Hot For Ginger

Chuck Ross has heard it all his life: You’re hot … for a ginger.

Of all the backhanded compliments I’ve received in my life, one continues to recur.  “You’re cute / hot / attractive … for a ginger.”  The dangling qualifier always gets me.  I don’t know how to respond to it—don’t know if I should be offended or if I should just say “thank you” and maybe try to get the woman uttering it to have sex with me.

I share this in common with my new hero, by default—Greg Rutherford, Olympic gold medalist and self-proclaimed Ginger Wizard (move over Rupert Grint).  Rutherford has been on the receiving end of these backhanded compliments as well.  A Twitter search indicates that lots of people believe that Rutherford is hot … for a ginger.  For a normal person he’d be something else.  It’s impossible for Rutherford or the other gingers who hope to ride his coattails to know whether they’d be considered attractive when stacked against non-gingers.  Is Greg Rutherford “hot” when Ryan Lochte enters the picture?

We also have Buzzfeed, a prominent website, playing into this.  “He’s a really handsome ginger,” they write, after comparing the gold medalist to actor Neil Patrick Harris.  We don’t have to deconstruct that sentence too much to understand what Buzzfeed is saying.  It’s hard to think of another group of people that share a common physical trait being talked about in such relative terms.  As Rosamund Urwin writes at The London Evening Standard, ‘gingerism’ is “one of the last socially accepted forms of discrimination”.  And at Slate, Josh Levin’s headline blares “Man Who Looks Like Tintin Wins Olympic Long Jump.”  Yeah, that seems like the most noteworthy thing about Rutherford.  He looks like a pre-war cartoon character that only a Slate writer would reference.

All in all, I am OK with Rutherford’s prominence and the watered-down attention he’ll be receiving for being a Golden redhead.  Ron Weasley and Prince Harry have done a lot for the gingers (doing a bunch of re-work on the scars left behind by Carrot Top, South Park, and Little Ronny Howard aka Opie); it can’t hurt to have an Olympic gold medalist carry the flame.



  1. Bjarke Ingebrigtsen says:

    In Norway there are a lot of red and blond haired guys. Come to Norway persecuted gingers; we are far more civilised than the inbred English : )

  2. I am a redheaded freckled and fair skinned gal. I don’t like ginger because really, it is red and I am not ashamed. I find that redheaded guys are not really interested in redheaded girls. I don’t want to generalize but just what I have seen.

    • Speaking as someone who is not a redhead but finds red headed women attractive have by chance noticed guys being more inclined to be attracted to you over your hair? I’m asking this because a lot of the guys I’ve crossed paths with in my day pretty much mutually agree that red heads are attractive (in fact more so that I hear the same of blondes, who are traditionally held up as the beautiful people).

  3. It is my belief that only another ginger should have the right to call a ginger a ginger.

    Cultural hair color appropriation is not cool…

    • Let me ask you, do you think that people – usually women – who dye their hair red are improperly appropriating hair color? I don’t ask this to disagree with your argument, I’m just curious how far this goes.

      As a redhead I can’t say that I’m offended by the term ‘ginger’, and the term is very popular now. I get called ‘ginger’ quite often, and people are laughing when they say it. But I don’t think they’re trying to be derogatory while they’re saying it.

      • Sorry about that, it was not a serious remark – I was being goofy at best….I even made myself laugh typing it !!

  4. I can’t be the only one out here who actually thinks that red hair and fair skin are especially attractive features, right? Because I think hot gingers are pretty hot for anyone hands down. And yes, their gingerness stands out, but not as a negative. Not. In. The. Slightest.

    • There is quite a big difference in how redheaded men are perceived and how redheaded women are perceived. Redheaded women are considered sex bombs. Redheaded men are considered awkward and strange. The “hot…for a ginger” qualification is used more to describe redheaded men than women. Not that I’m mad – that’s just how it goes.


  1. […] A piece I wrote for Good Men Project on the response to gold medal winner Greg Rutherford’s […]

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