Over at The Daily Beast, Alison Prato has written a column on“Breakout Blondes,” which asserts that there is some sort of tow-headed backlash against the dumb blonde stereotype going on in pop culture. Prato gave a number of examples of successful blonde women, from Taylor Swift to Dakota Fanning to Agyness Deyn (the range is astounding isn’t it?), maintaining that after a dark reign in which brunettes like Angelina Jolie ruled our collective imaginations, the fair-haired contingent was back and better than ever. There’s a multitude of reasons why this “article” rubbed me the wrong way, but I’ll just address two.For one thing, none of the uber-blones Prato describes are necessarily known for their burning intellect, with the possible exception of Dakota Fanning, who seems articulate enough in interviews and has an advanced vocabulary that’s sort of creepy for a kid her age. One could say that the women referred to in the piece must be clever to some degree by virtue of the fact that they’ve reached the upper echelons of success in their various fields, but you could just as easily attribute their success to a combination of genetic luck and good timing. I mean, the photo gallery includes Kristin Cavalleri – need I say more?
Sure, this list deals exclusively with women in entertainment, but that it would have been better off including females — like The Daily Beast’s own editrix Tina Brown or, you know, Hillary Clinton — who display a more substantial and cerebral set of talents. The idea that any of these women stand in stark contrast to the “dumb blonde” stereotype is completely insane, and if we’re measuring intelligence purely on the basis of professional success, there’s no way this is a new trend. In fact, plenty of women have capitalized on the dumb blonde party line to get ahead in the world. Marilyn Monroe’s entire career was based on this. And, hate to say it, but so is Paris Hilton’s.
The biggest issue I have with this article’s shaky logic is the idea that hair color is a factor worth acknowledging when discussing powerful or successful women. I mean, isn’t the dumb blonde stereotype kind of antiquated? Why does anyone feel the need to rally against it and provide examples of the blondes who are proving it wrong? And seriously, when’s the last time a guy’s hair was considered a valid topic of discussion when contemplating his success or his place in the pop culture? Buzz in the blogosphere over the dirtiness of Robert Pattinson’s mop does not count.