The Problem With Being A Redhead… And A Woman

If you’re a woman reading this, then you know what sexism is, because you’ve experienced it on more occasions than you can count. That’s unfortunately part of being a woman: someone will underestimate you, or think it’s OK to call you a name, or decide you’re incapable of doing something, and all because you’re a lady. It’s our job to prove those idiots wrong, obviously.

The story I’m about to tell you is no different from any other sexist story, except for the fact that I have red hair. Here’s what happened:

I was home the other weekend, and waiting for the cable guy to come and setup our internet and TV.  The apartment was a total disaster, seeing as we’d just moved in that day; boxes stacked in pyramids, a half empty pizza box on the table, paperwork strewn across the floor while I tried to find the lease we’d just signed for our new place.

As soon as the cable guy walked in, I could feel him sizing me up. I was home alone, while E was off running errands, and I didn’t feel comfortable.

“Your last name is La Rosa?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Oh man, I thought you’d be some hot Brazilian girl with a name like that,” he laughed. This wasn’t anything new. People tend to assume I’m Latina by my last name, even though it’s Italian. But the way he said it was new.

“Sorry to disappoint?” I said.

He was a young guy. Maybe mid-20s. He shrugged his shoulders and got to work while I retreated behind the table to pretend to do something.

“You remind me of someone,” he said.

“I just have one of those faces,” I replied. I didn’t want to know who he thought I looked like. I already knew I wasn’t a hot Latina. Now what?

“Oh, yeah, you remind me of that chick from Wedding Crashers, the one who’s crazy in bed,” he laughed again. I was beginning to get tired of that chuckle.

Isla Fisher in Wedding Crashers

I nodded, because people have told me that I look like Isla Fisher before. Not because we actually look alike, but because she’s a redhead and so am I, and people tend to lump us together. (I’ve been told I look like Julianne Moore, Jessica Chastain, and LiLo as well… all different people.)

“Is it true what they say about redheads?” he asked.

I didn’t know what he meant exactly, but I’m not completely naive. And I do know the things they say about redheads, none of them good. He wanted me to laugh, or take the bait. But when you’re home alone and some dude just told you that you remind him of a chick in a movie who is “crazy in bed,” it’s hard to have a strong sense of humor.

“What do they say about redheads?” I asked. I was angry, actually, and I wanted to make him say whatever the hell he was thinking so I could call Time Warner’s HR department. He didn’t fall for it though.

“Oh, man, it’s so crazy that I can’t even say it.” He chuckled again. “I can’t even say it.”

I brought up E, and how he’d be coming home soon. And much to my shock, the cable guy mentioned his pregnant wife, and how excited he was to have a son. I don’t know if he did that so that I’d be less likely to say something, but it worked. I didn’t report him, or his INSANE comments while he was hooking up my cable and Internet.

But the problem with being a woman AND a redhead, is that sometimes you get comments like these. The ones that reduce you to a stereotype, or try to overly fetishize you.

I’m just wondering if anyone else has experienced comments like these based on something about themselves. I imagine blondes get this a lot too, but I can’t be sure.

Has anyone experienced sexism tainted with a hint of something else? Please share!

Welcome To My Blog!

Hello! My name is Erin, and this is my blog, Side of Ginger. Right now I’m a writer in Los Angeles, I live with my boyfriend in West Hollywood, and I have the most amazing day job working as a reporter for BuzzFeed.

My passions include all things about redheads, cooking, and bad Lifetime movies. (I really, really love them. I cannot lie!)

Even though I’m living in a big city now, my heart is still in Clearwater, Florida, where I grew up. My family, including my parents and my younger brother, still live there. So I get to go home a few times a year to see them. Which is great, because it gives me a chance to catch up on cooking with my mom, and talking about fishing with my dad. Did I mention my younger brother is a redhead too?

I’ll write about the things I love, and hopefully you’ll love them too.