Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Expat issues a: Please Explain

Wow what a day in Australian history. Last night we went to bed wondering if Australia would be in or out of the World Cup and whether Kevin Rudd would be in or out of Australia's top job. Turns out both scenarios ended disappointingly for the players in question. The Socceroos fought the good fight and came away with a hard earned win, but alas it wasn't enough to keep them in the tournament. The end of Kevin Rudd's term as Australia's Prime Minister became fait acompli in the wee small hours of the morning and he gracefully stepped aside in the caucus room later in the day, handing the reigns to his deputy, Julia Gillard.

In a sporting mad country like Australia, you would have expected such a valiant effort by the national soccer team to have been all over the media. It would have been if it weren't for the political upheaval that was happening simultaneously. So needless to say, soccer took the back seat to politics and all day the media ran around telling us about Australia's first female Prime Minister. An exciting story, certainly, but curiously, the biggest thing I took from today's proceedings was this: there is some stigma attached to being a Redhead in Australia. As an expat, my understanding of Aussie culture is constantly evolving and even after 10 years of living in the thick of it, quirky little things like this pop us and make me question if I even know go from whoa.

So to the Aussies out there, can someone please explain to me why terms such as "Ranga" (short for orangutan as I understand it), "Ginga Ninja", and "Bloodnut" are being tossed around to describe the newly minted Aussie PM. Why is it such a crime to be a redhead in Australia? Isn't it just a hair colour?


Lisa in Oz said...

I know, right?!? I asked Ben last night why anyone cared what color her hair was, and he just shrugged and couldn't explain it (he doesn't personally care one way or the other, but the whole omg-she's-a-ranga thing didn't surprise him).

Talking to a British friend of mine, it seems that redheads aren't generally favorably viewed in England either. Weird!

Laine Moore said...

I'm not Australian but I was long ago initiated into this because my (Ozzy) husband's best friend is a red head. So I've heard all the slang. I reckon that it's just another thing to joke/talk about that they like to pick on. I personally think it's because they don't like the uniqueness of the redheads so they choose to make fun instead.... but that's the psychology in me talking.

Laine Moore said...

lol just saw this and had to post it.