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.
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.