Blonde jokes are insulting and create a damaging stereotype. They’re also sexist because the jokes almost always refer to blonde women. It’s a prevalent stereotype we see in the press, in TV shows, and even in products. For example, we found a Rubik’s cube “for blondes” that had entirely pink pieces and was instantly solved. Fuck that shit.
Jokes aren’t always as innocent as they seem and can strengthen stereotypes and justify harmful behaviour. Rape jokes, for example, are obviously hurtful to victims but also normalise and justify the behaviour to other people. Blonde jokes are seen as dumb and innocent by many but can have a lasting impact. Jay Zagorsky, a researcher at Ohio State University, said “research shows that stereotypes often have an impact on hiring, promotions, and other social experiences.”
Zagorsky has published a study showing that the discrimination against blondes isn’t just harmful, it simply isn’t founded in reality. Back in 1979, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics surveyed 10,787 people between the ages of 14-21 as part of the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979 (NLSY79). The participants all took part in the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which the Pentagon uses to determine the intelligence of new recruits. Zagorsky only looked at white people in his study because he wanted the results to reflect hair colour alone and not be influenced by ethnic differences (e.g. one ethnic group might have better access to education than another).
The study found that naturally blonde women had a slightly higher average IQ than women with other hair colours. This doesn’t mean blondes are necessarily smarter as the difference wasn’t significant. The key finding is that blondes aren’t any less intelligent than brunettes or anyone else. The results were similar for men too.
The IQ scores themselves aren’t important. We should never read too much into an individual’s score But having 10,787 people do the same test does allow researchers to compare averages between groups and be fairly confident about the results. It’s might be obvious to many of us that blondes aren’t dumber than anyone else but the stereotype is very real and many jokers out there are serious about the claim that blondes are less intelligent. The stereotype is harmful and can affect peoples’ opportunities in life.
So the next time you hear a terrible blonde joke, put the joker in their place and remember that science has got your back.
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