“A proud ginger? I didn’t know there was such a thing.”
I know. I can’ t believe it either. But there you have it – on at least four television shows, radio stations, and other non-quality programming. In just the past four months, mind you. And who knows – there’s probably dozens more I missed.
It’s anti-redhead sentiment, and it seems to be gaining ground. Why? I have no idea, although this guy seems to think it goes back to the Benedictine monks, or anti-Irish sentiment, or something. I personally have not previously noticed such hate. And honestly? I’m offended. It’s just downright unfair that the minute I finally come to terms with my hair, the rest of the world seems to be turning in the opposite direction.
So what am I going to do? What I always do when I get upset – find television role models to emulate.
Okay, well, I don’t really do that, but in this case it seems appropriate. My criteria for this exercise are as follows:
1) I’m drawing from television only. I don’t consider this a movie-problem.
2) Since I ‘m looking at this as an extremely current issue – like, you know, the economy, or George Clooney’s new girlfriend – I’m limiting my search to shows that are currently on the air. So apologies, Dana Scully and my beloved Angela Chase, you’re out.
3) I only want leading ladies and men, or at least major, relatively normal characters – NO QUIRKY, AWKWARD SIDEKICKS. (Or scary vampires…or folks who are just plain mean.) Crazy minor redheaded characters are as big a problem as women over 30 being relegated to the role of the insane ex-girlfriend. So sadly, Emma Pillsbury, I’m giving you the boot. Mostly because Glee is one of the shows where I’ve heard the most ginger hate – so basically, it’s dead to me.
4) Finally, fakes are allowable. What? Don’t look at me like that. This is about representation, not real life.
Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway Davis in Mad Men
The. Ultimate. Redhead. She’s sexy, she’s smart, and I’m pretty sure Roger Sterling affectionately refers to her as “Red” at least once (can anybody verify this for me?). Granted, he really really REALLY wants to sleep with her…but, hey. It would work on me.
Alyson Hannigan as Lily Aldrin in How I Met Your Mother
Remember my mad love for Alyson Hannigan? I’m just now discovering that she’s also half-Jewish, so further proof that we were meant to be best friends. And I really do find Lily and Marshall to have one of the most recognizable, stable marriages on television. I’ll just ignore the fact that Marshall is just the kind of doormat-y husband that people think we redheads have. (We don’t – just for the record. Mine, for example, already has Redhead Day marked on his calendar. Isn’t that sweet?)
Kevin McKidd as Dr. Owen Hunt in Grey’s Anatomy
I really wanted to include at least one manly type on this list, but struggled, as the most prominent male TV redheads (Conan O’Brien, Louie C.K…though they’re from Brookline and Newton, Massachusetts, respectively, so, respect) seem bent on perpetuating the crazy-ginger stereotype. Dr. Hunt, though, defies all stereotypes. He’s a brilliant surgeon, he’s a tortured soul, and he gets Cristina. (I’m also going to point out that the gorgeous Kate Walsh as Dr. Addison Montgomery – formerly of Grey’s, now of Private Practice – would also get a nod here if I had watched even one episode of PP in the last four years, so Grey’s gets major props from me.)
Lois Griffin in Family Guy
Yes, I went there. Yes, there’s a case to be made. Think about it – what character is as levelheaded, smart, and desirable as Lois? She’s kind of like Joan Holloway, in that way. (Don’t worry about the nymphomania, kleptomania, and occasional recreational drug use. Just…try to see what Brian sees.)
Deborah Ann Woll as Jessica Hamby in True Blood
Okay, okay, I know I said no vampires like three paragraphs ago. But I’m going to make an exception for Jessica, because let’s face it, humans are few and far between on True Blood, and also because she brings a relatability factor to the show (or at least, as relatable as one can be when they’re bleeding out of their eyeballs). A respectable position for a redhead, I feel. (If you’re wondering why I didn’t include Arlene, please refer back to Criterion #3 above.)
Stana Katic as Kate Beckett, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, and Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers in Castle
So I’ll admit I’ve seen very few episodes of Castle, but after doing some research, it’s clear that I need to see more. Every single important woman in Rick Castle’s life is a redhead, including his partner, daughter, and mother. Not sure how old they’re all supposed to be in the series (Castle is probably supposed to be like 50, and I bet Beckett’s like 24), but in real life these three ladies span a 50-year age range. Way to go, Castle. Surround yourself. I promise, we’ll love you back.