Blonde Ambivalence

Collated responses to my Assisted Blonde Survey- some exerpts may end up in one of my videos…

24, 31, 22, 29, 32, 25, 30
Family Background
British Isles mongrel (probably mostly Scottish, possibly some English/Irish/Welsh/Cornish/whatever, Scandinavian at some point in distant past);

Scandinavian, 100% Swedish;




White middle class Australian;


Were you blond/e as a child?

Jupp, turned strawberry/cendre as time went by;




Yes, only until about age 6 or 7;


At what age did you start dying your hair?

Never have;

Really bleach it white: yr 2000 with the dreadlocks, dye to red and all other shades when I was 14;

I’ve never died my hair;





What was your reason for doing this at the time?


To keep my hair fresh and tight in the locks… great way to keep it clear (dead) from all kinds of living things :D. Liked being blonde and continued after I cut off the locks. (2007);

I love my hair to be/feel as natural as possible;

Wanted something different;

It was the early nineties, and the Madonna Vouge-era. I was naturally blonde at the time but wanted it super-blonde;

I wanted a dramatic change of hair style;

Fashion, the usual teenage need to alter your natural appearance as much as possible;

Please provide details of your hair colour maintenance:
Frequency of re-dying


every 12th week now, every 8th when I had my locks;


very random and infrequent;

Depending on the blondeness; from every month to 4-5 month in between if I got highlights;

6-8 weeks;

Every 10-12 weeks



now always in a salon, before I did it all by myself. Now I always have a toner after bleach to lessen the yellowish tones (since I am red in the bottom tones it always turns very yellow);


Self administering;

Depending on money, but these days Salon;

Salon, my hair is toned not bleached, takes longer but is better for my hair; Salon for the main dyeing, sometimes self-administered for re-growth touch-ups.

Cost per re-dye


maybe 100 AUD;



1300 Swedish krona including haircut (semi expensive);



Duration of each re-dye


2 hrs inc. a cut.;


1 week (duration of colour, not dying);

3-5 months if highlighted. (duration of colour, not dying);

2 hours-2 1/2 hours;

2 hours!!!

Colours used for re-dying


silverwhite, and champagne 😀 sounds sooo exclusive huh?;


Black, purple, red;

Various blonde colours;

Toner, not sure what it is or what’s in it;

Various shades of blonde (usually 3 at a time to give a ‘natural’ look)

Any further comments on your colour maintenance routine, eg. are there particular triggers for you to re-dye?/season/mood/timetable etc etc:


The main trigger is the dullness in the hair when I haven’t been to the salon for a while. The roots and allover coulouring after the toner (shine) have grown out or been worn out. Split ends and all that.;

I put lemon juice in my hair in winter;

It was usually done with a friend. When we were feeling a bit rebellious;

Of course if a photo-filled happening is coming up I want to look fresh and without dark roots;

If I could afford to I would go every month. I hate regrowth and prefer my hair to look as close to natural blonde as possible;

When my roots are looking especially bad, and when my hair gets so heavy and lank I know it needs a cut.

Please describe your hair colour now:


It all looks ratty when it grows out (as always with the first few centimetres) and since I haven’t had my real colour since I was 14 I don’t know… but when I have had loooong roots it turns dark blond with red undertones in it.;

It is a darkish blonde. There are natural light streaks.;

Beach Blonde;

In Sweden we call it “rat” (mouse, about sand colour);

Mousey brown hair;

Mouse-y light brown

Have you ever let your natural colour grow out?


Only for 5 centimeters maybe;

Only always!;



Not since I became a blonde, but had had my natural hair colour (most of the time) for most of my life;

Yes, on several occasions;



If so, when was the last time?


Maybe 2 yrs ago ;


It has been natural for around 12-18 months;

5-6 years ago;


4 years ago

How many times have you let it grow out?


Few times…;


countless; I have had so many different hair-colours and shaved my head a couple of times so it´s impossible to count. The most important thing is that I still consider my self a blonde even though my hair can be dark brown or red.;



For how long each time?


Dunno ;


Anywhere from 6-24 months;

These days i get so tired of that old rat colour that I want to bleach it after a couple of months;


Usually about 6 -12 months

Contemplating both your time as an assisted blonde, and time with your natural hair colour-

Which do you prefer, and why?


Of course assisted blonde 😀 feels fresh! Though abit stressful seeing the hair grow out sooo quickly;

As mentioned above, I like to have my natural hair. I have not had the experience of dying my hair.;

My natural blonde has far better condition, but assisted blonde looks more maintained/presentable;


Blonde! Because I have more fun. No just kidding I have just as much fun as I did as brunette. I like my blonde hair, I think it suits me better than my natural colour. I feel more glamorous and I like to be glamorous whenever possible. I also like that matched with my sharp arty bob my haircut is striking.;

Assisted blonde for sure – I’m not very enamoured of my natural colour, I feel it makes me look a bit pallid and bland.

Do you consider there to be a difference in the way –

a) people treat you/see you- (how?)


naaah unless I am travelling it is the same. Many more people gave compliments for my long blonde dreads in Oz than in Sweden. But with my blonde hair the most difference is when travelling in developing countries where the population is mainly short (I am sooo tall) and very dark haired. Think China/ Cambodia and central America. In Cambodia the devil is white and blonde, tall. Kids screamed when they saw me – nothing nice about it at all!;

I wouldn’t know!;

When I was young I was often called a slut, or a bimbo when I couldn’t have been further from both.  Now, I don’t think it makes much difference.;

Especially if I am abroad I get a lot of attention when I´m blond and my hair is long. In Sweden I hardly think any one cares. Every ones got shoulder long semi-blond hair here.;

The general feeling from all my friends was that they like the blonde better than brown (once they got use to it), a lot can’t remember me being anything else (even though some have known me longer as a brunette). With the exception of one ex-boyfriend who still doesn’t like it. But that’s because he doesn’t like to think of himself as a guy who went out with a blonde. In fact just last week he said that if I had been blonde when we met we wouldn’t have dated. Which I think is probably rubbish but interesting, he is a very nice guy and not someone I would have labelled superficial. As far as how strangers treat me I haven’t noticed a difference in peoples attitude toward me. I get more complements on my hair, but a lot of that is to do with the style I think, not just the colour;

Yes – I think people tend to see me as younger than I am, and maybe a bit ditzier

b) The way you see yourself- (how?)


