A new market has arisen in the wake of the newly embraced beard culture of the west: beard fertilizer. This may seem bizarre and unnecessary (perhaps not as unnecessary as facial hair transplant surgery though), but despite what you may or may not consider normal, beard fertilizer is the real deal. In this case study we look to VitaBeard, a dietary supplement said to promote beard growth that, “provides critical nutrients to help your facial hair grow faster and stronger than ever before” (beardvitamin.com).
This in lieu of our ever expanding study of beard culture, is surely supportive of the claim the beards are a newly booming cultural shift into the affirmative of facial hair among men. Although this is not the first time cultural has swung in favor of the beard, this is the first time that technology has allowed for the trend to be applied in more radical and extreme measures. No longer is the beard club limited to the genetics lottery, but modern men are now able to take control of the situation regardless of the familial gene pool. The same man once called a naked mole rat can now fork over 8,000 dollars for a transplant surgery and take some vitamins and now he is the burliest man in the room. Which naturally leads to the thought of what other modern trends are repeats of past ones and how has technology effected these the degree to which these modern pedigrees trend is exhibited (although this isn’t in the sphere of my blog).
Also what does this say about exclusivity? Has technology made exclusivity dead? Heres is my theory:
Since the dawn of time people have been creating, following, breaking down, and recreating trends. But as Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat it’s self, but it rhymes.” And perhaps technology is just our modern “rhyme” of historical trends.
Here is a video that illustrates (quite effectively) the subculture of bearded men, and how beards are a definitive symbol for social change: Enjoy!
After watching I hope that it is as apparent to you as it is to me that beards are more than meaningless hair, but in fact an intentional affiliation to a specific people group. We observe a bearded fellow go on a journey of rejecting a civilized society that demands him to shave his beard, he goes on a bus ride to a foreign land that see beards a symbol of freedom from civilized/oppressive culture and form a new society. This society in turn revolts against the established society and conquers the opposing territory. This is at the core of the bearded man, the attitude of “what if things were different?” The beards themselves fought off the evil formal culture and gave the men who bore beards superhuman like abilities, which leads to the question: Do beards enhance the wearer of the beard? Could it be that the beard acts to amplify, or set free, the already existing traits within a the non bearded man? It has been shown in multiple studies that beards increase confidence in males and also increase perceived intimidation by others. This group of rejecters of society and empowered individuals ban together, a form a new subculture and form there own set of morals and definition of social norms. At the core of beard culture is the Robin Hood message (the us against them). But the question that sparks my curiosity is thus: Is it societies perception that lumps the bearded folk into a group, or is it fellow beardies who naturally gravitate towards each other to for a subculture? I suppose that it most likely is a combination of the two, but none the less I believe that beards are here to stay until a) the revolutionary spirit is satisfied or b) the revolutionary spirit goes to to its slumber.
I suppose it was only a matter of time until I came to this subject. A subject that most are filmier with, but few (very few) are expert in. A subject so subtly taboo and plausibly sexist that none enjoy the discussion. And before I begin dissecting the “Bearded Lady” legends please note that all opinions presented are not final and are subject for future modification.
In the modern scope of gender equality and equal opportunity it seems natural to talk about woman with beards. Perhaps on not obvious, but natural none the less. As it is, the bearded lady is a pristine example of gender neutrality. Prior to the feminist movement in the late 20th century , bearded women were ofter subject to the entertainment industry, especially the circus. These women were spectacles of entertainment and awe providing audiences everywhere with amusement. But bearded woman aren’t in the fan fair spotlight any more, rather bearded woman aren’t even a blip of the radar of society. They have been removed from a pedestal in the entertainment spotlight and received the isolating sentence of the social blind eye. Why? As I have theorized beards are in fact indicators for altering social norms and females with beards are an extremophile within this subject. So maybe its because in modern society women want to be treated like men in the sphere of capital gains, but looking like them is not on the check list. Or perhaps because society is nervous to discuss the subject of gender androgyny. Or I suppose that it could be that people simply just aren’t amused by bearded woman any more. Whatever the cause I find it fascinating, and it is my hypothesis that the role of the bearded woman in society is that they are a thermometer the take temperature of the society and diagnose the degree of liberalism within it. Whether for good or for bad, bearded woman are more than meets the eye.
Can’t grow a beard? Don’t worry you can crochet one. Or more dramatically you can transplant one. Cultural swings in the outlook of beards have definitely been dramatic, coming from a society where beards are looked down upon and thought of with distaste (unless you are Santa Claus). But it recently the tides of change are in and it seems that the beard will be shortly reaching an almost iconic status in America. Most have seen it on the news recently how beard transplant surgery is becoming popular among young men, despite the cost of a round $8,000, and how this could be the kickoff for the male cosmetic surgery industry. It is highly dubious that beard transplant surgery and crouched beards are trending at the same time by mere coincidence, rather I propose that beards in fact are becoming a standard, instead of the exception, for the general male population. At this moment I am sitting inside a coffee shop downtown and to count there are 9 other men here as well, 7 of which have facial hair (and 1 of the 2 outsiders, it appears, is incapable of growing and facial hair…poor soul). This trend is being taken to such an extent that children are now wearing these bearded beanies. At this rate it is only a matter of time until the feminists pick up on the trend and begin wearing the crocheted patterns and getting their own beard transplants. But what is it about the beard that is becoming so incredibly desirable? Can it be simply aesthetic or something more? Well I believe so, but we will save that for next weeks post, in the mean time theorize and hypothesize.
Below I have gathered a collection of my personal favorite crocheted beards found on the web and hope you enjoy. The types of beard patterns vary from Gandalf (Lord of the rings) to the Vikings, dwarves, and obviously a wide diversity of colors. Enjoy!