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Marilyn Monroe is considered a blonde sex bomb (1961)

A blonde is a woman with blonde hair . Throughout the ages, blonde women always corresponded to a particular ideal of beauty . There are numerous stereotypes of blond haired people in the cultures of the western world .


The old French word comes from a medieval Latin blundus , presumably to a not occupied Germanic back word as the old English expression blondenfeax suggests "gray-haired" for. At about 1700, the words were blond , blonde from the French (blonde, blonde) taken into German. However, Goethe still used it in the sense of albino . The word blondin fell out of use after 1914.

Cultural history

Blonde women corresponded to a particular ideal of beauty over the ages . Associations with blond women are also subject to a change in cultural history. In the present, the term is sometimes used in a pejorative way (jokes that are stereotypically based on the allegedly limited intelligence of blondes are common as so-called "blondie jokes" in the German-speaking world). The reasons for this are primarily (social) psychological and ethological , but also of a cultural-historical nature, with the history of film and, later, of electronic media, in particular, providing decisive clues for modernity. At the same time, these media have contributed to the popularization of blonde types around the world.


Burial chamber of Nebseni: woman with a blonde wig at the banquet (New Kingdom, 14th century BC)
Reconstruction of a statue of the goddess Artemis from Pompeii with ancient polychromy (2015)

The particular appreciation of blondes is not a modern phenomenon, because the ancient Egyptians already had this ideal of beauty, especially among women of higher rank. In ancient Egypt, blonde hair was fascinating because the predominant hair color was black. But there were also people with blond hair among the ancient Egyptians. They did not come from the Nile Delta, but presumably from the area of ​​the Caucasus.

In North Africa there were even legendary blond peoples, such as the Garamanten of southern Libya, probably Berbers , who, as paleoanthropology and genetic research have shown, had migrated back from Europe as a people and brought back genetic traits for blond hair from there, just like the ancestors of the Tuareg and the Guanches , who are believed to have come from Europe as well and probably belonged to the Cro-Magnon people .

Even the ancient Egyptians used means and techniques for coloring hair. Both one's own hair and wigs were dyed blue, green, but also blonde and red-blonde. Gold dust was used to achieve blonde shades. In ancient times, hair was often considered to be the most beautiful ornament for both women and men. Therefore a lot of effort was made with this. Nefertiti , the wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten , had a great passion for wigs and owned a whole collection.

For the Greeks , blond was considered the "divine hair color". The Greeks depicted their gods with blond hair, as evidenced by remnants of paint and remnants of gold on Greek statues that were not as white as you see them in museums today, but as brightly painted as the temples. Similar temples can be found in Egypt, where such paintings are partly preserved to this day because of the desert climate. B. Abydos at the temple of Ramses II. Or Sethos I. The mythological Helena , who was considered the most beautiful woman in the world, was blonde. It was the subject of dispute that led to the outbreak of the Trojan War .

On their campaigns, the Romans stole their light braids from northern European women or bought their hair and made wigs from it. This is why the verses appear in Ovid's “love poems”:

You will now fetch trapped hair far away from Germania, A subjugated people now lend you cover and jewelry"

The Roman women began to dye their hair blonde or have blonde wigs made. On the other hand, prostitutes were called coma flava (“blonde hair”), referring to the same blonde wigs that they often wore as professional equipment .

middle Ages

Annunciation ( Fra Angelico , around 1430)

The feminine ideal of beauty in the Middle Ages was characterized by light blonde curls, blue, radiant eyes, white skin, pink cheeks and a rather small, red mouth. This ideal of beauty was also reflected in art . The medieval painting were accordingly Mary and other saints not only dressed in the respective prevailing fashion, but were also phenotypically the Nordic, sometimes including the blond type, and not the Mediterranean-Semitic. Accordingly, especially in the High and Late Middle Ages , those depicted on frescoes , altarpieces and devotional pictures often also have blonde or reddish-blonde hair (for example by Giotto di Bondone , Simone Martini , Guariento di Arpo , Stefan Lochner , Jan van Eyck or Martin Schongauer ).

Modern times

Lady with a unicorn ( Raphael , 1483–1520; Renaissance)
The birth of Venus ( Sandro Botticelli , around 1486; detailed view)
Undine (John William Waterhouse, 1872; a typical Pre-Raphaelite picture)
Germania (Friedrich August von Kaulbach, 1914)

In modern times , as numerous relevant paintings show, the blonde ideal of beauty is found in women, especially in the Renaissance and Baroque periods (there also in the white powdered allonge wigs of men). It is possible that the ideals of beauty played a certain role in the Renaissance, which was oriented towards antiquity, because the Madonnas and, above all, Botticelli 's mythological female figures are almost all blond. While Botticelli was painting the blonde Venus around 1485 , women in Venice wore half-open hats so that the sun could bleach their hair. Herbal essences or even pigeon manure and horse urine were other aids.

As early as the Romantic period , triggered not least by the anti-Napoleonic wars of liberation at the beginning of the 19th century, intense German nationalism set in, in which people began to explore and idealize their own early history more and more. An example of the veneration of the blond woman type of this time is the Loreley , to whom Heinrich Heine dedicated a famous poem.

"[...] The most beautiful virgin sits
wonderfully up there,
her golden jewelry sparkles,
she combs her golden hair."

