Created By: lexicon on August 1, 2012 Last Edited By: lexicon on September 13, 2012
Troped

Redheads Are Uncool

Red hair as an indicator that a character is a misfit.

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Trope
Young redheads are often portrayed as not fitting in with their social peers because the color stands out and so does the person like a nerdy Red-Headed Stepchild. It probably comes from how gingers look pale and therefore sickly like a bedridden weakling. The person it secluded so she (or he) is more comfortable by herself then with other people. She just lies there in her pajamas and if anyone tries to interact with her she'll passively try to not interact or aggressively drive the person away. In fiction they're more high functioning but basically the same.

They're often gingers, redheads with pale skin and freckles, but not necessarily. She might have intellectual hobbies like reading. Her clothes are probably far from stylish and she likely has minor health problems. She is easily picked on for these things, not necessarily for her hair color, unlike the Red-Headed Stepchild. She also has a tendency to be scared of life like the Shrinking Violet. If she's not then she'll be an uncontrollable Fiery Redhead who gets herself into big trouble. Despite how different she is, she can grow out of it and by the time she matures she can be expected to blossom into a self-assured person who is calm, strong, and elegant. In the mean time she will probably make a loyal friend.

The character might think that it's just her hair color making people look down on her like the Redheaded Stepchild, but if it was a different color she wouldn't be so self conscious and make herself look bad. Dye jobs tend to backfire though. A sign of maturity is fixing up her hair but keeping it red.

The Brainy Brunette can similarly not fit in, but her geeky intelligence gives her a calm confidence that the redhead lacks. Young blondes are Hair of Gold while mature redheads are wanted by heroes.


Examples

  • Twist of My Little Pony shows several stereotypically nerdy traits, such as a curly red mane and tail, pale coat, large, large glasses, and a nasal speech impediment (she has a hard time pronouncing W's and S's). She is the last one in her class to get her cutie mark before the cutie mark crusaders.
  • Willow of Buffy is presented as a bookish nerd with considerable computer skills, dowdily dressed and easily intimidated by more popular girls in school. Willow becomes much more confident in college, finally finding a place that respects her intellect, and to show that, she has embraced the redness of her hair by having dyed it a brighter red.
  • Anne of Green Gables is a very cheerful person, but at times could get very careless and cause mishaps. Her relationships with the people of Avonlea began unusually friendly or openly hostile because they teased her about her red hair, which she hoped would some day darken into a real handsome auburn.
  • Rowling introduces Ron Weasley of the Harry Potter series as "tall, thin and gangling, with freckles, big hands and feet, and a long nose." He is insensitive and immature, feels overshadowed by his older brothers, and feels embarrassed to have to use second hand supplies and wear second hand cloths. On top of all that, he plays chess.
  • 7th Heaven has an episode where Mary's high school friends tease a girl with frizzy red hair for wearing flannel and being fat.
  • Chuckie Finster of Rugrats, danger prone, cowardly, wore glasses that would break from time to time, had a perpetually stuffy nose and was often picked on by other kids. So much so that there were entire episodes devoted to him having an operation that temporarily cleared his nose, him trying to dye his hair black to fit in with the rest of the kids, and his other quirks.
  • In the pilot of Smallville nine year old Lex Luthor is being chastised for being scared and keeping his eyes closed while on the helicopter ride. Once he opens them he gets more scared and needs to use his inhaler because he has an asthma attack. That day the meteor shower caused him to lose all his red hair.
  • As Mallory Pike of The Babysitters Club is the only one in her family with red hair, glasses and braces. Mallory often feels unattractive and an ongoing plot arc of hers was trying to convince her parents to let her spice up her look with contacts, pierced ears, and a new wardrobe. She also feels like her parents treat her like a baby.
  • Trisana Chandler, Tris for short, is a character in Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series. She has curly red hair (her friend Briar calls her "Coppercurls"), gray eyes, and wears spectacles. She believes herself to be fat and is called "Fatty" a few times by some of the series' crueler characters. Before she learned control over her magic, strange things would happen when she got angry or emotional, such as causing it to hail indoors or to strike lightning nearby.
Community Feedback Replies: 70
  • August 2, 2012
    lexicon
    bump
  • August 3, 2012
    lexicon
    I'm going to launch this soon if no one has anything to say.
  • August 3, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    That's not a good idea. Sometimes people can just take a while to respond.

