Beards are significant in today society. However, what does it mean to be significant and why are beards of significant importance? Significance is defined as being worthy of attention and/or importance. Beards are the epitome and culmination (or should be) of what defines a man. Growing a beard, regardless of sexual preference, is a way of setting yourself apart from the rest of the male populous. Beards today are symbolic of Male dominance, Sexual virility, and overall prestige.
Beards are Dominance
What is in a beard? Well, other than approximately 30,00 hairs of course! It is now becoming an ever increasingly held belief that men with beards are perceived as older, stronger and more aggressive than others. Just like in the animal kingdom, a dominant male can get more mating opportunities by intimidating rivals to stand aside. It works for Lions and Apes so why not men too?!
A study was conducted by Nigel Barber “Mustache Fashion Covaries with a Good Marriage Market for Women” suggested that when there are more male candidates of viable, and marriageable age that beards were more frequent. Meaning, that there is a direct correlation to facial hair (beards) and sociological male significance. Before now, men only had to contend with males in their own rural communities. Now that the internet has become more mainstream, social media and the mainstream media are indorsing depictions of what the average male in general should be. Social media has generated an exaggerated emphasis toward the stereotypical depiction upon male behavior, strength, aggression and sexuality. As such, this deception of the masculine male has forced men to become the personification of hypermasculine males.
The Sex Symbolism
Not only has social media influenced males to become more hypermasculine, it has also influenced potential sexual partners expectations of what it is to be a man. Thus, men have now had to resort to more definitive means to attracting a sexual partner. So, what is the easiest and most effective way to promote Sexual virility and dominance toward a sexual conquest? Just like in the animal kingdom men have taken to growing a beard. A beard is natures way of saying my genes are more superior than yours. It is the physical manifestation of male significance and promotes sexual virility. The public stereotype of male masculinity is, the bigger and more defined the beard the more testosterone a man has, and the more testosterone a man has the more virile he may be. See how that breaks down. Beards signify to potential sexual partners that he is patient, calculated, defined, and composed. I wrote and article a while back entitled “Are Men With Beards More Desirable To The Opposite Sex?” this article was based on a study that promoted women’s expectations towards men with beards. So, lets face it, quite literally, if you want to be perceived as virile you need to have a beard.
Beards are Prestigious
Beards throughout history have had a connection to greatness. Any man who is remembered throughout history has had some connection to a beard. Additionally, it has been connected to honor, sexual virility and social status. For example, in the Middle Ages, just touching another man’s beard was offensive and grounds for a duel. Otto the Great when saying anything of importance or significance would then swear by his beard. However, what is it to be perceived as being great? Notably, greatness is the personification of prestige or the widespread respect and admiration felt for someone or something on the basis of a perception of their achievements or quality. Beards are perceived as being associated with maturity, expertise and knowledge. A study conducted in 1990 found that men with beards were seen as being more competent. Similar studies have been conducted and found similar results. A LinkedIn profile study was conducted and found that bearded men were considered to have more expertise.
Today’s society is heavily biased and is easily influenced by only a few physical characteristics. Beards are a sociological stimulus characteristic and help to generate strong stereotypical connections toward masculinity. Through social media, these stereotypes and perceptions have influenced males to assert a hyper-masculine facade. Overall, beards have promoted dominance, sexual virility, and prestige in the modern world.
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