South Park Communicates Stereotype Of Redheads vs. Gingers

December 10th, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized

Today, former student Caitlin Mintz enlightens TCS readers about ginger stereotypes. For an interesting news clip about an incident involving ginger identity stereotypes check this out.

People with naturally red hair have always been unique. The cause of having red hair is, after all, the result of a gene mutation, so only a small percentage of people have these ginger-colored locks. However, within this hair-color minority is a subculture that has recently begun being communicated by society. Ever since a recent episode of South Park was aired on Comedy Central it has been communicated in the media and, subsequently, in the general public that there are two types of redheads: to be one type means being glamorous and unique and to be the other means being a marginalized outgroup member.

Although redheads are not as common as blondes or brunettes, they were never exceptionally marginalized in the past, especially when compared to race, religion, or gender marginalization. However, when the South Park episode “Ginger Kids” aired on November 9th 2005, people began to look at redheads differently. In the episode, one of the characters takes the idea of the redheaded gene mutation and gives a presentation to his class explaining how “ginger kids” are inherently evil. Cartman describes “gingers” as people with red hair, pale skin, and freckles. He also explains that there are redheaded people, “daywalkers”, who do not have pale skin and freckles, therefore, making them biologically less evil. The Internet was instantly flooded with blog posts and pictures mocking redheads. However, people began to note that, like the difference between daywalkers and gingers as explained in the South Park episode, in real life there was also a difference between “normal” redheads and “gingers”. The term ginger became extremely negative, yet if you were a redhead you were considered beautiful and rare.

Since this comparison is so new, it is hard to find specific research on it. However, one can be sure that, when asking a person who has red hair if they would rather be referred to as a “redhead” or a “ginger”, they would reply “redhead”. When communicating the difference between redheads and gingers, there is an immediate divide. People who now have a negative connotation associated with “gingers” can thank South Park.

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