Hypothesis: Blondes are unfairly stereotyped as being dumb.
Question 1: Where did dumb blondes originate?
Question 2: Where are they portrayed?
Question 3: How does this stereotypical label affect natural blondes?
She’s attractive. She’s fun. She’s flirty. She’s…dumb? The concept of the dumb blonde is a common stereotype that is placed on fair-haired women, continues to pervade society through today. Its origin, however, like many popular-cultural stereotypes, is clouded. Airheaded blondes are not how real blondes act in now days, so why should they be depicted as such upon our screens? Personal judgement also has an effect on how blondes are to be perceived. The 1925 Anita Loos novel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: the Illuminating Diary of a Professional Lady (later used as source for a film by the same name made by Howard Hawks and starring Marilyn Monroe) featured the character Lorelei Lee, a beautiful but empty-headed singer. While some look to this as the source for the concept, in fact, the concept might be far older. Since the days of ancient Rome, women who took the time to lighten their hair have been looked at as “bimbos…without serious intentions,” according to an article in USA Today. One explanation dates back to medieval Europe when members of the upper class tended to be darker-haired than the peasantry. This was because the lower classes spent more time outside in the sun. Since peasants were often considered less intelligent than the upper class, an association between fair-haired persons and a lack of intelligence surfaced. Though origins of this negative stereotype date back hundreds of years, possibly millennia, the concept has gained momentum in recent years. Numerous actresses of the 20th century have played characters labelled as “dumb blondes.” These include Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow, Suzanne Somers, and Goldie Hawn. Of course these films have only further brought the stereotype into the limelight. The...
- Real Girl, Real World by Heather M. Gray and Samantha Phillips
Published in 1998
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