Are people with red hair – gingers, redheads, individuals of unusual rufosity, whatever you want to call them – less attractive than people with other hair colours? Alongside the impression that they have fiery tempers, unquenchable libidos and cold, clammy hands (OK, I made that last one up), one of the most common bits of folk wisdom about redheads is that they are just not that cute.
In 2012, the journal published a study that created quite a stir on this topic, and was widely reported as “bad news for redheads”.
At this time, there isn’t any evidence to suggest that gingers are less likely to have those traits that are considered “generically attractive” by the majority of the population, such as high cheekbones, symmetrical faces and well-proportioned bodies.
However, they are much more prone to having freckled skin.
Part of the reason for this is that in the south, the “redhead genes” are mixed in with more dominant genes for darker skin, so the genes that produce ginger hair do not have an opportunity to express themselves and be visible. The right side shows the frequency of the gene group associated with red hair.
Although the gene can be found in southern Europe, the frequency of redheads drops dramatically below the 45th parallel.
It means that the only thing that “turns people off” is something that’s fairly easy to change.
Unfortunately, this also helps to perpetuate the stereotype that redheads are intrinsically less attractive.
Some people find freckles very attractive, and that is fantastic.
Not all freckles automatically lead to cancer, either.