red hair

“Ginger” schoolgirl gets death threats and Kate Moss has “lines on her face”, says Daily Fail

I try my best not to read the Daily Mail – or the Daily Fail, as I like to think of it. Inevitably, any time I follow a link there by mistake, I end up on the site for an hour, clicking from one hideous story to the next and ranting and raving to anyone who will listen about the sheer idiocy that’s generally displayed over there in such great levels. It makes me sad for humanity, it really does.

The link I followed to the Fail today (sent to me by reader Maayam) was no different: I ranted about it until Terry finally got up and went to the gym just to get away from me, but this time I wasn’t ranting about the poor journalism or the “lobotomised at birth” standard of the comments. This time I was ranting purely about the story itself, the title of which is “Terrified girl, 12, dyes ginger hair blonde after receiving death threats from schoolmates“.

I make no apologies, then, for linking to the Daily Mail just this once. This story really saddens me. It goes on to explain that the girl in question (Who, by the way, has beautiful hair, but even if she didn’t, wouldn’t deserve death threats over it) has actually been withdrawn from the school in question, who apparently refused to take the parents’ complains seriously, and is being homeschooled by her father.  I’m not sure how much effort the Fail went to in order to coax a response from the school, but all they seem to have said is “Meh, bring the ginger in and we’ll talk about it.”

I was bullied myself at school, although NOT because of the colour of my hair, so I know how serious it can be, and how much of an impact it can have on a child. For me, it changed me from a happy-go-lucky, confident child who really didn’t have a care in the world, into a nervous wreck who jumped at her own shadow and had to be driven to school so I could wait in the car until the exact second the bell rung, and not have to risk spending even a minute in the playground with my contemporaries. As an adult, I still cringe when I walk past groups of children or young teens. I still expect to hear jeers and insults (and sometimes I do), and when I’m with a group of females I don’t know (because it’s always the women, isn’t it?) I’ll frequently get that sinking feeling that they’re just waiting for me to go to the bathroom so they can start bitching about me.

This is the legacy of childhood bullying, and let me be clear: I got off lightly. This poor girl is apparently too frightened to leave her house, and it doesn’t sound like she’s had the kind of experience you get over quickly. There is one positive in this, however. I finished the article, and steeled myself to read the accompanying comments, expecting the usual rash of “But gingers DO deserve to die!” nonsense from the Fail readers. This time, though, they surprised me, and I found myself nodding in agreement at the person who said:

“If she’d been teased because she was non-white the place would have been swarming with lawyers, police and politicians within hours.”

Very true. But of course, because the girl is “only” receiving death threats over her hair (and as we all know, it’s perfectly acceptable to hate “gingers” anyway), no one wants to know. So very sad, and I can only hope Nicole Nagington one day comes to realise how beautiful she is, and how pathetic are the people who want to bring her down.

As a counterpoint to this story, however, I present this article about how Kate Moss has – wait for it – lines on her face, OMG THE HORROR! I mean, can you even IMAGINE a 36-year-old having LINES on her face? And OK, let’s be honest: it’s true that Kate has clearly done her share of drugs in her time. In fact, Kate’s probably done everyone ELSE’S share of drugs in her time, too. But actually, Daily Fail, not many people manage to age without getting at least a few lines, and it seems a little hypocritical to me to publish one article commenting on how awful it is that someone is being bullied because of their natural appearance, and then turn around and effectively bully another person because of theirs. Women in their thirties get lines on their faces. They do. So do men. It comes to us all. I’ve never taken coke in my life (other than the brown, bubbly stuff, obviously), am younger than Kate Moss and I STILL have lines on my forehead. It’s called “not being 15 any more”. (It’s also called “Screwing up your face every time you’re in direct sunlight, because you’re stupid.”)

I’d also love to know what the Fail and its readers would like Kate Moss to DO about the lines on her forehead. She could get Botox, of course, but I absolutely guarantee that if she did, the Daily Mail would be one of the first to write an article saying, “OMG, Kate Moss has had Botox, can you even BELIEVE it?” and she’d be called “plastic” and “fake” and God knows what else. So Kate can’t win. Women in general can’t win. And no one who’s ever read the Daily Mail is in the least bit surprised by this…

  • It is absolutely disgusting that in the 21st Century people are still getting bullied over something that cannot be controlled. The colour of your hair is genetic, we have no choice about this at birth and it really upsets me to think that it is still going on. If you choose to colour your hair then absolutely go for it but to be forced into it to try to stop bullying is shocking.

