Blondes are dumb, brunettes are boring and redheads are seductive and mean. These stigmas are widely used as the punchline of jokes and a group of Bowdoin redheads won't stand for it anymore.
"Gingers have always been the butt end of jokes," said co-founder Julia Bender '13. "One joke I've heard: what do gingers have to look forward to in life? Going grey."
The first meeting of The Bowdoin Ginger Society (BGS) was held this week at Moulton Dining Hall as an opportunity for redheads on campus to band together against the stereotypes they face daily.
At the meeting, the gingers discussed the dangers of the sun to fair-skinned redheads, inflammatory jokes, and the need to propagate their red haired lineage.
The brainchild of redheads Bender, Dylan Kane '12, and Chase Taylor '12, the group was born when the three 'gingers' found themselves on a Bowdoin Outing Club trip together.
"Three weeks ago we were hiking on a B.O.C. trip and a few of us started talking about how generally in life we had been called gingers and stuff, and we bonded over it," said Taylor. "It was essentially a joke, and then we started talking to people and they were actually excited about it."
The group was inspired by the national conflict that recently erupted after a South Park episode entitled "Kick A Ginger Day" was taken seriously by people across the country, leading to several people being sent to the hospital for various injuries.
"My roommate from last year always told me how he was terrified of gingers," said Taylor. "We realized that it seems in jest, and we see it that way as well but there is a certain stigma that we would like to get to together and talk about."
Because the group is dedicated to people with a certain physical characteristic, there are the obvious criticisms of exclusivity.
When it comes to Bowdoin students with blonde or brown hair, or even dyed red hair, the group aims at promoting peaceful relations amongst different hair colors.
Indeed, BGS's first dinner drew attention from many different heads of hair, with a few brunettes joining the group as "ginger-allies". The Wednesday meeting brought together 12 participants in all.
"I think it's more about identifying as being a ginger," said Bender. "I think at our first meeting we want it to be us, but we're not trying to be exclusive because this is a movement against exclusivity."
Another criticism is that the name of the group promotes the very stereotype that the founders seem to be rallying against.
"It's taking the name we're called and using it as a way to bring us together," said Taylor.
"We're discussing selling sun block," said Kane. "The proceeds will go to skin cancer awareness. Everyone needs to be aware of the dangers the sun poses to gingers."
The goal of the group, in addition to attracting attention, is to provide a forum for redheads to swap stories of past incidents caused by their red hair.
A more important reason for the Ginger Society, however, is to try to propagate the species. Presently, only 4 percent of the population is redheaded, and the students in the society are worried about the survival of their kind.
"Studies show that gingers are going to be extinct by 2060," explained Kane. "This group is also so we can interbreed and save the gingers."