Blondes- to dye or not to dye? & women's wear, women's safety etc

Reply
#1 Nov 20th, 2007, 23:18
Join Date:
Oct 2007
Location:
East Anglia
Posts:
26
  • Onecuponly is offline
#1
Ok... yes yes I know another 'women safe in India' question.

I'm generally not worried about my trip to India. I've done my research and although I'm sure it will be challenging at times, I'm not travelling alone and consider myself quite capable of coping with most situations- thanks IM for all the info picked up from this lovely website.

However, I've been given so much conflicting advice over my hair colour that I am just downright confused:
I had already resolved not to dye my hair. After all, I'm still a white girl, so I'll be hassled anyway. But speaking to a friend of my parents (a Gujurati ex-pat) and a couple of friends who have already visited the sub-continent, they are all adament that it would be a terrible idea to go without dyeing it.

To my further horror, I picked up my new Footprint guide to India on Saturday to find that they recommended dyeing a darker colour too!

Blimey. Is it really going to be that bad??


[P.S. Mr. Moderator, I hope this thread is ok here, I didn't want to post in Health and Wellbeing as I don't consider hair colour a matter of life and death!]
Last edited by machadinha; Dec 4th, 2007 at 08:37.. Reason: adjusted title
#2 Nov 20th, 2007, 23:29
Join Date:
Apr 2007
Location:
Aotearoa
Posts:
2,771
  • brownboy66 is offline
#2
I would have thought that being advised to dye your hair was a bit on the extreme side. True - being blonde here does tend to stand out but as you say - you are going to be looked at one way or another and if you are unfortunate enough to get harassed, I doubt that being a brunette will prevent that.

good luck.
#3 Nov 20th, 2007, 23:30
Join Date:
Mar 2007
Location:
Brooklyn, via New Orleans
Posts:
1,068
  • the opoponax is offline
#3
I think the real question is whether this is a personal safety issue, or more of a convenience thing.

The bottom line is that it's perfectly safe to be blond in India. Go to flickr.com and search around for Western backpackers' India snaps. Plenty of blond people. They all seem to be smiling and happy in the photos, and obviously got back intact enough to scan them into flickr. I can only assume that being a blond in India is perfectly safe.

But will you be hassled a little bit more? Maybe. Will you get a little more unwanted attention than a brunet? Possibly. If it's a matter of convenience, sure, dye your hair if you want, why not. But I don't think it would keep you physically safe, or that you wouldn't be perfectly safe in India with blond hair.
#4 Nov 20th, 2007, 23:31
Join Date:
Mar 2007
Location:
Switzerland; at the moment in Thailand
Posts:
2,489
  • atala is online now
#4
I checked to see if you give your age in your profile. I think that is what might matter in your case. If you were a child, you would definitely be touched a lot. In your late teens, hmmm, you attract a lot of young folks anway, but noone would touch you normally. No idea how that works for you. What type of blonde is your hair? The bleached type, or a little bit darkish?
If you are okay with getting a lot of looks, why bother?
#5 Nov 20th, 2007, 23:33
Join Date:
Mar 2005
Location:
the India inside my heart
Posts:
9,195
  • Sama is offline
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onecuponly View Post [P.S. Mr. Moderator, I hope this thread is ok here, I didn't want to post in Health and Wellbeing as I don't consider hair colour a matter of life and death!]
first, there are two women moderators here, me and Sita, and believe me, we're the muscle on this mod team.

second, I think the advice is ridiculous. if you're going to get hassled, you're going to get hassled whether your hair is blond, brown, red or green with purple streaks.

frankly, all this advice to solo women travelers to India that perpetuates and plays on FEAR is really beginning to annoy me.
My India Photos 2005-2014
"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us." - Charles Bukowski
#6 Nov 20th, 2007, 23:38
Join Date:
Mar 2007
Location:
Brooklyn, via New Orleans
Posts:
1,068
  • the opoponax is offline
#6
That said, though, this does provide the perfect opener for me to ask a somewhat similar question:

Right now, I have a really high maintenance haircut which has got to change before I leave for India (not bringing a hair dryer, don't feel like lugging more than 2 hair products across the Subcontinent). What's the Indian reaction to a young woman with very short hair? I know Indians have seen pretty much everything, and I'm not gonna get run out of town or anything like that. I'm mainly just curious. I see a lot of very little girls with short hair, but other women seem to keep theirs long as a rule.
#7 Nov 20th, 2007, 23:39
Join Date:
Mar 2007
Location:
Switzerland; at the moment in Thailand
Posts:
2,489
  • atala is online now
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by YogaGal View Post frankly, all this advice to solo women travelers to India that perpetuates and plays on FEAR is really beginning to annoy me.

My perception is that there is a lot of Indian reality denial among mods here.
#8 Nov 20th, 2007, 23:44
Join Date:
Mar 2005
Location:
the India inside my heart
Posts:
9,195
  • Sama is offline
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by atala View Post My perception is that there is a lot of Indian reality denial among mods here.
what is the "Indian reality" to you? that Indians are just waiting to hassle young, blond women like the OP?

thank god for that, because I guess I have nothing to worry about then when I'm there for my third trip -- alone. WHEW! I'm not blond and I'm certainly not young so I'm safe!

I'm a woman who travels solo to India and while I've had my ups and downs during my first two trips, I certainly don't believe in living my life in fear waiting for the Indian boogieman to jump out from behind a building.

telling a woman to dye her hair just to go to India is ludicrous and perpetuates stereotypes.
Last edited by Sama; Nov 21st, 2007 at 04:16..
#9 Nov 20th, 2007, 23:46
Join Date:
May 2007
Location:
New Delhi, India
Posts:
7,682
  • shashank.aggarwal is offline
#9
No one will care about your hair...you already are center of attraction if you are white or black (Non Indian Skin Tone), and people are used to see weired things on foreigners...