    This needs a better name, as "rose" could be a lot of things.
  • August 3, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Yeah, unless (or even if) this is a preexisting term it's not indicative of the trope at all.
  • August 3, 2012
    lexicon
    Thanks for your input. I felt like the name has a certain poetry to it, but I'm open to any suggestions that imply a redhead who's a late bloomer.
  • August 3, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Well I like redheads, but why limit this to them?
  • August 4, 2012
    lexicon
    As far as I've seen, red hair is an indicator that the character doesn't fit in because the color stands out and so does the person. Are there a lot of counter examples out there where the late bloomers have brown, blond and black hair?
  • August 4, 2012
    lexicon
    How does Late Blooming Redhead sound? There's also Redheads Are Late Bloomers or Late Bloomer (of any hair color).
  • August 7, 2012
    NoirGrimoir
    Yeah, name change, I seriously thought this was about a rose.

    I think the trope is good, but it needs more examples. Also, compare Significant Greeneyed Redhead
  • August 7, 2012
    lexicon
    Name changed. Compare how? I find the Significant Green Eyed Redhead too vague to understand.
  • August 7, 2012
    acrobox
    How about Awkward Ginger or something more to the point. Calling it a late blooming redhead suggests the plot is about them eventually going out of it. Some red heads are just consistently Played For Laughs or to emphasize their otherness from the rest of the cast.

  • August 7, 2012
    animeg3282
    I like awkward ginger too. also, we put 'compare to' to link to similar tropes. The Significant Greeneyed Redhead is another trope about red haired people.
  • August 7, 2012
    NoirGrimoir
    'Ginger' is actually kind of an insulting moniker to redheads and I don't support using it when there are alternatives.
  • August 8, 2012
    lexicon
    We could go with Awkward Redhead, even though if we give the character a chance he will grow out of it, as far as I've seen. I could still use more examples in general. Rugrats might be true but it would need some context to say how. Even if ginger wasn't insulting I wouldn't use it because it would imply that all the examples have freckles when some of them don't.

    What I meant was how is Significant Greeneyed Redhead similar to this?
  • August 8, 2012
    acrobox
    • Chuckie Finster, danger prone, cowardly, wore glasses that would break from time to time, had a perpetually stuffy nose and was often picked on by other kids. So much so that there were entire episodes devoted to him having an operation that temporarily cleared his nose, him trying to dye his hair black to fit in with the rest of the kids, and his other quirks. Despite this he also had at least three episodes devoted to childhood crushes/romances, the ten years later All Grown Up special being one of them.
      • Harold is less of a fan or author favorite and is simply Angelica's Butt Monkey after the timeskip.
      • Dil might also count, being a Cloud Cuckoo Lander, depending on how broad a definition of awkward/unique red heads we're going by
  • August 9, 2012
    NoirGrimoir
    This trope: the red hair stands out, indicating the character is a misfit.

    SGR: the red hair (and green eyes) stand out, indicating a character is significant.

    Basically in both the rarity of the redhair is an indication of rarity in the person.
  • August 9, 2012
    lexicon
    As far as I can see Significant Greeneyed Redhead is just Redheaded Hero and Heroes Want Redheads but with green eyes.
  • August 11, 2012
    lexicon
    Does anyone have anything to add before I launch this?
  • August 11, 2012
    Sackett
    Late Bloomer is bad, it can mean a lot of different things and doesn't really fit the description.

    I think the description could also use some tightening up. Is it just that Readheads are awkward misfits? Is this a toned down version of Redheaded Stepchild?
  • August 12, 2012
    lexicon
    How does it not really fit the description? Even if I change the name I would want to mention that these characters are social late bloomers. They aren't going to stand out forever.

    Yes, it is that redheads are awkward misfits.

    I don't know what you mean by toned down version. If a character dresses nice and acts cool she can still be made fun of for having red hair or the redhead can be made fun of for the weird way she dressed and acts but the teasing doesn't mention her hair color.
  • August 13, 2012
    lexicon
    For a better title we could go with Awkward Redhead, Redheaded Misfit, Weird Redhead, or just keep Late Blooming Redhead. Any help with the description would be appreciated.
  • August 22, 2012
    lexicon
    Unless anyone has anything specific to add I'm going to launch this the next chance I get.
  • August 27, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Any good pictures we can put on the page?
  • August 28, 2012
    lexicon
    Well there's Twist of My Little Pony in [1] or [2]. There's also Chuckie of Rugrats in [3]. None of the live action character seem to portray the concept as well.
  • August 28, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Any shots of Merida from Brave looking awkward? Or would she not count as an example?
  • August 30, 2012
    lexicon
    I don't find her awkward. She's not fearful, nerdy, or uncontrollable. She doesn't wear out of date clothes or have health problems. She's just a typical Fiery Redhead as far as I can see.

