As salaamu alaikum
Thought I'd share this article. Seems if more men in general grow beards then there will be fewer weird looks given to Muslim men with beards.http://www.diversityinc.com
The Beard Is Back Because Men Want to Be Men
By Yoji Cole
I read a story in TIME magazine about the resurgence of the male beard. The story said that we're seeing more males in entertainment as well as corporate America dropping their razors and allowing their follicles to grow free and long. TIME said the beard trend is an act of rebellion and that men are "trying to prove they are no corporate slave," said Allan Peterkin, a pogonologist, or beard scholar, and author of One Thousand Beards.
Now, I'm no pogonologist and, truthfully, I harbor a slight jealousy of my male comrades who can grow a full beard in eight hours (it takes me at least a month to grow enough facial hair for it to be called a beard or goatee). But I respectfully disagree with TIME's pogonologist.
I say men are growing their beards because physically, we can. If men are rebelling from anything by growing their beards, they are rebelling from a society that is less testosterone-driven and more accepting of effeminate expressions of masculinity and women's equal rights. In truth, it has become somewhat confusing. Our beards are saying, "Stop the emasculation!"
Let me digress and explain what I mean by emasculation. For the record, I am a feminist. I believe women should have all the rights enjoyed by men. I come from a family where women have the stronger voice and throughout my career I have had female mentors and most of my supervisors have been women. I also love my mother enormously and am in awe of my sister's drive and focus.
In colleges throughout the nation, women are earning more degrees than men. There are more women working in the finance and insurance sectors, in the legal and accounting sectors, and in the management of companies and enterprises, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Often, women earn nearly as much as men and have access to 401(k) plans, stocks and other financial-earning programs just as men do.
Women also have reproductive rights. They can have sex with only a 1 percent worry of pregnancy. And let's be honest, they also usually choose the guy. Accordingly, now more than ever before, women can leave relationships without fear of poverty. Again, I acknowledge that this is a generalization, but generally speaking, they can because they and society demanded their deserved human rights.
Beyond that, I and other males of Generation X are probably the group most affected by the divorce rate. A great many of us were reared in single-parent households led by our mothers. After more than 30 years achieving all that they have, after more than 30 years of being taught why women are equal and are not sexual objects laying at the behest of men--of course, the success of which is debatable--men and women of Generation X and younger are confused about what it means in today's world to be a man or a woman.
Who opens the door? Who pays for dinner? Who carves the turkey? Who leads the household? And in those sad times of divorce, who gets alimony?
So after all is said and done, while women have attained many rights and are closer now than ever before to achieving equality, they are the only human beings that can birth children. And, for the most part, beards are for men, and I believe that if more men are choosing to grow one, they're doing so to say, "I am the man." It's like peeing standing up and watching the stream flow out. It's one of the unique things that remain manly.
Beards are a method men use to show solidarity. David Letterman and Conan O'Brien grew their beards to show their support for striking writers. The Penn State men's swim team grew beards to show their unity. What do the manliest of professional athletes--National Football League players--do when they want to bond? They grow beards.
Men recently grew their facial hair to support prostate-cancer awareness. TIME noted that last fall, 2,000 men in the United States participated in "Movember," a month-long mustache-growing competition that raised money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
In the National Basketball Association, Cleveland Cavaliers player Drew Gooden is in the throes of a hirsute contest against the Washington Wizards' DeShawn Stevenson. The first to shave loses. Gooden, whose beard is taking on epic proportions and may soon challenge the guys from ZZ Top, is winning.
And let's not forget the New York Yankees. The Major League Baseball club doesn't allow facial hair below the upper lip. Well, in 2004, the Yankees lost the American League championship series to the often-bearded Boston Red Sox, becoming the first team in professional baseball history to lose a best-of-seven series after taking a 3-0 series lead.
So why is growing a beard seemingly popular now? It's because men want to be men. We supported the feminists and now we don't know where we stand with women. We went metrosexual and it was effeminized to the point where tweezing eyebrows and stenciling beards were en vogue. So now we're standing strong, tall and defiant in support of growing our beards, or at least what facial hair we can grow to its fullest! We are men--we're hairy, so deal with it!