Baldness among men has traditionally been synonymous with masculinity and wisdom, but for women it seems colour, rather than hair loss or style, has more connotations. Blondes have notoriously been stereotyped as bimbos, but researchers now suggests that blonde women live in a “bubble” and have a “warlike” attitude.
Women with blonde hair are more aggressive and determined to get their own way than their brunette and redhead counterparts, according to a study carried out by the University of California, because they attract more attention and are generally seen more attractive by men.
Aaron Sell, who led the research that involved 156 undergraduates in America and is now published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, said they expected blondes to feel more entitled than other young women.
“Many blondes exist in a kind of bubble where they have been treated better than other people for so long, they may not even realise they are treated like a princess,” he said. “What we did not expect to find was how much more warlike they are than their peers on campus.”
According to statistics, more than 85% of the world’s population has dark hair and brown eyes, but in the same way that men can choose to shave their head bald or opt for hair loss treatment, women too can choose their hair colour. Interestingly, researchers found that women who dyed their hair blonde also took on natural blondes’ attitude. However some women, such as actress Emilia Fox, are not convinced by the research.
“As I’ve been every colour of hair under the sun and I’m not sure that my temperament has changed with my hair colour, I can’t verify this as true,” said the actress Emilia Fox, the star of Silent Witness. “My ambition comes from enjoying working hard, rather than being blonde.”
And while Pamela Anderson might be quite happy to portray the perfect image of traditional stereotype (she once famously revealed: “It’s great being blonde – with such low expectations it’s easy to impress”), others have more blonde ambition and are determined to prove the traditional stereotype wrong.
Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding once told the media, “I’m not some blonde bimbo. I want to be a successful businesswoman.”
As for darker-haired women, the recent study also suggests that they often respond to their stereotypes by working harder and expecting less special treatment.
“Blondes are more confident in their abilities, although the results do not necessarily support their confidence,” said Catherine Salmon, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Redlands, California. “Maybe responding to their own stereotypes, brunettes tend to work harder and expect less special treatment.”
One Angelina Jolie and one Megan Fox may be privy to some exception, but as consultant psychologist Ingrid Collins of The London Medical Centre says, the results are interesting but should be interpreted with caution.
“This is a small study on a very limited sample group so it is not possible to generalise.”