T.S. Eliot might have said if he had a sunnier
disposition, August is the blondest month.
It`s late summer, so this will be a light piece on a
topic—light-colored hair – that tends to generate
more heat than light. Remember all the rage that Peter
Brimelow elicited by
mentioning, just once in
that his son had blond hair (even though he
was making an
undeniable point, about the negative impact on the
non-minority native-born of
immigrants being eligible for affirmative action
Hugh Davis Graham later expanded into his book
It`s difficult to study hair color scientifically
because it keeps changing. Whites are at their blondest
right now because of the lightening effects of sunshine
– and swimming pool chlorine.
Further, hair dyes are constantly improving, allowing
ever-darker women (and some misguided men) to follow the
advice of the famous 1960s Clairol commercial—"If I
have only one life to live, let me live it as a blonde!"
One study found that five out of every six blonde
American women had some chemical help.
Back in the 1930s, Hollywood blondeshell
Jean Harlow ended up
wearing a wig because she`d reduced her real hair to
a brillo pad by constant peroxiding, according to
Joanna Pitman`s informative new book
On Blondes. Today, though, dyes have become so
sophisticated that more than a few young non-whites have
gone blonde in the last few years.
There are huge differences in hair dye consumption
around the country. A decade ago, when I was in the
marketing research business, I did a study that showed
that among the twenty biggest cities, the least hair dye
is bought by Boston women, presumably due to city`s
Puritan, Irish Catholic, and academic tendencies. In
contrast, Dallas women, with their Southern belle and
corporate orientations, buy the most.
Hollywood, which knows a lot about this subject,
believes that gentlemen prefer blondes. For example, as
Diana Moon has pointed out, the marketing of the
Oscar-winning movie Chicago treated
Renee Zellweger, a blonde who`s a little funny
Catherine Zeta-Jones, a brunette with classic
features, as if they were equals in beauty. "The bar
is set higher for brunettes," Moon said.
attributes the popularity of blondeness to the evil
monopoly of the WASP elite (or whatever). But that
doesn`t make much sense because there`s little demand
for blond men. Hollywood, for example, believes that
ladies prefer their gentlemen
tall, dark, and handsome, a phrase coined by Mae
West about Cary Grant. There are dramatically more
blonde actresses than actors, because audiences
apparently associate darker hair with mature
masculinity. In the vast majority of love scenes in
movies, the man is darker in hair and skin color than
the woman. Actors typically described as blond, such as
Leonardo DiCaprio, generally wear their hair much
darker than do blonde actresses, such as Meryl Streep or
Kate Hudson. Even
Conan the Barbarian was played as a brunet by Arnold
This pattern appears to be true around the world. Latin
American television, for example, is full of blonde
women and darker Latin lover-type men.
do gentlemen prefer blondes – or at least take
more notice of them? My guess is that it`s largely
because blonde hair is inherently more noticeable. Women
like to wear gold and silver jewelry for the same
reason—it makes them, to put it crudely, shinier. (In
fact, as anthropologist
Peter Frost has pointed out, women of all races tend
to have shinier, lighter-colored skin than their menfolk—that`s
why they`re traditionally called "the
tend to be attracted to women who look like they want to
be attractive to men, because it saves everybody a lot
of time. For natural blonde women, this can be a
blessing and a curse. One natural blonde woman told me:
"My hair acts like a flag to men, which is great if
I`m in the mood for attention, but it`s not if I`m not."
Natural blondes are found among certain Australian
Aborigine bands and of course among Caucasians. The
Berbers of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and Algeria
possess a surprising degree of blondeness. (The most
famous Berber is soccer star Zinedine
Zidane—he`s not quite blond, but he could easily be
mistaken for a German.) Relatively fair-haired people
can be found as far east as
Afghanistan and the mountains of Pakistan.
Most blondes, however, come from Europe. There is a
general "cline" of increasing blondeness from south to
north, although the Lapps of the extreme north are quite
dark haired. The highest proportion of blondes is found
in the Eastern Baltic region, but nowhere is everybody
blonde. In the west of Europe, blondes tend to be golden
in color and in the east of Europe, you are more likely
to find ash blondes.
Caucasians differ so much amongst themselves in hair
color, while everybody else (with the exception of some
blond Australian Aborigines) has dark brown hair?
theory, but it`s only a theory.
red hair are favorable mutations for women because they
make men notice them more. Fair hair reflects more light
than dark hair, so it catches the eye more.
The Descent of Man,
Charles Darwin called this kind of mechanism
that makes a person more attractive to the opposite sex
selection." He argued that it was the main
engine of the human race`s striking racial diversity.
It was a
brilliant insight, one that took the rest of the
scientific world more than a century to start taking it
sexual selection can`t fight too strongly against
natural selection. You can`t be a ladies` man if you are
dead. And that may explain why blonde or red hair never
became universal anywhere. First, it would lose some of
its scarcity value if all women had it. But, also, while
it`s good for your daughters, under pre-modern
conditions it was bad for your sons. It tended to hurt
males at hunting and war.
is that you can see blondes from farther away—at a golf
tournament, I once recognized the ultra-blonde champion
Greg Norman from 500 yards off just from the sun
glinting off his near-platinum hair.
hurt Norman`s golf career that his hair catches the eye
from more than a quarter mile away. But for one of his
Norman ancestors on a hunt or a raid on a sunny day, it
could have ruined the element of surprise. Of course, in
the Nordic homelands of the Normans, there weren`t many
bright sunny days.
hair becomes more common the farther in Europe you go
north, where the sun is low in the sky – Europe is at a
much higher latitude than any other heavily populated
region – and the land heavily forested and shady. Within
Northern Europe, red hair becomes more prevalent the
farther west you go, where, due to the Gulf Stream, the
weather is extremely cloudy and misty. So, in Northwest
Europe, you can have lots of blondes and redheads
because lack of strong sunlight meant that shiny hair
worked well for women, without much penalizing their men
folk when hunting or raiding.
course, the dumb blonde jokes are aimed at blonde women
(frequently by non-blonde women). And the vast majority
of blondes are dyed.
Women who go through all the upkeep of being bottle
blondes are upping the ante in the sexual attractiveness
arms race. It`s natural for other women to make nasty
jokes about them. Similarly I often write
uncomplimentary things about men who use steroids and
artificial testosterone, such as
Arnold Schwarzenegger and
Andrew Sullivan, because I`m against this kind of
masculinity arms (or in this case, biceps) race.
don`t expect any ceasefires in the Blonde Wars –
regardless of immigration policy.
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and