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The dumb blonde is a popular-culture derogatory stereotype applied to blonde-haired women. The archetypical "dumb blonde", while viewed as attractive and popular, has been portrayed as lacking in both common street-sense and academic intelligence, often to a comedic level. The dumb blonde stereotype is used in blonde jokes.

This stereotype (and the associated cognitive bias) may have some negative consequences and it can also damage a blonde person's career prospects.


Numerous actresses have played characters labelled as "dumb blondes", including Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow , Jayne Mansfield , Marie Wilson , Judy Holiday (most notably in her Academy Award winning role in Born Yesterday), Suzanne Somers (primarily for her role as Chrissy Snow on Three's Company), and Goldie Hawn (for her persona on the variety show Laugh-In).

The film Legally Blonde starring Reese Witherspoon featured the stereotype as a centerpiece of its plot, although the protagonist turns out to be intelligent enough to graduate from Harvard Law Schoolmarker.

Country music legend Dolly Parton, aware of this occasional characterization of her, addressed it in her 1967 hit Dumb Blonde (though Parton's lyrics challenged the stereotype, stating "...just because I'm blonde, don't think I'm dumb 'cause this dumb blond ain't nobody's fool..."). Also, saying she was not offended by "all the dumb-blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb. I'm also not blond."

Blonde jokes

There is a category of blonde jokes that employ the dumb-blonde stereotype for their effect.

Blonde jokes have been criticized as sexist by several authors, as most blondes in these jokes are female, although male variations also exist. Research indicates that because of this, men find blonde jokes significantly more amusing than women say they do.

Many blonde jokes are variations on other stereotypical jokes. Blonde jokes nearly always take the format of the blond(e) placing himself or herself in an unusual situation, performing a silly act because he or she misconstrued the meaning of how an activity is supposed to play out, or making a comment that serves to highlight his or her supposed promiscuity, lack of intelligence, or cluelessness.

Related characters

Valley girl and Essex girl carry many of the same connotations as "dumb blonde", although they are non synonymous.

The author of the comic strip Blondie, Chic Young, starting with "Dumb Dora", gradually transformed his subsequent Blondie into a smart, hard-working, family-hearted woman.

See also


  1. Victoria Sherrow (2006) Encyclopedia of hair: a cultural history, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006 page: 274.
  2. Karen Thomas. She's having a blonde moment. October 27, 2003. USA Today.
  3. "The Comics", by Coulton Waugh, M. Thomas Inge, 1991, ISBN 0878054995
  4. Blondie: the Bumstead Family History, by Dean Young and Melena Ryzik (2007) ISBN 140160322X

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