Historical story

When did the blondes go dumb?

Contrary to appearances, the popular belief that blondes are less intelligent than other women does not have a particularly long history. It is in vain to be found in the Middle Ages or the era of witch hunts. It appeared along with ... technical and civilization progress.

According to Juliet Lapidos, a columnist for the American magazine "Slate", blondes "stupid" only in the second half of the nineteenth century and it was a cultural phenomenon created - and how - by the Anglo-Saxons. According to the journalist, it all began in 1868, when a British comedy troupe staged a parody of the Greek myth about king IX at the Wood's Museum in New York.

The show quickly became a sensation, and the characters of the four blondes parading in pantyhose outraged the moralists. The press rumored that the girls were talents admired only for their bodies. Four actresses began to be called "British blondes".

King Xxjon in a 17th-century painting by José Ribery. It was the theatrical parody of the myth about the man who first murdered his relative that gave rise to another myth - a stupid blonde.

This was probably the beginning of the related but more offensive term "dizzy blondes", where "dizzy" meant a naive or simply stupid woman. It was a word referring to the spicy stage performances popularized by the British, but also simply to "professional" beauties. By the end of the century, the term was already so popular in the US that the press used it without explaining the meaning.

A model representative of the "genre" dizzy blondes.

It took another 30 years for the "stupid blonde" to appear in the movie. Probably the first such heroine was the fictional Lorelei Lee from the novel "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (Men Prefer Blondes), which was first transferred to Broadway and then twice to the screens.

Lorelei was a paid lady for the company of a wealthy man. As a woman of faith that "diamonds are a girl's best friend" she was perhaps more vain than stupid, but she undoubtedly coped with her looks.

When she was played by Marilyn Monroe in 1953, the case was sealed once and for all:blondes began to be perceived as women who liked to have fun, not very intelligent and freely approaching life. Then it went downhill.

A poster for the movie "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (Men prefer blondes) from 1928. It was he who solidified the myth of a stupid blonde (source:public domain).

Of course, this is only one of the interpretations - there are many scientists who believe that the phrase about light hair color has entered our consciousness much deeper. One thing is certain, however:before the nineteenth century, no one called blondes as such stupid.


  • Slate