The national allegory Germania also embodies the blonde woman type. The Germania pictures, which were frequently produced in the second half of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, had little in common with the gentle female figures of the Romantic era or the Pre-Raphaelites apart from the painting techniques. Inevitably, there was a kind of ahistorical Germanic glorification with a strongly idealizing trend, an emotional and national mood that Otto von Bismarck and others later knew how to use when the German Empire was founded in Versailles in 1871. Blond and Germanism thus also became the guiding symbols of this belated German nation-building . Ferdinand Lassalle also raved about a blonde . He was in love with a countess, to whom he promised to make her the "golden curly president" of the German Republic. In old German student songs, too, blonde girls are sung about with love and awe. B. in the song O wonnevolle Jugendzeit mit Freuden ohne Ende by Otto Kamp , which is about the blonde “ filia hospitalis ”, but also in the song Gold und Silber . Blond is also the unfaithful "beautiful miller", as Franz Schubert sang about her after verses by Wilhelm Müller .

20th century

In National Socialist Germany with its associated German cult, the hair color blond was considered a desired characteristic of a so-called “ master race ”. In relation to women, the blonde seductress type was rather ignored and concentrated on the “dignified domestic wife and mother”.

47% percent of all cover photos of the US magazine " Playboy " show blondes, 70% of American porn actresses are blond. Psychologists suspect that in the eyes of certain population groups the blonde hair color has a certain attractiveness, because blonde is a hair color that is common in children and the blonde woman thus corresponds to the child pattern . On the other hand, the attractiveness of the blonde hair color is attributed to its rare occurrence. The proportion of blondes in the world population is only around two percent. However, in the northern countries of Europe, the number of blonde people is predominant.


  • Blond! Blondes preferred. Documentary, director: Annette Plomin, NDR . Germany 2001.
  • The color blonde - cultural history of a hair color. Documentary, director: Albert Knechtel, Arte . Germany 2006.
  • Blondes preferred - The great sex symbols of the 20th century. Documentary, ZDF history . Germany 2012.


  • Ingelore Ebberfeld : Blondes preferred: How women seduce men. A cultural history of female courtship behavior. Westend, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-938060-18-6 .
  • Anja Heusel: Prefer blondes? The myth of blonde hair and its significance for cosmetic practice (= fashion and aesthetics. Volume 5). dbv Deutscher Buchverlag, Oldenburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-86622-016-4 .
  • Marco Meier (Ed.): The blonde. A revelation. In: du - magazine for culture . No. 7. TA-Media, Zurich 1999, ISBN 978-3-908515-30-2 .
  • Kathy Phillips: Blonde. Glamor, glamor and bright minds. Translated from the English by Ulrike Becker. Nicolai, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-87584-817-9 .
  • Jena Pincott: Why do men like blondes? How the spark jumps - or not. Translated from the English by Ursula Bischoff and Christoph Trunk. Goldmann, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-442-15521-7 .
  • Siegfried P. Rupprecht: Lexicon of blondes. Lexikon-Imprint, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-89602-215-6 .
  • Franz Siepe : The colors of Eros. The ideal of beauty through the ages. Wjs, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-937989-35-8 .
  • Anne Verlahac (Ed.): Blondes. Edition Braus, Heidelberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-89904-337-2 .

Web links

Commons : Blondine (female blond hair)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Blondine  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Herman Paul: German Dictionary. 19666, pp. ??.
  2. ^ Lexicon entry: Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged. 3 volumes. Encyclopedia Britannica, Chicago 1986, pp. ??.
  3. In a letter of November 5, 1779, see Herman Paul: German Dictionary. 5th edition. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1966, p. ??.
  4. Hermann Baumann : The peoples of Africa and their traditional cultures. Part 1: General Part and Southern Africa. Steiner, Wiesbaden 1975, p. 97 ff.
  5. John Baines, Jaromir Málek: World Atlas of Ancient Cultures: Egypt. Christian, Munich 1980, pp. 115 and 117.
  6. ^ Ovid : love poems. 1 14, 45/46; translated by R. Harder and W. Marg.
  7. Compare H. Fischer: Sapo, Cinnabar and Verwantes. In: ZfdA . Volume 48, 1906, pp. 400-408.
  8. ^ E. Ploss: Hair coloring and bleaching. In: GRM. Volume 40, 1959, pp. 409-420.
  9. ^ Albert Knechtel: The color blonde. Cultural history of a hair color. Documentation, Arte 2006 ( program announcement 2010 ).
  10. Sven F. Kellerhoff: Blond like Hitler and slim like Göring. In: October 12, 2006, accessed October 18, 2019.
  11. ^ Matt Ridley: Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature. 2nd Edition. HarperCollins, 2003, pp. 293-294.
  12. Roland Girtler : Myth and fascination of the hair color blonde: cultural anthropological and cultural ethological considerations. In: H. Heller: Cultural ethology between analysis and prognosis. Lit, Vienna 2008 ( PDF: 164 kB ( Memento from May 24, 2010 in the Internet Archive )).
  13. Blond! Blondes preferred ( memento of March 18, 2017 in the Internet Archive ). In: Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  14. The color blonde. In: June 24, 2010, accessed May 5, 2020 .
  15. Blondes preferred - The great sex symbols of the 20th century. In: Retrieved May 5, 2020 .