    I too was bullied at school and know what you mean when you say that you are nervous in crowds as there is always that thing hanging over the conversation of when are they going to notice me and start taking the mickey like back at school.


    April 24, 2010
  • Sonya


    Okay, now they're ticking me off. The girls' recieving freaking DEATH THREATS, and the school doesn't care?

    I've been bullied (heck, I'm still BEING bullied), and I KNOW that isn't right. (I have grey eyes, and they have a tendency to freak people out. Not ginger hair, grey eyes.)

    The only thing that makes it worse is the hypocritism of the Daily Mail about Kate Moss.

    April 24, 2010
    • Um, to me grey eyes sound gorgeous! What on earth is wrong with grey eyes?!

      April 25, 2010
      • Sonya


        I just freak people out. My eye color is usually stone, (but it does tint itself with green and blue occasionally) and it's a scary-ish color. (Shrugs) I don't get it either, but that's what they think.

        April 26, 2010
  • Poor girl – her hair is so lovely. I was thinking about the whole "if this person was of a different ethnicity than white, it wouldn't be ok to tease/bully/say anything mean to them" issue – and it's true. It shouldn't be ok to tease anyone for any reason and I don't know why it is easier for people to comprehend the serious nature of racism and then not understand why sexism (even as a joke) or any other different treatment related to appearance or genetics is just as wrong. I am constantly teased and insulted by strangers for my very pale skin – told to get a tan, that I look albino, that I look ill or disgusting – and I realize that the history of abuse related to pale skin isn't nearly as upsetting or negative as the history of abuse relating to those with dark skin, but it doesn't make those insults any more acceptable!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Two Things I love (right now) =-.

    April 24, 2010
  • That's absolutely horrible. What is it that makes these kids tease a redhaired child, when they'd never DREAM of teasing based on race or ability? And moreover, what makes the school treat the whole situation so lightly? Ridiculous all around. That poor girl.

    And I know I've said his before, but I just continue to be amazed at the difference in how redheads are treated in England vs here in America. I rarely get comments on my red hair, and when I do get them they're (usually – drunk college guys being the exception) just along the lines of "Whoa, beautiful hair!" or "Are you Irish?" or "Is that your natural color?". I couldn't imagine being so teased or harassed for it. Just breaks my heart.

    April 24, 2010
  • Excellent post, Amber. Bullying is endemic in schools, but while the teachers have a choice and can leave the job, the kids are expected to turn up regardless. I have personally supported families with self harming, sometime suicidal, young people over many years where the classic response from the authorities has been to blame the victim for being "over sensitive". If anything, the problem is getting worse as anti bullying policies are tidied into a single side of A4 with a few tick boxes.
    .-= Ali´s last blog ..Open letter to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Home Education =-.

    April 24, 2010
      • Hey Amber! I’m a fellow blogger and a follower of your site and also a redhead myself. I was bullied and picked on from my childhood about my red hair. But what I did was I knocked their lights out when they attempted to escalate it to touching me, like pushing me around. I figured I may be under five feet, you may be above five feet, but I got more spunk than you do, so I knocked their lights out and I got blamed for bullying and they never did, despite the issue having gone on and been reported for years as an escalating situation.

        I’m kinda curious and I would totally join you as a US representative on this if you wanted to do it. See if Gloria Alright, or whatever that famous discrimination lawyer’s name is could do something about gingerism. She’s got lots of weight she could throw around since death really isn’t helping to solve the issue or spark a controversy.

        November 30, 2010
  • I don't mean to sound weird or stalker-ish, but Amber might it be worth you trying to get in touch with this girl? I can't help thinking it could help her to talk/type with someone who has had similar awful experiences and lived through them.

    Only a thought.
    .-= Louise´s last blog ..Less guarding =-.

