By: Kira King

I really dislike the word “ginger” when it is applied to redheads, and that’s okay. You may not agree with me. You may even like and embrace it which is great! But personally, I am not a fan — even if it’s officially in the dictionary

I am a late 80’s baby so I can only speak from my lifetime point of view, but I feel like redheads weren’t always labeled “gingers” by society. I started noticing the word ginger being used more and more after South Park’s infamous “gingers don’t have souls” episode during my teenage years. I can’t say I ever watched that oh-so-lovely episode, but it is safe to say that most of my peers did. Even close friends of mine started trying to call me “ginger.”

Trying being the keyword.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Confidence should be your number one comeback. It sounds simple, and it is. Let me show you an example. 

Gingers-have-no-souls, daywalkers, the term “ginger,” all followed me to college. My boyfriend’s male roommate had strawberry blonde hair and light skin, and our mutual group of friends would mercilessly tease him. They’d use South Park quotes from the “Ginger Kids” episode to the point where he couldn’t laugh it off anymore, and his face would get splotchy with anger and embarrassment. (Any redhead can relate to this flushed face natural phenomenon.) 

It would all start in good fun, but when the blood started rushing to his cheeks, it was time to speak up.

I’d look at that group of guys and say, “Excuse me? Did I just hear you call us “gingers”? Did you just say I don’t have a soul? Did you just say gingers weren’t attractive? Because I’m pretty sure I’m gorgeous.”

You should have seen the look on their faces! They would start profusely apologizing. “No, Kira. Your hair is gorgeous. It’s a beautiful color. We were just having a little fun with him. We didn’t mean it.” After a few incidents like this, it turned out they didn’t enjoy making fun of “gingers” anymore. There were much better things to joke about. It all came down to having the confidence to stand up for myself and my strawberry blonde friend. I didn’t overreact. I just handled it. 

Ladies, you are beautiful. Guys, you are handsome.

READ: A New Name for Redheads, Fuego not Ginger 

Our red hair is our trademark, our statement piece. Don’t allow someone’s label of you to define who you are. “Ginger” is just the term I chose not to be labeled. You may have others that bother you, like “red” or “carrot-top,” and that’s okay! I’m going to keep hating the word “ginger,” and those who love and respect me know to never use it.

READ: 3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Address Redheads As ‘Gingers’

Always, always remember to Rock it like a Redhead!

  • Anonymous

    The term ginger has been used in Europe for generations…… long before south park even became a twinkle in someone’s eye.

  • Rose McGroarty

    “Ginger” to me means a specific value of the red hue. I would never call a redhead of different color value a “ginger.” As a dark valued redhead, I would never call myself a ginger, either.

  • Michelle

    I don’t like being called ‘ginger’ because ì had been told, by several people, it is a specially explicit derogatory reference derived from the character Ginger on “Gilligan’s Island” TV show. I’m a redhead, and you can call me Red!

  • Michelle

    Auto correction: sexually explicit, not specially explicit…

  • Monique

    Just embrace the fact your special! I’m a late 80’s redheadbaby too. But I don’t hate the word ginger or even the saying that gingers have no soul. Some say for every freckle a redhead ate a soul. Or that I’m a witch. Well maybe I am, who knows :)! Maybe you should learn to love the fact people think your special. The fact that they talk about it says it all.

    I just embrace it and joke about it too! I love it that people notice my hair or many freckles. You need to think about it differently and don’t hold a grudge. Just be happy and embrace that inner witch. If people need to place you in that box just don’t put yourself in it by reacting with hate. Everybody is beautiful in his/her own way. Send love out and no one will ever call you ugly again. Just laugh and love every little thing about your body. The label you give yourselfs is what people will see and like to call you out on. Just don’t label yourself and they won’t label you.

    People admire my red hair or even don’t see it anymore.

    Don’t dislike it, embrace it! You are a redhead/ginger. They will always pick on you if they know they have something to pick on.

  • Joann

    I am a mid 70’s redhead. The term Ginger (from my time) derived from Gilligans Island. Ginger was a beautiful redheaded character in the show. I love the term and when asked my hair color.. it’s always.. I’m a ginger.. I like the term also, because bottled reds can’t utilize it as an in to the club that all of us know exists. No matter what.. they arent gingers. I found South Parks Ginger episode hilarious. It’s South Park.. come on. Don’t let those fiery locks go to your head. Historically, redheads were thought to be vampires or witches and were executed. Hence.. no soul and daywalker references. I find that.. people tend to bend one way or the other when it comes to Gingers and whether or not they are repulsed or fascinated by us. Can’t control others either way. Maybe, consider only becoming upset if someone is intentionally hurting you with the phrase, as many see it as an endearment.

  • Katie

    Hate it. ginger isn’t even in the ballpark of red. It’s blonde beige. I would be much happier with cinnamon.

  • Katie

    Hate it. Ginger isn’t even in the ballpark of red. It’s blonde beige. I would be much more accepting of cinnamon.