Beard boom or beard bust? Here's all the buzz on the fuzz in the Middle East!
Beards are the backbone of recent men’s fashion, a fad many attribute to furry Hollywood film stars George Clooney, Ben Affleck, and Joaquin Phoenix. But trendspotters now warn of a bust in the beard boom - caused in part by a human phenomenon picked up as our species evolved. It’s known as "negative frequency-dependent sexual selection", where we tend to want what we don’t see much of. Ergo - in a sea of stubble - cleanshaven faces become more appealing. Beard-fans, are you bristling? Continue reading below »
Researchers in Australia looked at the dynamics behind facial hair, observing a fashion trend climax (tagged as “peak beard”) at the moment it was adopted by guys not naturally linked with hairy mugs (think metrosexual film stars and sweaty athletes). These unshaved idols prompted fans to ditch their razors too. Seems beards tend towards faddishness.
After peaking, the stylistic pendulum will swing back toward close-shaved chins - which is what the Aussies propose is happening today. But this could be a West-centric occurrence. What’s the buzz on fuzz in the Middle East?
In Arab and Muslim culture, facial hair is more than personal style. It can symbolize specific ethnicity and general manhood. It can be a local preference (Iraqis are big mustache fans - and we emphasize BIG). It can be politicized (in post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt, government employees were forbidden from growing beards. Now Egyptian facial hair is emblematic of free expression). Muslim Brotherhood members generally sport a facial “twinset” of well-groomed beard and moustache.
Finally, beards can signify religious belief. Ultraconservative fundamentalists (Salafists, as example) lean towards long, untrimmed beards, often paired with a shaved upper lip in the centuries-old style of the Prophet Mohammed PBOH.
So what’s the view on Arabian whiskers? Are you devotees of dramatic Dali ‘staches or heavy chin-curtains an Ayatollah would envy? Moved by manicured goatees or hipster mutton-chops? Where do you stand on modern facial hair? And - as importantly - let’s hear the woman's point of view!