What’s with All the Beards? Is it a Political Statement?

Beards as a fashion, comes and goes. Abe Lincoln had a beard. These days, thousands of young men are growing beards. No complaint here. That’s me some years back, posing on the back of a motorcycle with my husband. I think beards look handsome. But I can’t help but wonder if today, the popularity of beards has anything to do with our involvement in Afghanistan and the Middle East where multitudes of men sport beards? Today’s young, bearded men look an awful lot like the Middle-Easterners that our military forces have been rubbing shoulders with.

When I was a teenager, during the Vietnam War, army surplus stores were all the rage. Surplus army jackets and pants were popular. It was a way of making a statement. Why the anti-war crowd liked wearing clothes commissioned for the U.S. Army, I’m not sure. Those were confusing times. These are confusing times.

When the British first explored Asia, they returned with riches that the upper classes took into their homes for display. Sharing cultures and ideas with others is reflected in our architecture (Mohammedan arches and mosaics); our clothing (Indian print fabric, Mexican ponchos); our home decor (Danish furniture, Persian rugs); and our taste in art (French paintings, Bollywood movies). Curiosity in other religions brought us Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc.

History shows us that people liked (and needed) new things. Spices for food, quinine for medicine, silk for garments. Whatever it is, if it’s new and nice, we like it. And when we really like it, it becomes a favorite in our homes for generations. Perhaps forever.

Twenty-five years ago, a fad was a long, long braid down a man’s back with very short hair or a shaved head. Remember that? Today it’s beards. Let’s hope that tomorrow it will be peace and understanding that the more we share ideas and culture, the richer our lives.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here: http://www.amazon.com/Suellen-Ocean/e/B001KC7Z78