    April 25, 2010
  • You're so right about the article on Kate Moss. It's like, "BREAKING NEWS: WOMAN AGING NORMALLY." What made them think this was worth writing about? Is Kate Moss not supposed to age, because she's famous?

    I sure am glad my skin isn't making headlines…
    .-= Kelley´s last blog ..Pajama Portrait, finished! =-.

    April 25, 2010
  • AMBER – please omit my previous comment lol…it linked to my Facebook for some strange reason! 🙂

    I've been bullied for having a disability, so I know what it's like. Believe me. I was afraid to go to school…my parents let me miss a lot of school so I wasn't teased. Even teachers were mean about my disability. And it's a disability! You think people would know not to make fun of things like that, but I got it all the time. Even now.

    I just don't get it…I mean, yeah in high school people made fun of "gingers" but it was never bullying – just teasing…Blondes got it too for being dumb (like I did). It made you stronger, shrug it off, etc.

    But why the ginger hate? This absolute hate. It makes zero sense to me.

    The only thing I can think is that so many people have so much hate in them, they need a scapegoat and the scapegoat is usually someone who doesn't fall into the norm. Black, jewish, ginger…it'll never end.

    Sad, sad society we live in.

    April 25, 2010
  • I will never understand why people think red/ginger hair is bad, I think it's super sexy and I wish I had the skintone to pull off red hair!
    .-= Ally C´s last blog ..95th Anniversary =-.

    April 25, 2010
  • Sandy


    I always think redheads look fab, so I don't get why other feel so threatened by them that they have to point and jeer. Weren't the original "British" (the Celts) mostly redheads??? (I could have made that up though! LOL!)

    I too was bullied at school but mine was for blue NHS glasses (with added patch!! Woohoo!) funny 70s bowl cut hair and I used to over lick my lips so always had REALLY chapped lips. One girl once rummaged in my school dinner to pick up the spaghetti to wiggle it about and tell me it was worms….I switched to packed lunches after that! I used to constantly ask my mum for time off, bang my head on the wall to create headaches, a hot face etc etc….fortunately she did let me skip school sometimes.

    It makes me wonder why people do it….power I suppose?!

    April 25, 2010
  • Nikki G


    I will never understand why people enjoy hurting other people. I was never bullied in school, just mostly ignored. It always angers me to read about children and teenagers that get bullied and how it affects their lives. There is a lawsuit that I am aware of in the U.S. that concerns bullying. One boy's parents are suing his school for not protecting him from bullies after he went home and shot himself after enduring endless harassment and physical abuse in front of teachers at the school. They are not seeking money, but they want an anti-bullying program enacted at the school. Another is the case of a girl that hanged herself after being bullied for months at her new school and charges were brought against six teens for bullying her. I can't understand why it must take something as drastic as death for schools to take notice and try to protect the children. I hope that Nicole Nagington can find peace from her peers. She is an innocent victim in all of this.

    April 25, 2010
  • ian nagington


    i am nicoles father i,d like to thankyou for covering this story about my daughter and to everyone for giving there comments nicole is feeling much better than what she has been feeling lately and reading comments like these has helped were all getting through this as best we can and look forward to the future many thanks again ian nagington

    April 25, 2010
  • This breaks my heart. It seems like bullying is not only getting more and more common these days, but even more severe. I was picked on as a kid (though like you not for my ginger hair), but never really bullied. I mean I had mean friends who did things purposely to not include me, but I was never harassed or abused or anything that made life hard to deal with… but these days kids are being ruthlessly bullied, harassed, and abused by their peers. I can't imagine what could drive someone to want to hurt another human being in that way…

    I'm glad that this little girl has such a supportive and involved dad. He might just be her saving grace in all of this… because all too many times the parents don't get involved or even really know what's going on until its too late. I hope that she is able to recover from this, she is such a beautiful girl. And shame of that school for not having the guts to do something to make this stop or take responsibility for this. They need to look at what has happened at other schools recently surrounding bullying… these schools and their administrators are as much to blame as the kids themselves for their negligence.
    .-= Jenni´s last blog ..Welcome to My Closet =-.

