Beards to many people are just facial hair. Some men grow ’em, many men especially in Western societies don’t. Some folks love ’em, whilst other’s hate ’em.
There is also a curious global difference. In the West, to a large degree, people are prejudiced against beards. Whilst from the near East through to India, beards are the norm and are valued. This is partly a religious thing, where Muslims and Sikhs especially favor beards, but then again Jesus allegedly had a beard.
My theory on why beards are not acceptable in Western societies is two-fold. Firstly, there is the first world war. Due to the horrendous living conditions in the trenches, and problems with hygiene and head lice, men became short haired and clean shaven. Prior to the first world war, beards were much more common and accepted. Secondly, good old Hollywood often portrays the ‘good guy’ as clean shaven, and only ‘bad guys’ have beards.
Why do beards generate this level of emotion I wonder? And having periodically let the old facial hair grow out, I can testify to the unexpected and odd reactions to sporting a beard. After all, it’s just hair. Isn’t it?
So, I decided to do some digging around, to rustle up some different views on this subject which is dear to many and came across this fascinating video documentary. It is about six American guys who decided to grow a beard, and as a part of this experiment they created a regular video-diary of their experiences and the reactions of other people. It’s called Winter of The Beard.
Clearly there is more to sporting the old facial whiskers that meets they eye.
And, of course, there is a website decided to said beards called All About Beards
© David R. Durham
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