Now the stereotype of the "dumb blonde" is so firmly ingrained in the male psyche that men subconsciously become more stupid than they really are when they see one, according to scientists.
Without realising it, they mimic what they believe - often incorrectly - to be the lesser intelligence of a blonde woman in order to get along with her, a study suggests. The findings will come as no surprise to disgruntled wives and girlfriends who have seen their partners make a fool of themselves over a stranger with platinum tresses. But on a serious level, the revelation that meeting a blonde causes a man to have his own "blonde moment" is further evidence that people's behaviour is powerfully influenced by stereotypes.
The research by French scientists was based on tests carried out at Paris Nanterre University where men were shown pictures of women with different coloured hair, then made to take a general knowledge test. Those who had been shown pictures of blonde women scored lower marks than those who had been shown pictures of brunettes and redheads. Professor Thierry Meyer, joint author of the study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, said: The stereotype of the "dumb blonde" emerged with the development of films, television and glossy magazines.
It is said to have first appeared in the s novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos, which was made into a silent film in and a movie starring Monroe in Scroll down for more Current blonde celebrities like hotel heiress Paris Hilton, dubbed the "heirhead", have practically made a career out of behaving stupidly. There is, however, no scientific evidence that blonde women are less intelligent than their darker-haired counterparts.
In fact, Monroe is said to have had an IQ of According to researchers at St Andrews University, north European women evolved blonde hair and blue eyes at the end of the Ice Age to make them stand out from their rivals at a time of fierce competition for scarce males.
Some psychologists have also suggested that because white babies are often born blond, there is a primal association between blondness and childhood, encouraging people to admire and fawn over the pale-haired. Real-life blondes were sceptical about the findings of the French study. British model and natural blonde Laura Bailey said: I have always been blonde and I have never had an issue with the way I am. If I'm being insulted, then I'm blissfully unaware. Most watched News videos.