    April 25, 2010
  • I read this article in the DM too and was disgusted. I felt so bad for that lovely little girl. I was bullied at school as well (I had bad acne and was also a shy, creative type. Prime target). I wasn't physically bullied, but sometimes I wish I had been as it would have been much easier to deal with than the nasty names and comments I got about my skin. Like you, I went from a happy teen into a shell of a person who feared every day and couldn't wait to get home – school was hell. I got lost in writing stories to escape it. I hated myself and wondered what I'd done to deserve being so ugly. The lack of confidence lasted for years.

    My parents reported this a few times but all we got was an 'it'll all blow over' attitude. They didn't care. There were kids in that school renowned for bullying as disrupting classes but were they punished? No.

    Why should bullies remain in school when the victims are forced to leave or live in fear of them every day? And just like you, I get the EXACT same feeling when walking past a group of teens, or a group of women.

    I just wish we had a time machine to show this girl herself in ten years' time. I got the last laugh – my writing has finally paid off, my acne has gone and I'm considered very, very attractive (though I still have a couple of leftover confidence issues!) I have seen my school bullies and almost all of them are on benefits, having left school at 16 to have children. Just scruffy nobodies who are disgusting to look at. In fact I saw two of them last week and they have worse skin that I could ever have in my life, they look about 40. None would dare utter a word to me now.

    The victims will ALWAYS get the last laugh and you don't believe that when you're 15. But it's always the case. Sorry for the long comment!
    .-= Elle´s last blog ..In which I get sucked in by sexy, toned advertising. =-.

    April 25, 2010
  • Oh people just make me so angry sometimes – my blood boils when I read stuff like that. I'm not going to start my rant, because it'll go for paragraphs (possibly pages), so just a couple of points. 1) I was bullied horribly at school too, in my case because I was small and very shy. Oh and I cried easily, so it was a game of "let's see how easily we can make Selina cry today". It stays with me to this day, and as a parent I am ever vigilant (possibly excessively so, but I'm fine with that) about any signs of bullying with my children. Luckily they both go to schools which have excellent policies and procedures on bullying in place. 2) This made me smile: I read the other day that Christina Hendricks (who as far as I am concerned is the sexiest woman alive, partly because of her stunning hair) is actually naturally a blonde, and after a life-long obsession with Anne of Green Gables decided to dye her hair red, long before she was in Mad Men.
    .-= Selina´s last blog ..Your daily dose of pretty: Emily shoulder bag from Etsy =-.

    April 25, 2010
  • Marie


    I really can't understand why there are so much hatred on red hair color over there in the UK, this just doesn't make any sense to me!! why do people bother to bully other people because they have red hair?

    I love ginger hair, it's my favorite hair color together with black, and I dream of having long, curly, ginger hair – what won't happen, sadly, because I have super-straight hair whose color looks quite like very dirty water. Here in Brazil, ginger red is very rare and women with this hair color are considered really sophisticated, strong willed and wise yet very funny and outgoing, the kind of person that you ALWAYS want to hang out with because they're so intelligent and energetic that you NEVER get bored. I have a "ginger" friend and I LOVE the way she ALWAYS looks like some sort of ancient queen, even when she's wearing jeans, t-shirt and zero makeup, and all the gingers that I have ever seen have this ability; I think it's some sort of magic shared by them.

    I have been bullied for most of my life, starting my first day at school and going nonstop till today, when i'm almost finishing university for a number of different reasons – my weird, thick glasses, overwheight, height and awkward tastes in music, food, tv shows… there is always a reason. It was too weird for a 3 year old to be wearing glasses, it was too weird for a 6 year old to be the taller than all the boys WHILE being chubby AND wearing even thicker glasses, it was unfitting for a girl to like anime and video games, a girl should be playing with her barbie dolls, not wrestling, power rangers style, with her older cousins, a teen cannot prefer to stay at home reading, playing videogames or watching cartoons instead of going out to party, a teen cannot be fat and wear glasses, there are diets and contact lenses, someone who is not asian cannot like asian music, and today what I listen the most is "You're almost graduating, you should stop liking games, cartoons and fairytales, it's childish. Oh, my Dear, when will you grow up?", but I cannot say that i know what this girl is suffering because I have never had death threats. I had my self-esteem crushed many many times, but things have NEVER got this serious to me. I know how much it hurts being bullied and mocked because of who you are, but… what these people did to the girl is just too much wrong for me to understand. I want to say a few words for her, but I think that whatever I say will not be enough to help her.

