On #KissAGingerDay

[Content Note: Appearance mockery; bullying; hostility to consent.]

Twitter informs me that today is #KissAGingerDay. Oh.

Well, as you know, every day is a day for kissing a person with red hair at Shakes Manor, even if that hair is a little more white these days.

But because I'm the Most Humorless Feminist in all of Nofunnington who has to take the fun out of everything, I just want to make a couple of observations about #KissAGingerDay, some of which we've discussed previously in comments over the years.

1. Don't kiss anyone without their consent. Ever.

2. Language matters, and not everyone with red hair wants to be called "a ginger." (As opposed to "a person with ginger hair," which I grant would have made for an unwieldy hashtag, though that's not an argument for using problematic language.) Though one might argue "a ginger" functions the same way as "a blonde" or "a brunette," there is some cultural context to ginger, especially in certain parts of the world, that differentiate it. The actual equivalent would be "a redhead."

3. That aforementioned culture context includes anti-ginger prejudice, worse in some places than others, especially where "ginger," or its derivative "ginge," is used to refer primarily to people with natural red hair, very fair skin, and freckles. Lots of people who fit this description are bullied for their appearance, as children and sometimes as adults, and must navigate things like magazines running polls about whether readers would "fuck a ginge."

4. Thus, a number of people with ginger hair and/or features find it upsetting to be called "a ginger" or "a ginge" (again, separate from "a person with ginger hair"), as it may remind them of trauma associated with appearance-based mockery. It's not a neutral word for everyone.

If you're a person with ginger hair who thinks all of this is a bit silly and overwrought, because you don't care about being called a ginger, please remember that every person's lived experience is unique. Maybe it's not that other people with ginger hair are oversensitive and too delicate for the world; maybe it's just that you got lucky to escape what they suffered, or had access to better resources for healing from it.

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