To me there is nothing sadder than hearing and reading headlines in the media constantly say “That Beards are out” or “It’s time to lose the hipster beard” or “It’s time to Shave off your beard”. To me and to many others a beard is a lot more than a fashion statement, but it makes me think that so many have heard that beards are in fashion and now with all this media saying shave it off people do so in droves. I implore you guys to start thinking for yourselves and do what you want to do and not what others tell you.
Over the last few years there has definitely been a “beard renaissance” of sorts. There has been a movement from those who are normally clean shaven to letting their hair grow out.
Before the “beard-boom” there were certain pre-conceived notions about the types of folk that would be expected to have beards, such as hipsters, lumberjacks, explorers, bikers, Bin Laden, female circus sideshow performers, the Amish and of course the homeless.
In recent times the lines have been blurred and there has been a cultural shift where everyone from politicians, office workers, bankers, doctors and CEOs of multinational corporations have binned the razor and started growing a furry face companion.
This beard culture has been met with varying responses, but for the most part it looked like the beard movement was here to stay. Whether you have a beard or whether you choose to be clean shaven I personally couldn’t care less. But the word we should focus on is choice.
A beard is something that many boys aspire to have. From the first chin hair, the patchy beginnings of a beard, or the first attempt at rocking a mo, growing these little whiskers marks the first step into manhood.
At a young age there is a feeling that we are sophisticated and need to grow a beard, grow your hair long and grow “older” as soon as possible. The same can be said for shaving, there is a definite sense of pride when you tell your friends are shaving or pretending that you hate the act of shaving just to inform you friends or classmates that “yes, you indeed have enough facial hair to warrant a shave”
For me and I guess for a many others having facial hair is a defining characteristic, it looks good, it keeps us warm, it's fun to play with, sculpt and in some instances shave off. Growing proper beard inspires a sense of pride also, it is one of the last natural changes in your body that is considered a positive and unique thing, compared with the natural changes after 20 that are hair loss, weight gain and wrinkles.
When you factor in the cost and time spent each morning shaving it isn't necessarily a "no-brainer" despite its mainstream acceptance. Some people shave daily or even twice a day depending on their evening agenda. Having a beard alleviates this burden. In the past the certain occupations did not allow heavy facial hair growth as it was associated with being unprofessional. Now in the midst of this beard renaissance the social and occupational norms of what's acceptable has been broken down, allowing men to feel as natural as possible in their choice of facial hair style.
I'm not saying everyone should grow a beard, and if you prefer being clean shaven you should be able to. But what I am stressing is shaving for some comes with so many negatives, like razor rash, irritated skin, ingrown hairs and facial dryness. Some people feel they look better with a beard, and others just feel it's an unnecessary task and their morning ritual is better suited doing different things. So with all the anti-beard articles written saying that the beard is out, or if you wish to appear successful you need to be clean shaven we are reverting to an antiquated notion of what it means to be a helpful member of society.
For many men, having a beard is an invaluable part of their identity. It is a rite of passage for them to be able to grow beard and it gives them a sense of pride. Anti-beard propaganda can only be detrimental to the healthy upbringing of influential young men, across Australia and the world. For someone to grow up reading headlines of “Say Goodbye to your beard” or “science explains why hipster beards are out” or “RIP Hipster Beards”, I say do not pander to trending fads in the pursuit of fitting in.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is do what you feel comfortable with. If that’s shaving and keeping your face clean and hairless then do so. If it’s growing a bushy beard then by all means please rock it. Don’t let the ideas in the workforce dictate that because you have a big beard you are lazy, let your work speak for yourself and challenge the notion that a bearded bloke can kill it in any workforce he decides. So please ignore this anti-beard propaganda, make up your own mind and be the best bearded or clean shaven dude you can be.