Are All Blondes Actually Dumb?

The “dumb blonde” stereotype is one that has been the base for endless jokes and television/movie characters, but is also a stereotype that is taken quite seriously in every day life. I’m a natural brunette, but in middle school I thought it would be a good idea to dye my hair blonde. I was the butt of so many dumb blonde jokes, which I never took to heart because I’m not genetically blonde. Many of my close friends are blonde, and they’re all intelligent if not smarter than I am. I wanted this question answered: are blondes actually less intelligent than people with other hair colors.

img-thing

Somehow in today’s society, having blonde hair is associated with being incompetent. People make quick judgments just by looking at someone blonde and assuming they’re dumb. In one study, researchers “asked 120 people – 60 males and 60 females – to look at pictures of a female model wearing four different colored wigs, platinum blonde, natural blonde, brown, and red.” The subjects were asked to rate this model on traits such as shyness, intelligence, aggressiveness, temperament, popularity. The model was rated as more approachable as blonde, but less intelligent than brunette. This survey tested people’s association with blonde hair, but in no way did it prove that blondes are truly less intelligent.

In 2009, Erin Vistnes, a USC student, decided to conduct an experiment of her own to answer the question of blonde’s intelligence. A randomly assigned group of 50 adults were chosen to participate and were rated based on hair color from 1-5 (1 being dark hair and 5 being very blonde). They were then asked to answer 5 questions from the MENSA website, which is the largest and oldest IQ society in the world. In conclusion, “the average numbers correct for each hair color group were: 1: 2.6; 2: 2.4; 3: 2.5; 4: 2.7; 5: 3.0.” According to this experiment, the blonde’s were shown to be more intelligent than people with darker hair. Because this experiment was such a small sample, nothing can be 100% proven from this.

It was also thought that blondes could be genetically disposed to be less intelligent then people with other hair colors. Forbes covers a study created by a team at Stanford University that figured out which genetic variants leads to blonde hair. The study finds “that a switch of a single letter of the genetic code is responsible for lighter hair: An A (adenine) is changed to a G (guanine) on a region of human chromosome 12. The team says that because this specific genetic change only affects the hair follicle, other cell types — especially, say, brain cells — are not affected. This means that blond hair really is “only skin deep.”” This study successfully proves that there is no obvious difference in brains of blonde people, and nothing inhibits blonde’s mental capability whatsoever.

What I took from all of these studies is that there is no sufficient evidence to prove that people with blonde hair are any less intelligent that people with other hair colors. Although there is no proof that blondes are unintelligent, I’m sure this stereotype will remain relevant in society for years to come.

7 thoughts on “Are All Blondes Actually Dumb?

  1. Hailey Tully

    I wrote about the same topic in the first blog period and found my findings to be very interesting! For example, some things I found that I think would be very beneficial for you to add in your blog would be, how they did animal testing to test their hypothesis and why we thought blondes were less intelligent to begin with .

    • “Lead researcher Professor David Kingsley and his team decided that since mice have very similar gene compositions as humans do that they were going to use them to conduct their research. During their experiments they found that a mouse’s hair color came out blonde or brunette based on whether a specific gene was switched “on” or “off”. “This is a good example of how fine-tuned regulatory differences may be to produce different traits. The genetic mechanism that controls blond hair doesn’t alter the biology of any other part of the body. It’s a good example of a trait that’s skin deep —and only skin deep,” said Kingsley in a press release.” (http://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/09/18/are-blondes-actually-dumb/)

    • “In a study conducted in 2004, “blonde women were shown to become dumber when subjected to negative prejudices toward blondes.” Jens Foerster, a social psychologist from the International University Bremen in Germany said, “after exposure to negative social-stereotypes about them, the fair-haired participants performed significantly more slowly in the tests.” This goes for any stereotype, when people are constantly told they are something, they start to subconsciously become it. For example, when blondes are told they can’t perform a task well, they’ll work slower to try to make fewer mistakes. (http://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/09/18/are-blondes-actually-dumb/)

  2. Kassidy Schupp

    This topic was a very interesting choice! You took a step away from the typical topic choices and focused more on society and stereotyping. I am a blonde and always get the dumb-blonde jokes. I never take them personally, though, because I never believed that it was actually factual. I wonder where/why this everlasting stereotype came about…

  3. Anastasia Skold

    As a blonde, I always get the same stereotype. I think it’s a very interesting topic. One way to further study this is to see if blondes have more fun, if they have the brunette best friend or any other stereotype that go along with being blonde.

  4. Katherine Alexandra Bartkowski

    I applaud you for tackling this topic. Being a blondie myself, I get blonde jokes all day every day. They get old after a while. I really liked your last point that blonde hair is “only skin deep” and has no affect on brain cells what-so-ever. And to Abigail, your other factors that you suggested about why blondes might be less intelligent are plausible, but couldn’t you say any of that about anybody?

  5. Megan Ann French

    I thought this topic was very interesting and I’m actually pretty surprised that you found so many studies on it. I’m also not blonde but I do have some blonde friends and they’re no dummies. I really liked how you incorporated the genetic part into this post and I thought that was pretty cool. I agree that these studies provide no evidence to prove that people with blonde hair are less intelligent than other people with other colored hair but I think it proves that the stereotype of blondes being dumb is false. The first study the you mentioned, I don’t think is a reliable study because that’s just based off of people’s observations, it didn’t actually test the intelligence of blondes. A question that popped into my head while reading over the studies you discussed was that, if gender could play a role in the outcome of these studies? Or could it be a third variable?

  6. czc5448

    This is a very interesting topic and caught my attention right away. This is a stereotype that has dated back for a long time now and many people believed it to be true. I found it very interesting when you talked about the team at Stanford doing a study on this. When they mentioned that the cause of the blonde hair was a single switch of letters in the genetic code, I found that very interesting in that something that basic would cause people to have blonde hair. Your article made it very clear that having blonde hair is not directly correlated to people being dumb. I completely agree and I think there are other factors that could be the cause of this like whether the people with blonde hair have the same will to learn than other people or where they may be from.

  7. Abigail Marie Young

    Hello,
    I thought this was a very interesting topic to choose, but there are other factors that could contribute to what makes a blonde intelligent or not. Other factors could be genetics, as in where they are from i.e. Poland, Switzerland, Austria etc… Or factors could be how the blondes studied were raised, were they raised in a household that cherished academics? Or perhaps one that valued something like sports more? An interesting perspective would also be if boy blondes are considered less dumb than girl blondes, maybe you could continue on that aspect.
    You might want to check out this link
    https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=5_XKgk4nQ8kC&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=what+makes+someone+smart&ots=ErhCAoqzOX&sig=xKfBbc_PJfgoTk4bYS1EgOjNJR8#v=onepage&q=what%20makes%20someone%20smart&f=false

Leave a Reply