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Perception of hair color in Poland

jotunn 1 | 3
20 Jan 2019 #1
I used to work with in Iceland a Polish woman, and she kept calling low-saturation blondes (aka ash blonde) "brĂșn" - Icelandic word for "brown", or German word for the "Icelandic race". It was really a creepy matter, because she was calling people by their pseudoscience race, and apparently it was not intended.

Now I'm quite concerned. From my experience, almost all Poles are brown-eyed blondes - and people around say that the most popular hair color is brown.

And that was not enough - every hair color, except black, they'll call "the typical Slavic hair". Whether it'S blonde, brown, whatever the shade is. They'll argue that Scandinavians have more "colder colors". Which I wouldn't agree, because Scandinavians actually have some reddish shades due to Keltic admixture.

So, why that? Is there some sort of "colorblindness gene" in Polish DNA?
mafketis 35 | 11,479
20 Jan 2019 #2
It has nothing to do with Polish DNA and everything to do with the fact that different languages (and cultural groups) categorize the 'same' or 'different' colors differently.

Most Poles are not really blondes, brunettes (by my US typology) are far more common. There are some traditional negative connotations for redheads (rudy/ruda) and also some toward blondes (more modern). Sometimes people with dark brown hair might have the nickname czarny/czarna (black).
OP jotunn 1 | 3
20 Jan 2019 #3

@mafketis about the hair colors

hmm, guess I was in some blonde enclave then. Northwest Poland, makes sense.

But still, with what you've said, hair color seems like some sort of racial identity in Poland. Like skin color in America...
wondering, do they judge foreigners (aka, African, Asian) by their hair color too?
Spike31 3 | 2,175
20 Jan 2019 #4
I don't think a foreigners, especially those from outside of Europe, are judged by their hair color in Poland. Since there's not many of them in Poland, especially those of a different race, they are just named by a part of the world they came from. And it has nothing to do with Germanic race typology, like you've mentioned before.

From my experience, almost all Poles are brown-eyed blondes - and people around say that the most popular hair color is brown.

In where I come from (NE Poland) majority of people have blue eyes and brown hair, blondes are not uncommon but redheads and brunettes are rare. That's too bad cause I like Celtic redheads :-)
Miloslaw 15 | 4,804
20 Jan 2019 #5
Most of my family are blue eyed and either fair haired or blond.
Some brown eyes and brown hair too.
I think Poles look at redheads as something unusual.
I have a red haired friend with freckles and pale skin called Kucharski.
He feels his ancestor was a Scottish cook on a trading ship to Poland,probably Gdansk.
Rich Mazur 4 | 3,138
20 Jan 2019 #6
Life is not fair. Women look fine when they color their hair. Men look like wax museum exhibits.
jon357 71 | 20,789
21 Jan 2019 #7
Often yes, though it depends how skilfully you do it ;-)
mafketis 35 | 11,479
21 Jan 2019 #8
Women look fine when they color their hair

You were obviously not in Poland in the early 90s when many young women completely devastated their hair with multiple dye jobs (so you have a pleasant looking young woman in her early 20s or so with frazzled out lifeless old-lady hair..... brrrrrr
jon357 71 | 20,789
21 Jan 2019 #9
multiple dye jobs

They were everywhere in PL at that time, a post-PRL version of the standard 'biurwa' henna rinse.. A few years later I was working at L'Oreal in Warsaw; by that time they were producing more garish colours for Russia etc and more subtle ones for Poland. Not everyone bought those premium brands though, and you do still see some real sights for sore eyes.
Czarne - | 4
21 Jan 2019 #10
I was born in the United States and have never visited Poland, however, my Polish family including my mother are almost entirely blond haired and blue or grey eyed. I have dark blond hair and light brown mixed/hazel eyes.
Lyzko 37 | 8,691
22 Jan 2019 #11
Fairly typical, I should think. When in Poland, I observed how much I stood out from the crowd, even in a medium to large city!

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