I do think my hair appear thicker when dying it blonde and one can’t see the scalp as clear as when I have darker hair – I like that… noone likes looking baldy huh? Hahaha;

I am happy with my natural hair;

Not really;

I consider my self being a blonde and not turning a mousy brunette like my parents… Especially now that I´m pregnant I watch critically how my roots seem to have grown darker even though its summer;

Not really, despite how much I like my blonde I sometimes forget I am one; Yes – I feel like it makes me more distinctive and recognizable

Do you think of yourself as blonde?

I would think of myself as blond as much as I self-identify in other ways (white, middle class, heterosexual, Melburnian, tall, of Protestant descent, etc.) I don’t see blondness as a particularly pronounced part of my self-identity, except perhaps when tied in with whiteness/being a skip. But, given the choice of identifying as blond, brown-haired, black-haired, bald, etc., I would naturally think of myself as a blond. I can reword this if you need any deeper insights or choice quotes;

Not really, nothing special in Scandinavia;



Yes. See above;

I still see myself as a brunette with a blonde wig on, just like putting on a frock or a hat.;

Yes, even when I’ve had other hair colours, I’ve always thought of myself as blonde. Go figure.

What does the word blonde mean to you, and how is it different to being brunette/light brown?

A tricky one to answer, given that (A) I haven’t really thought about this before and (B) the question seems framed more for the sort of identity issues dealt with daily by women and not men (and because of men…)

I think male blondness has a whole other set of associations to female blondness – associations that are less culturally charged and demanding of careful negotiation. In some way blond men enjoy the whole hangover of 20th Century race and eugenics theory, which in Europe took the form of the Nazi Aryan ideal and in Australia lives on in the persistent myth of the beach-going, sundrenched, mentally-vacant blond(e) body beautiful (from those modernist paintings of blond(e)s with beachballs to the Bondi Vet).

I actively refuse to identify with Aussie beach-going blondness, but I’m sure I enjoy some residual cultural privilege from being a tall blond man in an Anglocentric, masculinist multicultural society. By that I mean that within the cultural category of whiteness, my blondness (along with my accent, cultural references, etc.) clearly identifies me as a ‘skip’ or an ‘Aussie’ and as ‘not a wog’, whereas darker shades of hair could place someone in another category or in an intermediary zone between such categories (more or less ‘woggy’; more or less a normative ‘Aussie’). I think (I hope!) that the importance of such bodily/racial categorisations means less and less these days, and I know among certain circles they seem to, but I won’t pretend their power has diminished entirely. In so far as people in Australia still make sub-conscious (or conscious) snap judgements based on bodily markers (and they do), white blond men would be among the most ‘normalised’ and least scrutinised members of Australian society. I imagine blonde women would enjoy similar racial privileges, but would also be subject to a whole other set of cultural projections associated with constructed gender roles.

That’s not really an answer though, is it? I could answer that I think the word ‘blonde’ suggests a whole bunch of binary ideas to do with female sexuality/availability and male desires/hypocrisy, but that’s based more on observation and cultural stereotypes than experience. There’s also the fact that we still distinguish between ‘blonde’ and ‘blond’, which points to how our understanding of blond(e)ness is split along gendered linguistic lines.

I’ll tell you one thing, though. When those scorching, sweaty-hot days arrive in summer, I look upon my blond face in the mirror and think: ‘my forebears lived for generations in a cold climate – what on earth possessed them to settle in this sweltering, God-forsaken country and condemn their progeny to such unnatural suffering?!!!’;

No big difference believe it or not. I think that all three of these define especially women in a certain (negative) way and with qualities that does not at all really go down with reality. It is all prejudiced categorisation of people and make no relevance to how people actually act or is treated. You know dumb willing blonde, contra the sensible but loving brunette or the passionate red head… geeeeeuuuuses!;

I have only had the “blonde” experience. As I have not had bleached blonde hair, I guess I haven’t had any extreme reactions from people.;

Blonde is easier for me. I am naturally blonde, and without any assistance, my hair has remained extremely fair. I have tried to colour it brown (just for something different) in recent years, however my hair does not hold colour very well, and the brown usually disappears within a few weeks. My aunt, uncle and grandmother still have blonde (yellow-not white) hair and it seems I am destined to follow in their footsteps. With lots of surfing over Summer, my hair turns almost white, and then it just makes its way back to a dirtier blonde through winter. I have never been particularly into my hair- or hairdressers, and it has lived in a ponytail for the majority of its life. Blonde is just easy, natural and low maintenance.;

The blonde thing is in Sweden a topic so often discussed that I don´t think I know what I think it means. I´m tired of jokes, tired of the Bimbo culture with super blonde hair but I still like the way I look when I´m blonde. ;

Blonde is just a colour, it’s the colour I make my hair. Its just one ellement of my outfit;

Being blonde for me is more of a state of mind –despite a lot of trying in my younger years, I’ll never be the brooding, mysterious femme fatale. I’ve always been a sunny type of person, and blonde hair suits my personality more.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s