After you read the post, be sure to read the opinions of my other visitors in the comments section at the end.
“The baby has blond hair and blue eyes!” announced Julia.
The year was 1985 and I can’t remember whose baby was just born. I do remember hearing it along with my friend Stacey. The three of us were in our early to mid twenties. Julia, blond and blue eyed, was recently married. Stacey and I were nowhere close to matrimony, and were not as excited about babies.
When we heard this, I could sense that Stacey felt as I did. We wondered about the significance of the blond hair and blue eyes. Stacey has rich, Hershey colored skin, and mine is close to the color of pecans. The likelihood of either of us having a blond and blue eyed child was slim to none. We couldn’t relate.
I thought, but did not say, “Oh, the light hair and eyes, I guess that’s considered a good thing.”
Because we were young and caught off guard, Stacey and I did not respond to the baby’s looks with an obligatory, “How nice!” Oops.
* * * * *
My early youth was mostly segregated. I saw “white people” on TV, and at stores, but not “next door.” Their skin color was very light, and they either had brown, red, or blond hair. That’s the way I summed it up.
I never gave blond hair much thought, until one day as I was riding the bus going downtown and looked out the window to see the cutest little blond girl. Her hair seemed unique, like a mixture of silver and yellow – metallic – and it glistened under the sun. I was only twelve then, and was fascinated as I stared.
* * * * *
For years, this subject has crept into my mind; in particular, because of the books I read and the various forms of media that mention the word blond - constantly. My current book club novel is loaded with phrases like, “She swept her blond hair out of her eyes,” and “His butterscotch colored hair, sticking straight up,” and "Her beautiful blue eyes gleamed with tears.”
Where did this standard of beauty come from? (If I were better at history, perhaps I’d know for sure.) Is the blond, blue eyed person the most beautiful? Are we taught outright to believe this? It is definitely a subliminal message.
I’ve met so many brown haired Caucasian women who say things like, “I didn’t get the blond hair that my sister got.” On occasion, I see the two sisters together. They have different coloring, but typically, I don’t see one as being more attractive than the other.
Once, a friend (who is Indian) tried to describe another person to me. “Does she have very large blue eyes?” I asked. She responded, “I don’t know what color her eyes are. I don’t notice things like that.”
I was surprised, because the woman’s eyes are huge; but I was also impressed in an odd sort of way. "She hasn’t bought into the 'checklist for physical beauty,'" I thought.
I’ve seen a lot of striking blonds and cute little “towheads” - a term I didn't learn until I was forty years old. I’ve also seen a lot of striking brunettes, red heads, brown eyes, chocolate skin, olive skin, braids, afros, Asian eyes, etc.
I know that all races of people have certain standards of beauty, and if you fit into the category…well, I guess that’s a good thing…maybe? So many people admire your looks; others are envious or jealous. What do you think?
Do you notice the numerous references to blond hair and blue eyes in books and on TV?
“Do” blonds have more fun?
10/26/10 - Should "blond" be spelled with an e? Blonde? After a little research, it appears that blond is for males, and blonde is for females. Someone has suggested that the e be dropped, stating that two spellings is sexist. Hmmm...