The year is 2006, and I am walking down the hall to my locker. The smell of pencil erasers and lukewarm lunch meat permeates the air. I head to homeroom, where I quietly take a seat in the back and open the glossy pages of my history textbook to read up on peanut farms and Jimmy Carter.
“Do you even have a soul?” a kid in my class snickers at me, his friends nudging him and trying to shield their giggles. A rather frail and timid middle schooler, I laugh off the odd question and look back at my book. My classmate continues, “You’re a ginger. There’s no way you have a soul!”
This was my introduction to the “otherness” that surrounds redheads, real and imagined. Throughout history, artists from
have mined the potent symbolism of red hair to alternately suggest promiscuity, sensuality, deviousness, and—above all—otherness for centuries.