    Even if it's not enough, I want her to know that, sometime in the future, when she gets over all these things that happened to her, that these people do not matter in her life. They are mean and vicious, and thus not important. What they did is wrong, and it hurts, hurts really bad, but when it's over she will see that what these people say do not matter. There will always be someone who loves her and admires her, and only their opinion must be taken seriously. The ones who did it to her are the ones with issues, not her, and they deserve nothing but pity. They are not worth the damage. But I believe that, being a ginger, she is strong enough to overcome this and be truly proud of the way she is. =P

    April 26, 2010
  • Jasmine


    I was also bullied as a child and it permanently changed who I am. It turned me into some one who does not trust people very easily and is pretty much always ready to be on the defense (gee I sound pleasant don't I?). It's like I the the innocence slapped out of me. I would often feign illness to avoid going to school and have to face those bastards. It made me tougher, independant and a realist (although many called it pessimism.) As an adult (a very successful one) I have a wonderful loving and innocent 5 year old and my heart breaks everytime I think of what he stands to face as his school years approach all too quickly. I believe that as parents we set the bar for what type of behaviour is exceptable and I try my best to instill a strong moral sense of right and wrong. I pray that one day he will be able to make a positive impact on some ones life instead of a negative one.

    April 26, 2010
  • Brilliant commentary as usual Amber, and Nicole's Dad's comment made me feel so proud of you and your lovely readers – that you might have actually made a difference.

    As you know, I'm a "strawberry blond" and was teased at school for being ginger, as well as for being fat and for wearing unusual clothes. The bullying didn't get physical or even near bad enough for me to consider dying my hair (or sticking to a diet!), but it was bad enough that I would stick the thermometer in a cup of tea to convince my Mum to keep me off school, and I developed an ongoing stomach ache over several months which culminated in hospitalisation for suspected appendicitis… to this day a very small part of me wonders whether part of this was psychosomatic, or actually the onset of stress-induced IBS due to the unbearable school situation.

    The thing that I would really like Nicole to know is that, while the "they're just jealous" argument doesn't even start to help with the pain at this point, it is nevertheless true. And the number of girls and women who now stop me – here in the UK – in shops, in bathrooms, at train stations – to tell me how envious they are of my hair colour is phenomenal. Of course you still get the odd "ginger" comment, but not from anyone who really matters.

    Hang in there Nicole – one day soon you'll realise how beautiful and rare you really are!
    .-= Caroline´s last blog ..A grand meander =-.

    April 26, 2010
  • This is a great post, Amber and I'm glad Nicole's dad read it and commented. It's good that they know there are good people out there and that not everyone is like those people she goes to school with. This just sickens me. That poor girl.
    .-= Kristabella´s last blog ..A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That =-.

    April 26, 2010
  • Yet more evidence of the social decline in Once Great Britain.

    We removed our daughter from school due to the schools unwillingness to do anything about the endemic levels of bullying. Since then she's enrolled in an Online school and her grades have improved dramatically.

    Keep up the great blogging Amber…this is one of the only blogs guaranteed to make me laugh out loud
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..Dreams Or Goals? What are you Chasing? =-.

    April 27, 2010
  • Thank you so much for all your blogs! I have had a wonderful time reading your various posts, particularly the ones about makeup for pale skin and your quest to find something to help with under-eye circles.

    I knew there was redhead-hate out there, but just not that it was so prevalent. What a scary thought that people's lives would be in danger just for the color of their hair!

    There is a website called which posts many different news articles, but the community is full of folks who appreciate redheads….they simply love them (and no I am not a writer or contributor to the site, just love to read there) and it's understood that redheads are beautiful! Definitely a positive place to hang out and not be ostracized or told you have to change–perhaps you'll like it. 🙂

    June 12, 2010