Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning and Sexual Power of Red ê PDF/EPUB

Part history part cultural commentary part memoir The Roots of Desire is a witty and entertaining investigation into what it means to be a redheadA redhead rarely goes unnoticed in a crowded room From Judas Iscariot to Botticelli's Venus to Julianne Moore redheads have been worshipped idealized fetishized feared and condemned leaving their mark on us and our culture Such is the power of what is actually a genetic mutation and in The Roots of Desire Marion Roach takes a fascinating look at the science behind hair color and the roles redheads have played over time She discovers that in Greek mythology redheads become vampires after they die; Hitler banned intermarriage with redheads for fear of producing deviant offspring; women with red hair were burned as witches during the Inuisition; in Hollywood female redheads are considered sexy while male redheads are considered a hard sell; and in the nineteenth century it was popular belief that redheads were the strongest scented of all women smelling of amber and violets Redheads have been stereotyped marginalized sought after and made to function as everything from a political statement to a symbol of human carnality A redhead herself Roach brings candor and brilliant insight to the complicated and revealing history of redheads making this a stand out narrative and an essential tool in understanding the mechanics and phenomenon of red hair

10 thoughts on “Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning and Sexual Power of Red Hair

  1. says:

    I worked at a bookstore shortly after this book was published and it caught my eye whenever I walked past for months I only recently remembered it and decided to pick it up from the library And I have to say I'm so glad I didn't buy it back in the dayThis is one of those books that I had to force myself to finish even though I wasn't really enjoying it For me the problem wasn't how much of it was memoir for the most part I found that interesting if a bit irritating when she assumed her experiences were the same as all redheads No the problem was she's just not a very good writer There is very little structure to the book and she continually bounces back and forth between subjects It is very difficult to follow sometimesShe also has an annoying habit of making a claim or stating a fact or sharing an observation and then just moving on without bothering to go into detail Sometimes that extra detail would just be interesting but often the missing details leave her argument unsubstantiated She expects her readers to accept a lot of things at face value without critically examining them firstI thought the most interesting part was the second section about the science of red hair such as there is Her explanation of it was not the clearest but I feel like I have a decent idea of it for not being a scientist The first section was my least favourite and I think the worst about unsubstantiated claims and unstructured writing The third section was OK and probably something many redheads can relate to but it was a bit too long some of its tangents could have been cutI really like the idea of this book part memoir part science part history part sociology but I just wish it had been executed better

  2. says:

    As a redhead the concept of this book at least the concept suggested by its cover was exciting I looked forward to tracing the history of red hair and learning about ancient perceptions folklore and redheads of yesteryear While the book presents some of this I perceived the bulk of its narrative as a writer's desire to reaffirm her self worth for being a redhead I believe the vast majority of people who'd be interested in reading this book are redheads and personally as a redhead you don't need to describe how awesome being a redhead is I know This is a memoir about a redhead exploring her redheadness than a cultural sociological or historical adventure into the bigger picture of redheads as a group As I mentioned the book did explore some ancient perceptions folklore and redheads of yesteryear These jaunts were the most interesting part of the book and I walked away with a few trivia tidbits I had been hoping for For example I had never before heard of Boudica who has uite the violent history However even these breaks from personal narrative were often dry humorless and disjunctiveAt first I wanted to love this book After the first section I wanted to give it up and move on but I wouldn't allow myself Now I am glad I read but pleased it is over

  3. says:

    I didn't dislike every aspect of this book Some of the mythological information was pretty interesting But the same details were often repeated over and over It seemed like she was clinging to straws trying to make her point with the same small bits of informationThis book is memoir than scientificmythological investigation Roach constantly observes how her personal journey is inextricably bound with her search for the meaning cause and genetic usefulness of red hair Toward the end she really focuses on the importance of knowing she's a redhead and describes the changing appearance of her hair over time as well as the various responses to her hair A lot of this information seemed useless to me especially when she started going into her great great grandfather who was a riggerwhat? She obviously wanted to write a memoir and I think she should have just done that through the red lens that she so cleverly whips out in the first chapter The attempts to veil her personal story with snippets about science and whatnot just made it hard to follow as a cohesive narrative

  4. says:

