“Brunettes!” Ash told the magazine. “Brown hair makes me feel more myself. As a blonde, I get categorized as the bitchy popular girl for roles, and I just want to be the normal girl.” Who knew? Ash is a brunette at heart!
Currently, Ash’s hair-at-heart happens to match her hair-on-head. She dyed her long locks a caramel brown for the thriller, Webcam, which she recently wrapped filming in NYC, and, apparently, she loves it. Ash has a mild case of hair A.D.D. She seemingly changes her hair color from week-to-week— though, given her apparently clear preference, this might have more to do with her responsibilities to Pretty Little Liars than dye indecision. Though, if it is the latter, all the power to her! If we had a hair stylist on hand, we probably change our ‘do weekly, too.
Unpacking the other part of Ashley’s statement, it makes us sad that Ashley doesn’t feel like she can be both blonde and “the normal girl” rather than “the bitchy popular girl,” especially because this is the message the media industry can also promote to the girls and young women who consume the media they’re producing. When identities are conflated with physical attributes — i.e. all young blonde women are “the bitchy popular girl” — potentially harmful stereotypes pop up along with them. Why can’t blondes and brunettes have fun? This is one of the reasons we like PLL so much. It gives us four young female characters who are complex and flawed. They are so much more than their hair colors!
Do you like Ashley as a blonde or brunette? Do you think media is in the habit of conflating young blonde women with the “bitchy popular girl” stereotype? Sound off in the comments below!
Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars Season 4 on Tuesday, January 28, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Family.
Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!