    I know I don't need them but may I have hats before launching this?
  • August 30, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ That seems to be narrower than the word "awkward" implies.
  • August 31, 2012
    lexicon
    I'm just listing the qualitys that I've noticed in many redheaded characters who are seen as out of place by the other characters. If you can say how she's "lacking social graces or manners" that distinguishes her from just a Fiery Redhead I'd add her.
  • August 31, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I mean the word "awkward" is broader than the definition. That's likely asking for misuse.
  • August 31, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    "I know I don't need them but may I have hats before launching this?"

    It is possible that this draft has no hats because no tropers think it is ready to publish.
  • September 1, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    Is Velma off Scooby-Doo a redhead? Because this reminds me of her, and I know Daphne is but she's more of a Heroes Want Redheads.
  • September 1, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Velma is more brown haired. But IIRC Fred mentioned on more than one occasion Daphne's klutzy tendencies, so I'd expect she counts (if someone could write it up nicely).
  • September 1, 2012
    lexicon
    Velma would probably count if she was a redhead. Not every awkward character is a redhead but there's often I connection as far as I see.

    I think it's ready to publish but if anyone has a suggestion for a rename or a change in the description or another example I'd like to hear it.
  • September 1, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    I think it's important for someone other than the sponsor to express that they think it's ready to publish.

    "I'm going to launch this soon if no one has anything to say" is not how it works, and is extremely worrisome.
  • September 1, 2012
    lexicon
    You're right, but what am I supposed to do if no one is saying what's wrong with it but no one is saying that it's ready to launch? I used the word 'awkward' to describe the character because tropers suggested it and Sackett's feedback was confusing.
  • September 2, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Redheaded Misfit?

    Wait, that would make it look like Merida fits, even though she might not.
  • September 2, 2012
    Avuai
    Antimony Carver from Gunnerkrigg Court. She is the odd one in her class, as she seems to be a magnet for the supernatural and weird.
  • September 3, 2012
    lexicon
    I'm not sure about Antimony Carver. 'Odd one' isn't very specific. Does she feel insecure or is she picked on for anything?
  • September 4, 2012
    lexicon
    What does this need to make it ready to launch?
  • September 4, 2012
    mythbuster
    Kushina Uzumaki from Naruto fit the description in her youth. Her first solution was beating people up.
  • September 4, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ 1. Fix the description. It works best to have a paragraph explaining the definition clearly, followed by a paragraph or two giving finer details and variations, followed by listing how some other tropes interact, followed by a list of "A Sub Trope of...", "A Super Trope to...", "A Sister Trope to...", "Compare...", "Contrast...".

    2. Still needs work on clarifying who does and doesn't fit.

    3. Good title will help, so it doesn't need TRS to have yet another thread.

    Get at least a good description, and I will add a hat.
  • September 5, 2012
    lexicon
    Does the first paragraph explain clearly what this is?
  • September 5, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Yeah. Then this really needs a better name. But what sets it apart from redheaded stepchild other than the hair may not be the reason they are picked on?
  • September 6, 2012
    lexicon
    A more specific name would probably be better. Besides the Redheaded Stepchild being, "bullied, picked-on, beaten, or just plain hated for no reason other than having red hair," it is often thought of as being evil or undead while the awkward redhead is weak and unwell. One is treated like they're dying and the other is treated like they're dead.
  • September 6, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Is that really specific enough to redheads?
  • September 6, 2012
    lexicon
    As far as I see the weak characters are not blond, brown haired, or black haired. Velma from Scooby-Doo, for example, would fit (glasses, ugly clothes, and a bookworm) except besides the fact that she has brown hair she's very confident in her intellectual abilities, usually being the one to figure out the mystery for the team.
  • September 6, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    I thought this was a specific type of character, not just "the weak character".
  • September 6, 2012
    Sheba
    Jessica Hanby from True Blood is redheaded and is very awkward and clumsy on account of both being so young and new to being a vampire.
  • September 7, 2012
    lexicon
    @ Sheba - I don't know. This is before she declared herself the progeny of the King of Louisiana and therefore queen?