Infact most of us expect a white person to have Blonde hair...black hair might surprise many as why you do not have golden hair...

Quote:
Originally Posted by atala View Post My perception is that there is a lot of Indian reality denial among mods here.
Atala, I believe that you have a extremely negative outlook about the things here. maybe it is because of some bad experience, or wrong advise, but trust me things are not as bad as your posts seem to make them out to be !!
Food Enthusiasts of Delhi

Follow us on Facebook for latest Updates -> Eatlo

Travelogue - Around India
#10 Nov 21st, 2007, 00:07
Join Date:
Sep 2004
Location:
Hollywood/Bangalore/Kochi
Posts:
5,030
  • crvlvr is offline
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onecuponly To my further horror, I picked up my new Footprint guide to India on Saturday to find that they recommended dyeing a darker colour too!
Please forget all that you have read in your guide books, and start all over here at IM.
#11 Nov 21st, 2007, 00:14
Join Date:
Jan 2005
Location:
yörp
Posts:
21,997
  • machadinha is offline
#11
Atala, it may please you to know, and I've said all this often before, that the people whose enthusiastic stories on their return from a several-month trip got me inspired to go and have a look for myself in the first place, were three young white women (one of them blonde as hell, btw. She later returned to work in Delhi for several months. Had its ups and downs, like anywhere else. I stayed with her for a bit there. The three of them did a lot more traveling there and elsewhere in the wider region, Pakistan and Tajikistan and other such "dangerous" places, in pairs or in groups or solo. One of them still works as a travel guide, in that region and in Africa. Seems to be happy with it. Has a lot of individual responsibilities to take care of on her own in the field.)

And I have traveled with many such women (and men) who one tends to meet on the way and hook up with for a while. I remember seeing one off on what was finally going to be her solo adventure, after she had arrived with her family and we had traveled together for a while, with the caution to be wary of her fellow male backpackers before any Indian men. When I happily met her again months later, she told me that was the best piece of advice she'd been given.

So -- you are of course entitled to your own experiences. But these are mine, and I believe all that members do here is share theirs to all together fill in a certain picture, so that others can hopefully make up their minds as to what is their personal comfort zone and preferred mode of travel.

To the OP: Yes, I know women who dye their hair when going in that general direction. You need to remember you'll be at the center of attention no matter what you do, but it may (or may not) help just a bit. Up to you. The aforementioned blonde friend tried it and found it didn't matter one iota.
#12 Nov 21st, 2007, 00:19
Join Date:
Oct 2004
Location:
Chennai, India
Posts:
57,113
  • Nick-H is offline
#12
And trust me that some of us mods who live here --- both the born-Indian ones and the non-native one are not in the least in denial about the negative aspects of our country!

I think that a blonde woman being made to feel that she has to die her hair before she comes to India is ridiculous, and perhaps says more about those who gave the advice than it does about the reality on the ground. NRIs can be among the most negative about the country they once came from.

Not going to say you won't be stared at. Walk down my street and I'll stare at you! You'll stand out, be different, whatever, us humans are like that (err... ok, us men are )

Come here with reasonable caution, with fairly modest dress, but just don't mind that people will look at you.

Don't come here full of fear: there is no need.
#13 Nov 21st, 2007, 00:35
Join Date:
Mar 2005
Location:
the India inside my heart
Posts:
9,195
  • Sama is offline
#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by crvlvr View Post Please forget all that you have read in your guide books, and start all over here at IM.
that makes the most sense!
#14 Nov 21st, 2007, 01:22
Join Date:
Jan 2007
Location:
Bardez/Mumbai/New Jersey (USA)
Posts:
768
  • pontesnm is offline
#14
By the way my wife is blonde and I am Indian. Never did she or I consider changing the color of her hair. Usually one gets attention when one stands out because of differences. My sister (Indian) is 5' 11" and got a lot of attention in her teens because of her height in Mumbai. She was happy to live in the US because her height drew less attention!
Blonde women may get more attention but not all of it may necessarily be unwelcome. It is also possible that more people may come to your assistance - touts and wellwishers alike. Thus I am unlikely to go a strange solo Indian woman traveler in India and ask her if she needed assistance or had any questions (culturally inappropriate), but I am more likely to do so if the person was obviously foreign (which would include being blonde).
#15 Nov 21st, 2007, 01:33
Join Date:
Oct 2007
Location:
East Anglia
Posts:
26
  • Onecuponly is offline
#15
Hahaa, thankyou so much everyone your responses, they really made me smile

Quote:
First, there are two women moderators here, me and Sita, and believe me, we're the muscle on this mod team.
Oops my mistake YogaGal! Of course I should have recognised sooner that a website of such high calibre could not be govourned on testosterone alone. My apologies!

Atala- my hair is umm.. kinda golden blonde I guess... will that really make a difference?

Quote:
telling a woman to dye her hair just to go to India is ludicrous and perpetuates stereotypes.
Quote:
The aforementioned blonde friend tried it and found it didn't matter one iota.
Quote:
if you're going to get hassled, you're going to get hassled whether your hair is blond, brown, red or green with purple streaks.
Quote:
being blonde here does tend to stand out but as you say - you are going to be looked at one way or another and if you are unfortunate enough to get harassed, I doubt that being a brunette will prevent that.
...Just what I was thinking. Well that settles it then. Blonde I shall stay!
Reply


Posting Rules

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Forum Rules»
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2
© IndiaMike.com 2014
Page Load Success