Red hair

· culture ·

Last week in the Guardian Weekend magazine, there was a wonderful series of photographs by Jennie Wicks, from an exhibition called "Root Ginger: A Study of Red Hair". In the text accompanying the article, some of the redheads featured in the photographs talked about the variety of taunts and insults they have endured because of the colour of their hair. Any negative discrimination on the basis of appearance is absolutely wrong, of course, but are people mad?

Take a look at this gorgeous photograph of Jennie Wicks' daughter, Lucie. Go and look at it now, I'll wait her until you come back -- you may be some time.

Back? Is that not the most stunning portrait you've ever seen? That glowing mass of copper curls, the delicate golden threads of her lashes against the china blue eyes. I could look at that colour combination for ever. On a grey winter day, just looking at that little girl would cheer me up. All the pictures are lovely, particularly the one of Ray Ball, with his red beard gracefully fading to white.

I've always loved red hair. When I was younger, I dearly wanted a mass of flaming, Pre-Raphaelite locks, but was stuck with a dark mouse brown. Turlough was my favourite Doctor Who companion before the current run of series, and I have always found red hair beautiful. Mr. Bsag also happens to have red hair (a light copper rather than a deep red) -- just one of the many things I love about him.

Some people seem to hate difference of any kind, but I think it's childish. When we're children or teenagers, we want to be the same as all our friends, but surely we should grow out of that conformist, sheep-like attitude at some point? So much of the obsession with dieting and plastic surgery seems to be a juvenile urge to look as if you're from the same jelly mould as everyone else. I think that people who look different (and have quirky characters, tastes and interests, but that's another story) are fascinating and beautiful. I find 'conventionally beautiful' people utterly uninteresting aesthetically (and oddly unattractive), but find people with scars, uneven or prominent features or striking colouration stunning.