    @ Dragon Quest Z - The character type is weird, immature, weak, unconfident, antisocial, awkward, insecure, and marked my red hair. Does the description make it clear enough what it should be called or should we just forget the whole thing?
  • September 7, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I still haven't seen that this character type isn't limited enough to redheads, or that there is a reason good enough to at least list them over all the other qualities, but without specifying the hair color.
  • September 7, 2012
    sonofprussia
    Ford Prefect of HHGG is certainly not awkward by any means (unless you consider awkward to mean "capable of imbibing vast amounts of alcohol and betting himself a beer that he couldn't spend his projected lifetime earnings before blinking"), but he does have red hair.
  • September 8, 2012
    lexicon
    If you have a bunch of characters who apply but don't have red hair please tell me who they are and how they apply.
  • September 8, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Actually, the description now seems to make a viable trope, since it states that redhead bullying is a cause of this trope, which would make it a Sub Trope of Redheaded Stepchild (which is actually about picking on redheads in general), as it's how some characters react to it.
  • September 9, 2012
    lexicon
    Are you saying that all these characters are redheaded stepchildren even though almost none of the stories have another character mentioning the hair color? The page for Redheaded Stepchild makes it sound like the person is being told there's something wrong with them because they have red hair.

    If it's a viable trope now, is there anything that still needs to be done with it before it's launched? Redheads Are Uncool might be a better title.
  • September 9, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Well even if it's unspoken in specific works, the trope in general came about due to the bullying for that reason.
  • September 9, 2012
    lexicon
    So it's okay to launch it now?
  • September 9, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    I'm not sure Willow counts, since Buffy has other awkward and uncool characters.

    Also, does Gretchen from Recess count? If so, she could make a good trope picture.
  • September 9, 2012
    nitrokitty
    Another hair color trope? What does being a redhead have to do with anything on here? All I got out of this is "redheads are uncool... except when they aren't"
  • September 10, 2012
    lexicon
    Gretchen's hair looks brown.

    Redheads Are Uncool, not all uncool people are redheads, just like not all evil characters are blonde, but Blondes Are Evil. Xander is the only other main character in Buffy that could be described as uncool and that's just an informed attribute.

    Hollywood Nerd says that a nerd has brown or red hair, never blond. Is this any worse than any other hair color trope or do you, nitrokitty, just not like any hair color tropes?
  • September 10, 2012
    Crush
    I think this works but in combination with other color tropes like Blondes Are Evil and Shiny Midnight Black because the play is to get one with every hair color so that everyone has someone to identify with physically like the Spice Girls, see BlondeBrunetteRedhead. Ron Weasley works this way. An argument could be made for Willow too (Cordelia and Buffy).
  • September 10, 2012
    nitrokitty
    Mainly I don't like them because the hair color is largely unrelated to the supposed trait. Case in point: Ron Weasley. Is his loser-ness explicitly connected to his red hair? It's never mentioned in universe at all. All of his siblings have red hair as well, and many of them are extremely cool. Ron's personality is mainly a result of being overshadowed by his successful older siblings, not his red hair. Unless you can explicitly link all the examples' personalities to their hair colors, then it's just a coincidence, not a trope.
  • September 10, 2012
    lexicon
    Anyone who thinks this works should please give it a hat.

    If a 'supposed trait' was 'explicitly connected' to the hair color it would be a Justified Trope. Just because we don't see why they're connected doesn't mean they aren't. Everyone has heard of Dumb Blond jokes. Lyle from Buffy The Vampire Slayer said, "I'm gonna beat you like a Redheaded Stepchild." Bart Simpson from The Simpsons said, "Blond guys aren't dumb. They're evil. Like in The Karate Kid and World War II."
  • September 11, 2012
    lexicon
    Is two hats enough?
  • September 11, 2012
    nitrokitty
    ^ No. You need 5 hats for a launch.
  • September 11, 2012
    acrobox
    Danny O'Farrel from Fillmore is an awkward comic relief character. also marked by Red hair and freckles
  • September 11, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ No, it's just strongly recommended.
  • September 11, 2012
    acrobox
    @ nitrokitty - this is a visual trope, not a narrative one. it has less to do in universe than with providing a visual cue to the audience that the red head might be the weirdo of the team. Tropes go into writing as much as they go into character and costume design and casting
  • September 11, 2012
    acrobox
    that said i do see the abundance of color related tropes in the YKTTW. But colors are powerful symbols anyway so maybe we should just do all the ones we can think of and get it over with / out of our systems
  • September 12, 2012
    nitrokitty
    From reading the examples, I get no indication that red hair is an indication of loser-ness, just a list of losers that just happen to have red hair. Yes, Blonds Are Evil has basis. Redheaded Stepchild does as well. But I have yet to see any link between red hair and loser traits.
  • September 12, 2012
    lexicon
    The character might think that it's just her (or his) hair color making people look down on her like the Redheaded Stepchild, but if it was a different color she wouldn't be so self conscious and make herself look bad. Dye jobs tend to backfire though. A sign of maturity is fixing up her hair but keeping it red.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=3qzz0jtah03vmnag1l3kvg9i