I was doing my morning scroll through Facebook when I saw something amongst the latest Kardashian news and friend’s selfies that intrigued yet disgusted me.
It began with Fox News.
I should have stopped there, but I wanted to be fair and hear what the opposing side to my liberal mindset had to say. It continued with the words “blondes really do have more fun..”
Could I do this?
The video opened up with a flash of blue eyes and porcelain skin. It switched to a blonde with pin straight hair laughing uncomfortably, like she was forced to react to a poorly recited Dad joke.
Next came some diversity: short hair. Still a blonde with blue eyes and milky skin, but she was trying to get a comb through her messy hair. Words appeared saying, “blondes can get a bad rap, dumb blonde or blonde moment.”
The fake laughing blonde was back, in an impossibly white sun hat giggling at the beach. The words said, “Blondes really do get the last laugh, according to researchers at Penn State University.” Here were the facts:
1. 36% of men prefer blondes, while only 31 % say they prefer women with darker locks.
2. Blondes look younger. This is due to the loss of pigmentation, which allows for deeper penetration of ultraviolet light that is needed to synthesize vitamins.
3. Blondes are more feminine. Blondes have higher estrogen levels than brunettes, which creates more feminine facial features such as a smaller nose, pointed chin, smooth skin, and way less body hair (they wrote this in bold).
4. Blonde waitresses earned significantly higher tips than waitresses with other hair colors, according to a 2009 survey by Cornell University.
5. Blondes are more likely to ask for pay raises, according to Survey listed in #4.
It closed by showing two women on a train, one blonde and one auburn hair, taking a selfie with the words “So there you have it. Blonds really do have more funds!”
It’s time to bring Fox News down to reality with my grievances.
Grievance #1: You can’t categorize phenotypes in accordance to intelligence. There is no correlation with stupidity and hair color, lip size, eye color, etc. That is a weak thesis, because correlation does not imply causation. And think about all of the other factors involved: economic status, access to education, etc. Which brings me to a similar study authored by research scientist Jay Zagorsky, published in the journal Economics Bulletin in March of 2016. Zagorsky was inspired to do the study because of the prejudices “based on ill-conceived notions that often don’t match the facts,” specifically with the stereotype that most blondes are dumb. He wanted this study to be a basis for all prejudices because he felt that, “if this long-standing belief is wrong, how many other commonly held prejudices are also erroneous? How many seemingly harmless prejudices are actually damaging?” The study only used Caucasians and tested blondes’ IQs. He looked beyond genetics as to why the blondes in the study had higher IQs, trying to paint the bigger picture of the fallacies behind prejudices.
“If blondes have any slight advantage, it may simply be that they were more likely to grow up in homes with more intellectual stimulation,” Zagorsky said.
So, when we look beyond the numbers and factor in access to education, cultural environment, and the dreaded P word everyone is so afraid of hearing, privilege, Zagrosky’s study disproves the prejudices by also introducing the idea of privilege within the community of blondes.
Grievance #2: The video pitted women against each other
It tried to reinforce society's conceptualized definition of femininity and female beauty. Once again, society's obsessions with the physicality of female: natural body hair is portrayed as unattractive, having a natural nose that is not the size of a button is not feminine, and having natural skin that may have a zit or two from hormones is not attractive. Maybe being “feminine” is hard for the women who don’t have as much privilege as the financially set and well-educated blondes this study refers to? Maybe these blondes can ask for a pay raise, because they have the privilege to? Maybe they earn more tips because we, the media, bombard viewers with images of women with blonde hair and call it beauty?
The video even made me get defensive and almost have the mentality of that’s BS, not just because it’s from Fox News, but also because I am brunette. I almost subconsciously fell into the pit of woman versus woman, based upon an idea of beauty projected by the male voice at Fox News.
The top comments on the video were from blonde and brunette women arguing which is more attractive and which ages better. One male even commented, “blondes have more estrogen… aka they are psycho. Have fun with that fellas. #teambrunette.”
But there were some comments that made me have a microscopic ounce of hope.
“This is an awful video. People wonder why young girls are so insecure.. It also nonchalantly admitted that white privilege DOES indeed exist,” a woman wrote.
So what did Fox News accomplish in this one minute and seventeen-second video about a “study of scientific evidence,” that I couldn’t find anywhere, even after four phone calls to Fox Atlanta?
They showed us America’s obsession with the connection between whiteness, beauty, and success. The video didn’t even end with showing how blondes have more “fun.” It showed how blondes have “more funds,” aka more privilege.
At least we have a better understanding as to why almost every Fox News female anchor seems to be blonde because of an apparent study that may or may not exist and has an inconclusive root (pun intended).
Cover Image via ShutterStock