• Sirens and scapegoats : the gendered rhetoric of red hair

      Walker, Emily Cameron
      Redheads have been stereotyped throughout history, and the negative perceptions exist to this day. There is prejudice against red hair, which is evident in the portrayal of redheads in art, cinema, literature, and popular culture today. When a character's hair is red, it serves a rhetorical function. Red hair marks the subject as different; for a woman, it denotes she craves the spotlight, or is dangerous, supernatural, evil, sexual, or powerful in some way, and often a combination of these elements. For men, red hair denotes a threat, or is an indicator of weakness, of status as a victim, or of some form of rejection. This thesis is an exploration of the gendered meanings of red hair, specifically its connection with Said's (1978) concept of Othering, Burke's (1973) notion of scapegoating, and Spillman and Spillman's (1997) model of enemy construction. In this thesis, Burke's method of cluster criticism is used to analyze the case studies of Rebekah Brooks, scapegoat for the Murdoch phone hacking scandal; the barring of redhead men from donating at Cryos International sperm banks, and the negative portrayal of redheads in the South Park cartoon, "Ginger Kids." The thesis concludes that redheads continue to be Othered, scapegoated, identified as enemies, and ultimately discriminated against in contemporary society.