Blondes, or women with light colored hair, are no less intelligent than women with any other hair color. However, popular perception claims that blondes are dumb. We examine the truth behind the stereotype.
Portrayal in pop culture
People with blonde hair and blue eyes have been considered more attractive than people with other hair colors in European/Caucasian cultures. In culture and advertising, this perception gained ground with the advent of colored films. Movies like “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and actors like Diana Dors, Marilyn Monroe, Barbara Eden, Mae West, Joan Blondell, Jean Harlow, Lana Turner and Brigitte Bardot portrayed characters that were blonde, available to men with an explosive sexuality and a marked absence of intelligence or good judgment. In cinema, these blonde stereotypes gave birth to the “dumb blonde” stereotype which has been propagated in pop culture to this very day.
Evolutionarily, at least in European Caucasian cultures, women with blonde hair were considered more attractive. The reason for this was that blonde hair were caused by a mutation where hair lacks a pigment called eumelanin and was thus rather rare. Even today, just 2 percent of the world’s population is naturally blond. This made women with blonde hair stand out in terms of attraction and Caucasian population became hardwired to see them as attractive. Since blonde haired women did not have to try as hard to find a suitable mate, they did not have to exhibit or exercise intelligence as much at least in terms of mate selection.
While most sociological research studying hair color and intelligence is marred by the influence of pop culture on hair color and perception of intelligence, studies have shown that women that artificially dye their hair blonde may lose IQ points and sensory intelligence through the effect of chemicals present in such hair dyes.
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