Nelly Elliott

Newcastle based person, she/her, mama, creative, colourful, caffeinated, plus-size fashion lover, lefty feminist killjoy #funbutmakeitfashion


What I'm really thinking; The Mother of a Ginger Child.

I recently read this article in the Guardian and I had so many thoughts and responses I decided to write my own account of what I am really thinking, as a ginger mother of a ginger child.
I struggle to remember Zoe's birth very clearly in a bit of a blur of gas and air and pain, but I vividly remember when she was born, firstly asking "Is this her?" as they plonked her on my chest. She was so tiny and I'd been told over and over what a chunky giant baby I was going to have, so I almost didn't believe this tiny little thing could be my baby, despite literally watching her come out (sorry for that visual).
The second question I asked Paul was "Is she ginger?". I remember the midwife saying something about all babies looking ginger due to blood and stuff, as if she was trying to comfort me in the fact she might not really be ginger. The reality was that I really really wanted her to be ginger; like me.
It makes me incredibly sad to think that so many people are possibly disappointed when recessive ginger genes appear in their children, as if this pesky gene is a passport to a lifetime of bullying and should be something to hate.

Hair clip from Rockahula - Bought at Tribe in Tynemouth

As a child I got the odd comment, mostly from older people about how people pay a lot of money for that hair colour, or how rare and beautiful it was. Or the usual comment on how I must have a fiery temper or be trouble for my poor mother. I never really paid it much attention really, I always secretly felt very special to have my hair colour as the rest of my family had brown hair. I mean, don't get me wrong I would get ginger related insults from kids at school, but I just took it in the same way as someone with glasses or an unfortunate home cut fringe would, kids are brutal and will hone in on anything that makes you different.
My Mum always told me I was lucky and my hair was special and I should be proud and that is the message that stuck with me. So that is what I will be telling Zoe, she is special and her hair makes her different and differences are what make the world a fantastic place.
I just wish the stereotypical ginger negativity would stop already, and that includes telling ginger children that they should expect negativity or to 'get used to it', you don't get to be outraged about bullying while systematically perpetuating stereotypes.
Do you have a ginger kid? Or were you the ginger kid? I'd love to hear your experiences...


  1. Hari OM
    I had the opposite thing, being the only 'tattie' in a tribe of carrots! (Their words, not mine.) why they chose 'tattie' for my dark brunette I never really knew - nor particularly cared. We certainly love red hair in our family, the Scots, perhaps, being generally more inclined to it. I do recall one sister (the one after me) deciding one day that she wanted to dye her hair as she had been receiving some less than kind comments at school. The result was green, and not very thorough, so mum got the shears out and cropped the lot off!!! Talk about drawing attention to oneself. Took her long time to live that one down. No more dying of hairs. Wear it proudly!!! YAM xx

  2. I always wish I was born with red hair, it's so beautiful!! I, funnily enough, was blonde when I was a baby. I'm actually quite light haired but I've dyed it dark since I was 15.

    Katie xoxo

  3. I am sure when I was around 15/6 I was desperate to dye my hair to something really cool like pink or blue, but was told that ginger people can't dye their hair or it'll turn green... I'm fairly sure that was just my mum trying to stop me though! lol

  4. I had ginger hair up until about 2 and then it got darker but still has lots of red in it. I hate any kind of discrimination but gingerism is one of the more baffling! I used to think the red in my hair was further proof that i was part dragon! (I am a dragon in the Chinese horoscope and half welsh...logic of children eh!?)


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