    This was a great story about a woman's search for finding ou who she is As a redhead I can tell you much of what she reveals are thoughts I've had myself When I was in high school I went on a field trip to France On the Metro a woman dressed in what I'll describe as gypsy attire started at me glaring I turned to a friend and said What's her problem? My friend explained that in some religions redheads were seen as witches I was shocked My Grampa always called me Little Red then Big Red when I was older Marion Roach's search for learning about her red hair and in turn her family was one I can relate to I really liked this book It was a fun read

  5. says:

    I am thinking of changing my license plate to MC1R No jokeAnyone who knows me knows that the first way I identify myself to others in writing as a human being on this earth is by my hair color I'm a redhead a ginger a strawberry blonde and while my hair color has faded with the years to a dull version of its gingery self I am embedded with the strands of my flame colored identity This book by my sister redhead Marion Roach should be called The Redhead Bible In it she endeavors to answer the uestions Why are redheads the subject of superstition why are they associated with sexuality and feelings of distrust and why do so many redheads identify themselves by their hair color as if color is identity I suppose though in some respects most identity boils down to colors in some shade or another I found myself riveted by her journey but I also felt like she left a chapter out the chapter that clarifies why redheaded women are simlutaneously held in the views of some people as both the apex of sexuality and sexual desirability as well as a the pinnacle of UNdesirability How is it that is what is the connection between being both coveted and repulsive to people? I'm not talking about the connections she does lay out plainly between virtually every early painting of Eve Lilith Mary Magdalene Cassandra Persephone and any other cadre of femme fatales in myth and history being that of a redheaded woman thus branding her as an object of revile she is wanton and an object of desire again she is wanton I'm talking about how these two things often exist at the same time in the same person where does that come from? How is it for instance that just as many paintings of angels and cherubim are redheaded? How is it that the most coveted child models are the redheaded models? How can we represent both perfect virginity angels and perfect harlots Jezebels to pluralize the woman's name? I think you can tell by my uestions just how engaging I found this book I hope EVERY REDHEAD OR GINGER WHO READS THIS REVIEW goes onto read the book We all should Maybe too the people that love us or revile us I loved it Utterly I'm just hoping MC1R for a license plate in my state isn't taken yet

  6. says:

    Are you a redhead? Know one? Love one? Loathe one? You will enjoy this book The author a fellow redhead is a bit self indulgent but that's like my pot calling her kettle black It's not as if I've gone out of my way to read a book about blondes lately ever actuallyRoach gives the reader insight into not just red hair but the color red itself and what it symbolizes and how that shapes a redhead's identity and how others identify us consciously or notThen there's the science 4% of the population allele's Mendelian genetics and mice In the long run it may be important than the witchery lasciviousness and unfettered morality we've been accused of but not nearly as much fun to readSkip this work if you are not or do not care about redheads The interesting of you out there should definitely pick a copy up

  7. says:

    A fascinating book Being of the crimson hued myself I particularly enjoyed discovering where so many of the myths and perceptions that still hold true today stemmed from originallyI also sympathize with the author in that after learning to embrace being a bloodnut it is somewhat dismaying to suddenly realize it is slowly fading and becoming a slightly muted form of how I usually see myself I had blood red hair as a child and then flame red in my teens then a golden red in my 20’s and now I have people say my hair is either brown or strawberry blond or some colour in between I have noticed it all depends on the light I am in Sunlight brings out the gold; indoor lowlight brings out the darker reds I loved that this book examined not only the myths and the element of magic associated with red hair but also delved into the science behind it Very enjoyable read

  8. says:

    I just finished this about red hair and enjoyed the second part about genetics but the first part was just too strange for me Someone kept telling her that she was a witch because she has red hair and I never heard that before in my life but she seems to think it is common knowledge There was other very strange lore and I don't agree with any of it I did wish to visit Edinburgh to see all the redheads as they are so rare these days I am not one except for a short time around 4th grade when my hair went slightly strawberry I was surprised to learn that red hair fades out I guess this may happen to all hair colorsRedheads need anesthesia than others so this was a good fact they have now learned The bit about them being descended from Neanderthals is totally wrong Some reporter got it wrong as usual

  9. says:

    At times this book seemed long winded and too detailed But after reading another book that was very weak I appreciate the attention to detail I had hoped for some fun information I did enjoy the discussion with the graphic artist and how they see redheads The redhead is always the bad ass

  10. says:

    It wasn't what I expected or wanted it to be This was very rambling It reminded me of someone who liked to hear themselves talk Meh I had been looking forward to this and even ordered it from another library