Are Beards Once More an Authentic Symbol of Masculinity?

There was a time when being a real gentleman usually involved growing a beard and a mustache, alongside other gentleman-ish things a man was supposed to do. Nowadays, fashion fads come and go, and people who grow a beard can be, most of the time, separated into two big categories.
The first one includes fellows who have been catering to their beards for as long as they can remember, and I am one of them. The other large category is made of those who grow beards because it's a fashion thing.

I won't go too deep into this, but I'll just add the recent fashion trends commonly known as hipsters, lumbersexuals, and the like of those. Of course, there are people who would grow a beard because they genuinely feel like making a long or even permanent change to their lifestyle, guys who would grow a full beard to hide certain scars and so on, but these are rather isolated cases.

On simple prejudice

When it comes to motorcycles and beards, it's been decades since associating the two has yielded mostly results with a certain negative vibe to it. The cultural stereotypes over the last 20 or 30 years sort of eliminated the beard from those things that are so normal in society.

Even worse, television and visual media delivered the "beard + antisocial behavior" package with such a hammering force that many of those who rely on TV for social education and the formation of opinions are now full of certainties regarding beards.

Of course, tearing their pseudo-philosophical construct apart is an extremely easy task, because their lack of actual understanding of what beards represent is misleading them to the point where their own "values" become self-contradictory.

I, being a "beard guy" ever since facial hair was long enough to be called a beard, have run into such predicaments more than once. Meeting people who look at you with inquisitive eyes and somehow expect you to do something bad can be a bit daunting for a young man, but as years go by and life experiences accumulate, things change.

Questioning their prejudice throwing in "subversive" subjects such as "Jesus had a beard," "priests and patriarchs have beards," "hey, look, it's Doctor (insert local famous doctor name) and he looks great with a beard" will put these prejudiced fellows in difficulty, and if you can spare the time, it's sometimes worth playing a bit with their minds.

On more complex prejudice

The social symbolism sees motorcycle gangs being traditionally associated with men with either long hair or shaved heads, and... wait for it, beards.

It's more than often when having a beard and riding a motorcycle will trigger some fellows' reflex to see you as a criminal. Don't ask me why, it's the TV that should answer to this question.

Also, when it comes to the things that plague the world of beard-wearers, the fashion trends are also generating generalizations and prejudice. That is happening because for some, it is hard, if not downright impossible, to tell the difference between a guy who grows a beard because he wants to stand from the crowd and one who does it because it is "hip" or because he wishes to enhance his masculine looks.

I have a lot of friends who have had beards for decades, and none of them is over-preoccupied by the facial hair. They are not visiting barbers weekly to have their beards trimmed to glossy magazine perfection, they don't spend hundreds of bucks a month on beard wonder-products, and they act naturally.

Occasionally, they check the mirror when leaving home, or that in the elevator to make sure they don't look like having just escaped a deserted island, and maybe once a month, check the battery of their trimmer for some "pruning."

Being mistaken for a "fashion victim" is not exactly a compliment, but thankfully, none (or almost none) of the true "beard guys" is paying attention to this. As for why most of the beards are "bad" in today's society, this is a thing for sociologists to research...

Beards back in sport are awesome

I was surprised to see some of the MotoGP riders having grown a beard over the winter. Cal Crutchlow looks like he's leading the pack, even though I am almost 100% sure there was no secret accord between premier class riders.

Next in line comes Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso, whose beard is also way past the "I was too lazy to shave these days." His teammate Andrea Iannone also appears to have skipped shaving for three days or more in the official photo shoot for the Ducati Desmosedici GP16 and the new factory liveries.

Needless to say, all these guys look even more badass near their motorbikes and wearing their leathers. Why is this so beats me. Perhaps it's the beards themselves with their magic mojo, amplified by the fair dose of danger-defying that comes with being a MotoGP rider.

Maybe watching these fellows all sweaty and tired as they remove their helmets after the race and combing their beards with their fingers is a lot more manly than seeing a lumbersexual choosing beard fragrances from a perfume shop.

Or maybe it's something else that eludes me. Anyway, I say once more that seeing more MotoGP riders growing a beard and racing would be glorious, regardless of who wins.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories