Written by Alana Jolley

March 6, 2015


Beards.  What does it mean to sport a beard?  Cultures may be represented by eras; and eras are often represented by trends, such as the popularity of the beards’ trend today.  Think of the Hippie era and the trendy flower children that were part of it.  How did culture change because of the Hippie era and the trends that it set?  Do beards signal something that we are missing in our current sphere of reality?

Are women becoming pogonophiles (those who love or are attracted to beards)? Or are men just getting more [glossary]hirsute[/glossary]?  What, if any, cultural changes are going on, which may be encouraging men to grow beards?  When trends continue for a long time, it is worth examining the culture behind the trend.

Beards have been a trend for the past few years; even though shaving is easier now than ever before.  So why the beards?  The picture above, by Sipa USA/REX/, is of Madison Rowley, from Portland, Oregon.  His beautiful beard won The World Beard and Moustache Championship in 2014.  Beards have long been associated with sex, health, and masculinity in one way or another.  Are they considered sexy today?  Are men more robust if they can grow a great beard?  Some men have very little facial hair; does that make them less sexy, less healthy, or less masculine?

We can never fully understand why certain trends go in and out of different societies. The following article from the HNN (History News Network) gives us some insight on what makes a beard a beard.  It also reminds us to critically think about why beards may be popular in our own time.

Explore More in cultural anthropology.  Learn about the Global Villages.


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