Bullying is something that is seen in many forms and for a variety of reasons. No matter what the reason, it is never a good thing and something that organizations and governments are trying to get rid of. The work that is being done to stop bullying only goes so far though as there are new cases of bullying every day. One of the most prevalent issues out there is red hair bullying. Here are some facts you need to know about this.
Red Haired Bullying Basics
There were times in history when red hair was thought to be beautiful. Today, it is seen as a way to bully people and make them feel like less of a person. There are people who say that people with red hair have no soul or that the freckles they have are because they eat souls. People often label them as gingers, which has more of a derogatory insinuation than blonde or brunette. What many people do not realize is that anyone can have red hair. Even though the vast majority of people who have red hair are light skinned caucasians any ethnic group can have people with red hair, even if neither parent is a red head.
Shows such as South Park have triggered a significant increase in bullying against people with red hair. In one of their episodes they created a holiday called Kick a Ginger Day. This was essentially a holiday where physical abuse against red heads was tolerated because they have no soul. Even though most adults can look at this and understand that this is simply comedy meant to poke fun at the ridiculous thought process behind bullying, it has actually started to turn this into a real issue as many younger viewers did not understand this.
Studies have shown that 90% of all males with red hair have been victims of bullying at some point in their life. Almost half of all women with red hair will face bullying or discrimination at some point in their life due to their red hair. In many cases these women are met with sexual innuendo or statements about their red hair.
The Effects of Red Headed Bullying
The effects of bullying can be seen in many ways. It can cause people to become withdrawn. In other cases it can make people want to change themselves as a way to fit in, which is never the right solution. It can even lead to catastrophic events. There are several times when people have taken the bullying due to their red hair so far that they have ended their own life.
One such example of this is with Helena Farrell. She was a 15 year old girl who died in January of 2015. While there was no conclusive evidence as to how she died, it was ultimately ruled a suicide. Her family blame the bullying she had endured all her life for suicide. In fact, they are working on having this labeled as a hate crime because it led to such a horrific ending for this young girl.
A similar case is Simon Walters a 14 year old boy who hung himself with a belt back in October of 2012. His family said that he was a joker and popular in his group which is one of the reasons the parents were so surprised about what happened to him. When they talked with the children at school they found out that he had been enduring a lot of bullying for his red hair which is what ultimately lead to him taking his own life.
Jordan was much like any other 15 year old from Illinois. His parents were divorced, though this is not what bothered him. Rather it was the abuse he suffered from his red hair. He was verbally assaulted and in some cases even physically. The team mates on his football team had thrown a football at his head and was pushed into lockers. In October of 2013 he called 911 and then shot himself in the chest.
Sierra is another example of a girl who has had to deal with torment all her life over her red hair. Even though she is just a teen, she has been punched multiple times, shoved into lockers and even stabbed with a pencil. While this would have torn many people down, she turned to music as a way to work through her emotions and what she has gone through. She writes songs about her experience and feelings and puts them online.
Carrie is a woman who was bullied for having red hair. She talks at length with people on the topic, specifically in bullying forums. This went beyond normal teasing to derogatory and mean comments. People would physically harass her and her instinct was to retaliate. She got into fights and ended up dropping out of school in the 10th grade. Soon after she tried to kill herself for the first time. She tried a few more times. What changed her life around was becoming a mother. Now she talks with others about bullying and abuse on social media, not just against those with red hair but of any kind
On top of this there are countless tales of people with red hair being verbally and physically bullied for their red hair. This can range from questions of whether they have souls to
How to Rise Above Being a Victim
For red haired victims there are a few things you can do to help you get above the situation. The first thing you should always do is tell someone what is going on. Talk with a parent or the school. Find someone who can address the situation. The next thing to do is realize that it is not your fault. While bullying of any kind is unwarranted and unacceptable, bullying a person for something they have no control over is nonsensical. Bullying is not tolerated in schools today or in most workplaces. Rather than just dealing with this day in and day out, make sure that you address it so that it can be handled.
It can also be helpful to find a support group. A support group for bullying can be very helpful. You can talk with other people and work through the emotions you are dealing with. Some people try to find groups that have others with red hair simply because they will understand what you are going through. Keep in mind that the modern era means you do not have to go to a physical meeting to find support from others. You can do this through chat on Facebook or other social media sites, you can visit forums or simply video chat as a group.
The idea is to talk with others and really get a chance to see that you are not alone. Chances are you may feel embarrassed or even ashamed about what has happened at first, though there is nothing for you to feel this way about. Talking to someone about it can be a great way to help you understand that this simply is not your fault.
At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself that you are perfect the way you are. Red hair is just as beautiful as any other color, just as the color of your skin is as beautiful as any other. Also, keep in mind that while your red hair is a part of you, it does not define you. There is more to who you are. Figure out who you are and what you love about yourself and remind yourself of this whenever you are feeling down.