Dirty Blonde - Contemporary Popular Culture - Blonde Vs. Brunette Rivalry - Blondes Vs. Brunettes: Research and Studies

Blondes Vs. Brunettes: Research and Studies

A number of studies have been conducted over the years to measure society’s attitude toward blondes and brunettes. Many of the studies have shown that men, especially those of European descent, find blonde women more attractive than brunettes, redheads, or women of other races who had darker hair, eyes, or complexion. Other studies have supported the findings by examining behavior shown in public settings. As an example, a Cornell University study showed that blonde waitresses receive larger tips than brunettes, even when controlling for other variables such as age, breast size, height and weight.

In a 2012 interview with NBC news, Dr. Lisa Walker, Sociology Department Chair at the University of North Carolina said that hair color "absolutely" plays a role in the way people are treated and claimed that numerous studies had shown that blonde women were paid higher salaries than other women.

"Most people would tell you, if asked, that it doesn't matter what your hair color is. What style your hair is in. They would say whatever is best for your face," explained Walker. "But from a very young age these stereotypes appear. In cartoons and children's programming, we see the way women are portrayed based on their hair. The associations continue through childhood into adulthood.”

The local NBC news affiliate in Charlotte tested Walker’s theory by asking a natural blonde to walk around the Charlotte business area, drop a scarf and keep going. The volunteer did it 20 times as a blonde and then 20 times wearing a brunette wig. As a blonde, every time she dropped the scarf a bystander picked it up for her, but when wearing a dark haired wig, people simply mentioned that the scarf was dropped or ignored it altogether.

A well publicized 2011 University of Westminster study evaluated how men perceived women who entered a London nightclub as a blonde or a brunette. The study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, used the same woman and had her dye her hair a different color for each visit.

After spending some time in the club, she departed and then researchers entered to club and interviewed the men who had engaged her in conversation. The results showed that, as a blonde, she was more likely to be approached for conversation than as a brunette. However, when the researchers interviewed the men who spoke to her, the men rated her more intelligent and attractive as a brunette than as a blonde. Many news organizations covered the story as evidence that blondes were not preferred over brunettes.

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