I'm not much for conspiracy theories so it's possible that these articles just reflect their author's views, each to his own. What is missing though is a decent exposition questioning why we should shave at all. Here's my take on the issue of shaving that has me posing the question, why shave?
- Beards are hassle-free: well compared to the need to add around 10-20 minutes to your daily morning preparation to shave, cut yourself, apply little pieces of tissue, wait for them to dry, pick them off, have them bleed again, apply more, forget about them and then go to work. Even if you use an electric shaver, it takes time to shave the beard, go over the spots on your neck and jawline about 50 times, give up and then use a razor to shave those bits. Beards are much simpler, just wash it with a nice shampoo / conditioner combo, maybe apply some beard oil or beard balm and give it a comb, takes about 3 minutes, if that.
- Beards are you and they are manly: I lumped these two things together because they go hand in hand. You are a man, your beard is you! That is, unless you're a woman reading this in which case you gotta admit that beards just scream manliness. Shaving is an unnatural habit initially developed for the military. There's no need to pay homage to our forefathers and have this continue if we don't want it to.
- Beards are cheaper: no need for replacement razors and shaving cream, no need to buy an expensive electric shaver only to have it die on you about 2 months out of warranty (which happened to me twice). By comparison, beard products last much longer and are a better bang for buck because a little bit goes a long way.
- Beards are better for the environment: No used razors filling land fill, no electric razors using up energy and no thick shaving foam getting washed into the ocean. Simple.
- Beards are attractive: By now you may have read about the perceptions studies which suggest on average women generally find beards more attractive, so long as they aren't too long. Beards can also hide things about your face that you may not like such as a weak chin or jaw, acne scars or a double chin, the list goes on. Personally I say flaunt yourself however you look but at the end of the day, happiness comes from within so if a beard makes you more confident, go for it.
- Beards create communities: You don't need to spend very long on Google to find a veritable treasure trove of beard societies, beard competitions, beard social groups, beard charities and beard clubs. There's no where near the same thing for shaving. Who's ever heard of a World Shaving Competition?
- Beards are more trustworthy - As with attractiveness, there have been perception studies on this and people have generally rated men with beards as being more knowledgeable and trustworthy. That doesn't mean we shouldn't trust our shaven peers but we should probably question how good they are at making informed grooming decisions (joking).