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Emergent Preparatory Group

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Blond (male) or blonde (female), also referred to as fair hair, is a human hair color characterized by low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin. The resultant visible hue depends on various factors, but always has some yellowish color. The color can be from the very pale blond (caused by a patchy, scarce distribution of pigment) to reddish "strawberry" blond or golden-brownish ("sandy") blond colors (the latter with more eumelanin). Occasionally, the state of being blond, and specifically the occurrence of blond traits in a predominantly dark or colored population are referred to as blondism.[1]

In Western culture, blonde hair has long been associated with beauty and vitality. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, was described as having blonde hair. In ancient Greece and Rome, blonde hair was frequently associated with prostitutes, who dyed their hair using saffron dyes in order to attract customers. The Greeks stereotyped Thracians and slaves as blond and the Romans associated blondness with the Celts and the Germans to the north. In the ancient Greek world, Homer's Iliad presented Achilles as what was then the ideal male warrior: handsome, tall, strong, and blond.[2] In western Europe during the Middle Ages, long, blonde hair was idealized as the paragon of female beauty. The Norse goddess Sif and the medieval heroine Iseult were both significantly portrayed as blonde and, in medieval artwork, Eve, Mary Magdalene, and the Virgin Mary are often shown with blonde hair. In contemporary Western culture, blonde women are often negatively stereotyped as beautiful, but unintelligent.

The word blond has two possible origins. Some linguists[who?] say it comes from Medieval Latin blundus, meaning 'yellow', from Old Frankish blund which would relate it to Old English blonden-feax meaning 'grey-haired', from blondan/blandan meaning 'to mix' (compare: blend).[citation needed] Also, Old English beblonden meant 'dyed', as ancient Germanic warriors were noted for dyeing their hair. However, linguists who favor a Latin origin for the word say that Medieval Latin blundus was a vulgar pronunciation of Latin flavus, also meaning 'yellow'. Most authorities, especially French, attest to the Frankish origin. The word was reintroduced into English in the 17th century from French, and was for some time considered French; in French, blonde is a feminine adjective; it describes a woman with blond hair.[5]

Blond, with its continued gender-varied usage, is one of few adjectives in written English to retain separate lexical genders. The two forms, however, are pronounced identically. American Heritage's Book of English Usage propounds that, insofar as "a blonde" can be used to describe a woman but not a man who is merely said to possess blond(e) hair, the term is an example of a "sexist stereotype [whereby] women are primarily defined by their physical characteristics."[6] The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) records that the phrase "big blond beast" was used in the 20th-century to refer specifically to men "of the Nordic type" (that is to say, blond-haired).[7] The OED also records that blond as an adjective is especially used with reference to women, in which case it is likely to be spelt blonde, citing three Victorian usages of the term. The masculine version is used in the plural, in "blonds of the European race",[7] in a citation from 1833 Penny cyclopedia, which distinguishes genuine blondness as a Caucasian feature distinct from albinism.[8]

By the early 1990s, blonde moment or being a dumb blonde had come into common parlance to mean "an instance of a person, esp. a woman... being foolish or scatter-brained."[9] Another hair color word of French origin, brunette (from the same Germanic root that gave brown), functions in the same way in orthodox English. The OED gives brunet as meaning 'dark-complexioned' or a 'dark-complexioned person', citing a comparative usage of brunet and blond to Thomas Henry Huxl


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