Nearing the end of Women’s History Month 2023, here is a list of influential redheads throughout history.
The Greek goddesses, Athena, and Aphrodite are amongst the most popular characters in Ancient Greek mythology. Both are portrayed as beautiful women, with long red hair. In Ancient Greece, red hair represented honour and courage. Athena is the goddess of wisdom and war strategy, who is usually depicted holding a spear. Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty, and pleasure. Aphrodite is generally sculpted as a youthful woman, dressed elegantly, and wearing jewellery.
I don’t know about you, but Queen Elizabeth I was by far my favourite queen to learn about at school, for one reason and one reason only…her red hair. Queen Elizabeth I is known as one of the most successful monarchs of England. Her reign lasted just under 50 years, 1558 – 1603. Queen Elizabeth I, AKA Queen of the ‘Golden Era’, rejected the idea of marriage and recognised the importance of arts and creativity. To many, she represented the independence of women.
Lucy Burns was an American Suffragist who fought for women to have the right to vote. Hallelujah! She was a peaceful protestor, who spent most of her life leading protests in the cause for women’s suffrage. Like us, Lucy was a redhead. She used her fiery side for activism, and although the suffragists did not condone violent processions, she still served time in jail for showing her support. Nearing her death, she said, “I think we have done all this for women, and we have sacrificed everything we possessed for them, and now let them fight for it now”.
You haven’t watched Pretty Woman? “Big mistake. Huge.”
In the 1990 female-led rom-com Pretty Woman, we are introduced to the protagonist Vivian Ward – a prostitute on Hollywood Boulevard. Although the actor, Julia Roberts, is not a natural redhead, Vivian is one of the most iconic movie characters with red hair. In the middle of the film, she takes off her wig and reveals her bundle of curly red locks. Vivian Ward represents the innocence and vulnerability of sex workers, along with the struggles and abuse that they face in society. She is portrayed as an independent woman, who abolishes the stereotypes attached to those in the sex-work industry.
Karen Elson is a runway supermodel, who has walked for brands like: Gucci, Dior, Dolce & Gabanna, Alexander McQueen, and Chanel. She also appeared on the cover of over 30 international magazines like, Vogue, Dazed & Confused, and Harper’s Bazaar. Since her retirement, she appeared on CNN as an advocate for children’s rights, and released a book that addresses mental health struggles. In ‘The Red Flame‘, which was released in 2020, Karen opens up about her eating disorder, and standing up to her harassers.
Stacey Dooley is an advocate for human rights, TV presenter, and journalist for the BBC. She emerged on our TV screens in a documentary about fast fashion, Blood, Sweat, and T-Shirts. Because of her interest in labour laws across the globe, she then went on to be commissioned as the presenter of the docu-series Stacey Dooley Investigates. Stacey Dooley is the author of books that tackle mental health issues and feminism. ‘On the Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back’ was released in 2018, and her most recent publication, ‘Are You Really OK?’ was released in 2022.
Dooley also takes pride in her ginger roots as the face of Clairol’s Nice’n Easy box dye, in the shade 8WR Golden Auburn.
Women’s History Month is a month dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements, no matter how big or small. The month highlights the contributions of women to events in history and society today. So, pop a bottle of bubbly, because you too are encouraged to reminisce and celebrate your own achievements with your pals!