Myths About Blondes You Should Never Believe

From "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" to "Legally Blonde," Hollywood has long been ripe with the myth that those with blond hair aren't as smart or capable as those with brown or red locks, amongst the many other unfair labels pinned to them. Read: ditzy, overly sexual, and helpless. And many folks with blond hair meet the burden of these stereotypes unfairly placed upon them at a young age — namely that they've got their heads in the clouds and aren't particularly competent.

We all know stereotypes can be extremely harmful and the bias against women with blond hair is no exception — particularly when it comes to areas of employment where traits like intelligence, seriousness, and dependability are key. One study published in Labour Economics found that college-educated women with blond hair were found to receive lower wages as they entered the job market than those with brown hair. So, the implications of this discrimination are very real and shouldn't go unchecked. On the flip side, some have found ways to use the trope to their advantage, as blond hair is associated with youth and beauty — just as having red hair has its advantages. As Pamela Anderson famously said, "It's great to be a blonde. With low expectations, it's very easy to surprise people." 

Myth: If you have blond hair it means you're dumb

The typecast of the "dumb blonde" has long been ingrained in society, but this stereotype doesn't actually hold any weight in reality –- and has even been dispelled. One study published in the Economics Bulletin found that white American women with naturally blond hair had an IQ score right on par with their brown and red-haired counterparts — which shouldn't come as a shock. The trope of the "airhead blonde" has led many light-haired women to have their intelligence questioned and as the myth has been perpetuated for so long, some with naturally blond hair might even take measures to ensure their success isn't hindered by their hair color and go from blond to brown hair

"I was told for this raise [of funds], that it would be to my benefit to dye my hair brown because there was a stronger pattern recognition of brunette women CEOs," Eileen Carey, a successful CEO, told the BBC in 2017. So, while the bias against women with blond hair still infiltrates workspaces, we do know it's a myth that those with fair locks aren't as intelligent and capable as anyone else. 

Myth: Those with blond hair are promiscuous, flirty, and have more fun

Along with the unintelligent blond-haired trope comes the hyper-sexualized stereotype of the promiscuous blond woman — an equally unfair typecast placed upon those with lighter hair. And while women with blond hair may garner more attention whether they desire it or not, it's unfair to label those with lighter hair as inherently more sexual or flirty than anyone else. "I will say that it was worth it if only to go undercover into the male psyche. Because let me just break this down. Y'all are real simple. Like, even simpler than I thought," Allison Williams said on her experience of dying her brown hair blond and the male attention she received (via "The Late Late Show with James Corden"). If you are going to experiment yourself and make a leap to platinum blond, check out Gliz's guide on what you should know before doing so.

And while some individuals may find the experience of increased attention to be fun, it's a myth that blondes inherently have more fun. According to a study published in The Medical Journal of Australia, no evidence was found that those with blond hair experience more fun or have more mood changes than those with other hair colors.

Myth: Women with blond hair are superficial mean girls

The image of the high school queen bee with long, flowing blond locks — think Regina George in "Mean Girls" — has long been a trope in coming-of-age movies. But is this typecast fair? You can likely think of a few less-than-sweet characters from iconic movies and shows who don't have the blond look — yet are just as intimidating and cutthroat, like Blair Waldorf in "Gossip Girl" or Mona Vanderwaal in "Pretty Little Liars."

But there's hope that the meaning behind "blonde bombshell" is evolving and transforming to represent something beyond superficial and ditzy — something more substantial and fascinating. "A blonde bombshell to me is someone super dynamic, someone you're drawn to because they have cool style, they're interesting. When I bring someone blond, when they leave the salon, you realize the hair color ties together their style. It completes it. You don't even remember what color they may have started with. You notice them more," celebrity colorist Emaly B. told Allure.

Myth: Women with blond hair are damsels in distress

Along with the stigma women with blond hair face around their intelligence, they may also be susceptible to labels of incompetence and helplessness — simply because of their lighter locks. In a study conducted by NBC Charlotte (via WCNC), a woman with blond hair was asked to drop a scarf around town to see how many people would offer to help her — and then to do the same while wearing a brown wig. 

You likely have an inkling of how the sturdy played out, but the scarf was picked up nearly every time the woman dropped it while wearing her natural blond 'do. When in the brown wig, strangers passing by pointed at the scarf or verbally let her know she dropped it, occasionally picking it up for her or even doing nothing at all. Many women have shared their personal encounters with the vast difference in public treatment while donning brown versus blond hair, and holding doors open for the blond-haired damsel in distress or letting her cut in line are quite typical experiences for those with fair hair.

Myth: Men prefer women with blond hair

Most have at least heard of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and whether or not you've seen the film, the cliché has likely been locked somewhere in the depths of the psyche as the stereotypes have continued to run strong throughout history. But do men actually prefer women with blond hair? Apparently, it's not as cut and dry as it might seem. While a study published in Perceptual and Motor Skills showed that men find women with blond hair to be younger and healthier looking, and therefore to potentially be better mothers to future children, researchers at City University found that 51% of men were more attracted to women with brown hair (via The Age).

There's also obviously a lot to be considered in the choosing of a partner, and hair color likely sits near the bottom of the list for most. But when it comes to marriage, men do sometimes seem to have a preference — one that contradicts the myth that men prefer women with blond hair. One survey conducted by Superdrug found that 54% of the participating men would prefer to marry a woman with brown hair, while only 16% chose blond hair — and 30% had no preference (via HuffPost).