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Blond or fair hair is a 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. Because hair color tends to darken with age, natural blond hair is generally rare in adulthood. Naturally-occurring blond hair is primarily found in populations of northern European descent and is believed to have evolved to enable more efficient synthesis of vitamin D , due to northern Europe's lower levels of sunlight.
Last Sunday at brunch an Asian woman with platinum blonde hair walked past me and stopped me dead in my tracks. I quickly turned to my left and my right to see if anyone else had been struck by her idiosyncrasy. Unfortunately that was the first and last time I saw her, she lives as a fragment of a memory in my mind, and this blog post is my attempt to get her out of my head and onto a screen so I can see, and possibly, show my hairdresser.
Illustration by Dorothy Windham. A couple of weeks ago, Kim Kardashian bleached her hair blonde—again. In fact, what used to be reserved for only the most adventurous of spiky-haired soccer players now adorns the heads of college kids, Tumblr users, and many others—as long as they can afford the many hours and dollars at the salon. Most of these platinum blonde celebrities are white. Her story, and hair, provide an interesting lens through which to understand how East Asian-Americans must present themselves to succeed in the face of cultural and social marginalization.