“Oops, just had a blonde moment.”
I heard this from a smart, well-educated, and, oh yeah, blonde, market researcher in front of her research subjects and clients. She was apologizing for some minor screw-up in her line of questioning. As a brunette I had not only never used that line but never heard of it either. I asked a few other professional, blonde friends of mine whether they’ve used it themselves and they said they occasionally did.
While I thought the line was funny, I was also taken aback. Here we have successful women fueling the very stereo-types that put blondes in the ditsy box for so long!
But then I thought about it for another sec. Blonde women have never, ever been ditsy. That is just American’s projection of their own unfounded expectations of youthful, beautiful women. In fact, I applaud the blondes because they used the ridiculous stereotype to their advantage. If they can’t fight it then they milk it. And in the end, the joke is on the rest of us. The blonde line basically says, in effect, “don’t blame me for my mistakes…blame my blonde-ness. I’m not to at fault, really.”
Take Jessica Simpson. She’s no dummy. Sure she may not be the most educated out there but she saw an opportunity to capitalize her unthreatening, blonde charm to make a name for herself and even become a globe trotter to investigate women’s relationships to beauty. Or, just watch Legally Blonde for the 10th time. Elle didn’t even try to sound all uptight and professional like us brunettes. Not, she banked her “blonde-ness”, i.e., her seeming airheaded-ness to kick some ass in the court room!
When it came to the researcher, none of us ever assumed her blondeness made her any less qualified or intelligent. And her use of the line didn’t change that. In fact, it’s the reverse. Her words actually diffused a problem and allowed for the research to run smoothly. And that’s pretty smart, no?
If I ever choose to go blonde, I’m not sure I could imagine actually using the line myself (though given my skin tone, the likelihood of going blonde is about nil), but I actually see the underlying power in it. Though I still look forward to the day when we never, ever have to associate beauty with intelligence (or, in this case, a lack there of).