We all know that some demographics try to press that everything is about race, and some demographics try to press that nothing is; I am, like my namesake, a trimmer, and I take no sides in this debate. But I want to bring up one area where everyone seems to think it is about race, and I think there is something else going on, and no one ever talks about it.
Behold a picture that appears in various forms on the internet: a Brady-grid of Fox news anchors, 51 blond women and three blond men. I have no idea how many anchors Fox news has, or what percentage are blond, or if these are really people on Fox or just imposters, but the picture’s point is clear: they have a lot of blonds. And when anyone in my demographic shares the image it’s always with a wink and a smirk: Fox sure is white, isn’t it?
Our culture, like Hitchcock, sure has a thing for blonds. There’s no denying this. Gentlemen prefer them. They have more fun. And we all know exactly why this is. Blonds are exemplars of WASPy Aryanism. It’s about race.
Except I’ve misspoken: Hitchcock did not have a thing for blonds. He had a thing for blondes. Instead of asking why there are 54 blond Fox anchors, you should ask why there are 3 blond Fox anchors and 51 blonde Fox anchors. I’m not usually very conscientious about gendering my hair colors, but 51:3 looks like a ratio that ought to mean something.
So our culture, like Hitchcock, has a thing for blondes—and I guess I should say that I don’t think there’s no race element here. There are many reasons behind any such obsession. It is, as Dr. Lowenstein-Zweig would say, a rich tapestry; and race will play a part in it. But we need to explain that 51:3, and I have the explanation here.
It is not uncommon, for children of central or northern European extraction, to start life blond and then develop darker hair while maturing. Among those who deal in cliches, tots are always towheaded.
This is as much to say that blondness may in general be a sign for whiteness, but among whites it is a sign for youth. And you know what else our culture is obsessed with? Yes, youth. You got it right the answer is youth.
Goldilocks was originally, in the earliest recorded manuscripts, named Silverlocks, and she was an old lady; when she was switched to a child her hair became gold.
There may be biological reasons, fertility windows and such, for why this is the case, but regardless, as Amy Schumer will remind us, our culture prioritizes youth for women more than men. And, indeed, it prioritizes blondness for women more than men. This is not a coincidence.
I don’t think people who bleach their hair are specifically trying to look younger, but it’s not like they’re usually trying to look whiter either. Blondness, thanks to a biological quirk, we associate with the young, and the rest, Marilyn Monroe and the noir fatale and “golden tresses” and Fox news, follow like dominos.
The theory helps explain why even among homogenous racial groups, such as in this example Medieval vikings, blond hair is valued. For vikings, dark hair is halfway to gray hair. Tell it to Sif.
(White babies, incidentally, usually start their lives with blue eyes, a color that changes as they age. Make of that what you will.)
So if you want to know why Fox news has no many blonde anchorwomen: it’s for the same reason that Regis is older than Kathie Lee.
That’s not necessarily better than the conventional wisdom, but it’s different.