Masculinity, style, self-gratification. Whatever your reason for your beard, you can’t argue it looks good! But what has it meant in the past?
This is a question that was always playing on my mind, and the mind of many our ShipShaper community. I want to share some insight into the meaning of a beard over the centuries.
The beard has had many a use over the centuries. Uses that have changed and developed as beard style, attraction, fashion and convenience has evolved. Through different cultures and time periods, beards have been worn by powerful men to show class, status, masculinity and style.
THE BEARD THROUGH THE AGES:
In the past, you would have seen men growing their facial hair for more essential uses. You can imagine, cave men, growing their beard for warmth, intimidation and protection. This is a long way away from our view of a beard. A strong growth of facial hair kept our historic predecessors warm and protected them from many of the outside elements that they faced in their daily life.
I am sure you can imagine, they didn’t have some of the nifty growing, grooming and styling tools that we have these days. That said, their thick, bold and strong beard, much like the mane of a Lion, created a scarier and more testosterone pumped look.
Masculinity. The beard has meant many a thing to many different cultures. One thing stands. Masculinity. It is a symbol of the beard that has stood the stand of time. Now that doesn’t always mean you are the manliest man, it can also mean that you are the more suitable mate, the best father figure, the list could go on and on. One example can be going back as far a 750 BC, where the Celtic tribes would swear on their beard when discussing anything serious.
The Greeks echo the relationship between the beard and masculinity. It was the mark of an adult, a fully grown male. The beard even held social and political strength! If only it was that easy to get in power. Maybe then we could really make a change! The ShipShaper revolution… You heard it here first! Let me know if you want to be a part of it! 😉
I shouldn’t get distracted…
They didn’t just have messy, frizzy and untamed facial hair. Far from it. Beard styling was a necessity for many of the Greek cultures. The famous Spartans, for example, would periodically trim their beards and moustaches.
If you are reading this, then I know you love your beard. So, my advice would be to skip this next section…
Grooming to the Romans was extremely important. In fact, their first shave was celebrated as entry into adult. It was so important that those of high status would have their own personal barber to keep up their daily grooming needs. And, if you couldn’t afford your own, then you could find a local barber nearby! It is thought that the Romans were first to create the famous barber that we have come to love so much these days! Although, like most things Roman, they may have stolen it from the Greeks.
If you have grown a full beard in your time, then you have probably heard the term Viking come your way at some point or another. I hope you take this as a compliment, because it really is.
If a man could not grow a beard, then it is likely that they would be mocked and ridiculed. The beard was a sign of masculinity and was groomed for various occasions such as war or celebrations. Believe it or not, grooming tools were very common for Vikings. This is contrary to the belief that they were scary, scruffy and unhygienic. It would not be uncommon for you to find grooming tools such as combs, toothpicks, brushes and other instruments at their burial sites. What history tells us is that, while their beard hair was long, it was actually kept very well groomed.
If you look at now, about 33% of American males have facial hair, and if you are looking further afield, then 55% of males worldwide have facial hair.
Growing your beard, is a way of setting yourself apart from the rest of the male population. They are a symbol of dominance. That is something that has not changed through the years. Masculinity, dominance and prestige. Of course, there are some of us that just want to show off the amazing growth that we can achieve and tame it into a style that is something to be proud of.
Masculinity, style, self-gratification. Whatever your reason for your beard, you can’t argue it looks good! But has your view changed at all? Does it still mean the same to you?
Really interested to hear your personal journey! I can’t wait to hear from you. Message us on Facebook Messenger or just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Hope you enjoyed the article. Follow, like or comment us on Facebook.
I hope you have an amazing day today and until next time, keep growing and stay ShipShaped.
Keep up to date with the latest in beard trends, guidance and the ShipShaper updates in The Beard Blog.