But is that the appeal of the hair color: does the color’s rareness trigger our more primitive natures to network-mate-diversify and improve our genetic makeup? It sounds more like a Wall Street portfolio than natural processes. The blondes themselves have reason to feel empowered, then. They are the juiciest apples on the Darwinian tree.

But let me conclude with an interesting point. Reading up on Prader-Willi Syndrome, I find that PWS sufferers often have unusually blonde hair and blue eyes. The Syndrome itself, based on a chromosomal disorder, is noted for its insatiable obsessions with food and unpredictable rages. You see what my assumption is here, that a forceful compulsion to get what one wants may not be blamed on nurture and the way we view and treat blondes. Instead, I wonder what behaviors are really rooted in: genes or jeans?

Perhaps on the 10th anniversary of the sequencing of the first human genome, we can hope the science will reveal something enlightening and longer lasting than a semi-permanent dye.


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