Think of all the heroes and idols you worshipped as a child, and consider the modern celebrity men you most often emulate. How many of them are gingers? Are any at all?
The underrepresentation of red-headed men in the media is shocking when you consider how incredibly hot famous gingers like Damian Lewis and Kevin McKidd are, and it’s even more shocking once you discover the “gingerist” culture that systematically conditions us to believe red-headed men are weak, frail and unattractive punching bags. Aversion to fiery locks has been called “the last acceptable prejudice,” and it’s an obvious problem considering the amount of violent attacks reported against gingers across the globe has even sparked an entire anti-ginger-bullying campaign.
To help fight the nasty trend of gingerism by showcasing how strong, handsome, and downright desirable most gingers actually are, photographer Thomas Knights has spent the last two years of his life photographing hardbodied redheads to break the stereotype in a series called “Red Hot“:
[Gingers] are completely emasculated and desexualized in popular culture.
The main thing for me is the huge polarization between the way our society perceives ginger men and ginger women. You can name successful redheaded women in Hollywood. But with men, once you’ve said Damian Lewis, you’re stumped. There’s got to be a reason for that, because genetically it should be equal. But it hasn’t been allowed to happen. So I think the whole gingerism thing is a stealth form of acceptable racism that goes on in boardrooms, in authors’ minds. Look at Harry Potter – the redheads are the poor, weak family, the buffoons. If Harry Potter had been ginger, that would have been a different story.
“Red Hot” debuts at The Gallery in Redchurch Street in London this week, where playground bullies will regret every moment spent teasing these beautiful creatures.
See more of Thomas Knights’ work and follow the Red Hot project on Facebook.