Death of the Redheaded Stepchild

Death of the Redheaded Stepchild
Death of the Redheaded Stepchild

Have you ever heard the expression getting “overwhelmed like a redheaded stepchild?” There ought to be little doubt this expression has a transparent and powerful derogatory which means. The adverse stepchild reference relies on the concept the stepchild tends to be handled poorly when in comparison with organic kids. You’ll punish a stepchild extra severely than your different kids since you care extra to your personal little one. Bear in mind the story of Cinderella? However why purple heads? Why not blondes, brunettes or contemplating right now’s hairstyles pink or purple?

Origin Theories of the Redheaded Stepchild


Redheaded kids had been the consequence of the eleventh century Viking invasions of Britain and Eire. In the course of raping and pillaging, the Vikings left behind a number of red-headed kids. The youngsters’s purple hair made them standout from the majority. As a result of of their Viking heritage, the redheaded kids had been topic to harsh therapy by mother and father and discrimination by the relaxation of the inhabitants.


The phrase “redheaded stepchild” truly began as “redheaded nigger.” It referred to the incessantly redheaded mulatto (blended race) slave kids on plantations because of this of the slave homeowners having intercourse with the slaves.

Little Orphan Annie – A Redheaded Stepchild

The phrase originated with the musical Annie. The red-headed Annie could be overwhelmed by her stepmother with a hairbrush.


The phrase “red-haired stepchild” originated in the early 1800’s when Irish emigrants started arriving in America. The newly arrived Irish ranked someplace beneath free blacks on the social strata and lived in segregated communities. The unfairness in opposition to the Irish was so extreme indicators in entrance of eating places, bars or accommodations used to say, “No canines or Irish”. As younger males are generally susceptible to do, younger Irish males had been having premarital intercourse. This resulted in out-of-wedlock kids with purple Irish hair. When these younger girls did lastly marry, normally to a younger man not of Irish descent, the new husband was not significantly affected person or sympathetic to the redheaded stepchild and handled them harshly.

Some Information about Redheads

  • All through historical past, redheads have been mistrusted and maligned.
  • In historic Egypt, purple hair was seen as so unfortunate, red-haired women had been burned alive.
  • In medieval Europe, the notorious witch-hunting handbook, “Malleus Maleficarum,” instructed purple hair, inexperienced eyes, and freckles had been marks of a witch. This concept might need come from the normal perception redheads had been evil, wanton, and hot-tempered.
  • Redheads make up 4% of the European inhabitants.
  • Scotland has the highest share.
  • Eire has the second highest share.
  • In the United States, redheads make up 2-6% of the inhabitants.
  • Largest inhabitants of redheads in the world: 6 -18 million.
  • Redheads have influenced historical past out of proportion to their numbers. Well-known redheads embrace Roman emperor Nero, Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, the historic god of love Aphrodite, Queen Elizabeth I, Napoleon Bonaparte, Oliver Cromwell, Emily Dickinson, Antonio Vivaldi, Thomas Jefferson, Vincent Van Gogh, Mark Twain, James Joyce, Winston Churchill, Malcolm X, Galileo, and King David.
  • Pure redheads have the next ache threshold than others; they will face up to 25% extra electrical shock.
  • Crimson hair is a recessive trait. A baby should inherit one purple hair gene from every mum or dad. Recessive traits usually are available pairs; redheads are extra seemingly than different folks to be left-handed.
  • Crimson hair would not grey as a lot as different hair colours. Crimson hair initially tends to show blond after which white.

Last Ideas

Initially, I used to be going to disclose the appropriate concept behind origination of the expression, however what distinction wouldn’t it make? Wouldn’t it make utilizing the expression much less offensive and insulting? Expressions like these are primarily based on false generalizations that are rooted in worry. They need to haven’t any place in our language. Having purple hair is the consequence of genetics – no extra, no much less. To deal with a toddler harshly as a result of they don’t seem to be biologically yours or they’ve purple hair can be flawed. To proceed to make use of the expression in any context perpetuates the lie.