Beards are like denim jeans. In early times, beards were grown out of necessity, to fight off the harsh elements from Mother Nature. In the same sense, jeans were created to withstand the brutal work environment miners faced every day. As society became more accepting and fashion evolved, both took a turn toward becoming modern day style necessities.
Saying beards are a trend is like saying jeans are a trend. Neither will ever go out of style. Fashion changes, but there are a few things you can count on to always be in style – beards are one of them.
With that said, there is still a powerful threat out there that could very well put an end to our bearded existence. Us.
As the editor of a beard magazine, I am heavily immersed in our bearded community. I see a majority of what is put out there on the Internet by other beardsmen and beard related companies. Every day via social media, I see awesome stories about great guys doing something amazing, stories about beard clubs raising money for charity, and guys that are following their passions by putting their talents to work. At the same time, I consistently see posted comments that say “If you don’t have a beard you’re a woman”, beard care companies being created with ridiculous gimmicky names, and Instagram accounts sharing images implying that “you’ll get laid more with a beard.”
I get it … you might think that sharing these types of posts is all in good fun, but I want you to stop and think prior to hitting that share button, and ask yourself how it will be perceived by others. The messages that we share with each other via social media are no longer confined between the ears of friends – they are put out there for not only your buddies to see, but for your mom, your boss, your boss’ mom, etc. There is a fine line between humor and tactlessness, and too often we see these types of posts’ “humor” lean on sexism and hyper masculine bullying, and they end up crossing the line. Consistently sharing, posting, and supporting people and companies that rely on modern day social media “locker room banter” as a way to gain attention and followers is, in a way, saddening. Not only sad for the person creating it, but sad for the person that is sharing it, and sad for our community that is working so hard to change the way society views beardsmen.
You grow a beard for yourself, and no one else. You like the way it makes you look, the spark of confidence it gives you inside, and the strong bonds that it creates with others. But believe it or not, you are also representing all of us beardsmen at the same time. By creating and sharing content that objectifies women and bashes others, it is as if you are looking for justification and approval that what you are sporting on your face is ok. You are a reflection of the good and the bad that we, as beardsmen, show to the world and unfortunately, people tend to remember the bad more vividly.
Beards are not for everyone, nor should they be. Everyone has their own personal style, which is awesome. There will always be guys that won’t grow one, and there will always be guys that can’t grow one. Does this make them less of a “man?” Hell no. A real man practices transparency. He doesn’t try to be someone he is not. He is always looking for ways to better himself and the people around him. The world definitely needs more real men, but growing a beard isn’t a requirement. It’s our goal as beardsmen to show our potential to the world, to show that we can overcome stereotypes and that we can be the complete package all while rocking a beard. By doing this, we just might encourage a friend to grow one—not by ridiculing him for shaving but by embracing him into our community and showing him what we have to offer.
Eric Bandholz created Beardbrand to be not only a beard products company, but to be a community of like-minded beardsmen that can learn from one another while breaking down barriers and stereotypes that we continue to face daily. Urban Beardsman Magazine’s goal is to provide stories that inspire and help us to grow as individuals – both personally and professionally – and have a little fun in the process. You’ll notice that at Beardbrand & UB Magazine we don’t share these types of gimmick posts or beard memes promising you’ll get laid if you use our products. Others create these posts as a publicity stunt to gain new followers or get a few extra “likes” because, unfortunately, it’s what gets the most attention. There are lots of other great beard companies out there that are helping us to take a few steps forward in the right direction, and unfortunately there are also a few that cause us to take a couple steps back. I know that I’m on the right team.
Beards are not a trend, and their future won’t end because of changing fashion trends. The fate of our future could very well be in our own hands. As a beardsman, I want to be known as part of a group of confident, stylish, and goal driven guys, not as a group of assholes.
Which group do you want to be in?
Photo by Josh Strickland