amber%20facebook.jpgAmber McNaught writes...

Q: Why do redheads take the pill?
A: Wishful thinking.

Q: What do you call a good looking man with a redhead?
A: A hostage.

Q: What do you call a redhead with large breasts?
A: A mutant.

Stop me if you've heard any of these before, by the way. I discovered them all by chance, last week on Facebook, where I discovered a hitherto untapped source of redhead hatred. "Red hair sucks – I'd rather die!" is the name of the group that initially caught my eye, but a quick search revealed dozens of others, including "Redheads are gingers and they have no soul", "If you have red hair I'm sorry, but we just can’t be friends" and the short but sour "Redheads suck!" Nice.

Of course, I've always known that if assholes could fly, the Internet would be an airport, but it was still a little worrying to discover that prejudice is alive, well and thriving on one of the web's biggest social networking site. Facebook is going through a bit of a "media's darling" phase at the moment, but while most people are probably using it to stalk old school friends and play Tetris Tournament when they should be working (I know I am), others are apparently using it to try and incite hatred towards that much maligned social group - the gingers.

The problem is that there's no arguing with these people. Believe me, I tried. I sent a message to one of the more offensive posters on the "Red hair sucks" group. "Hmhmhmhmhm," came back the answer. We're clearly dealing with a powerful set of intellects here, which is kind of reassuring: they'll never prove that we "have no soul" if they can't even string a coherent sentence together. "Am kind of dumb," my idiot correspondent admitted in a follow-up message. Well, you said it...

The other problem with all of this, of course, is that if you are a "ginger", you're not allowed to be offended by it. To admit to feeling even a little bit hurt by such overt hatred is to admit to having no sense of humour, because most of this drivel - not to mention the teasing and negativity redheads get in real life - tries to masquerade as "humour". It's funny, you see? "Geez, lighten up!" they'll tell you if you so much as raise an eyebrow at the "hilarious" jokes. "Stop taking things personally! You have to be able to laugh at yourself, you know - especially if you're a ginger!" Boom boom! I'd imagine blondes probably feel much the same way about the "dumb blonde" jokes that float around: funny, sure - as long as they're not directed at you.

As "funny" and "lighthearted" as you may believe it is, though, there's a serious side to it all, too. How many little redheaded girls (and boys) are growing up believing that they're fundamentally unlovable and ugly, just because of all of these idiotic comments and oh-so-funny "jokes".

Is it really OK to make fun of a whole sector of society and call it "humour", I wonder? Or is it only OK when it's not about you?

Amber McNaught is a freelance writer and the editor of Shoewawa. Her favourite Facebook group is the one celebrating Doctor Karl Kennedy from Neighbours.