Earlier this afternoon, I read this blog, in which Amanda Hess of Slate takes a turn berating each Boston Red Sox player for his Playoff Beard. Calling them “dumb”, “gross”, “lazy”,”without self-control”, she compares one man to a Troglodyte, and saying that the beard of another resembled pubic hair. She also spent a whole paragraph implying that the wives and girlfriends of the players probably are [or should be] disgusted with the beards of their men. She agreed with another author who implied that waking up to a man with a formidable beard would be like waking up next to a dog.
While I fully comprehend her piece is meant to be comical, something about it bothered me all day. And I figured out what. So, I decided to write her a note here:
I read your post today after a friend shared it on Facebook. Of course, I get that your goal is humor. However, I was bothered by the tone of your piece. It came across as shaming, emasculating, and belittling to the men you wrote about, and to other men who look like them. By now, you’ve guessed it. I love someone with a beard. And never have I confused him with a Pomeranian, a sheepdog, or a caveman, even when his attitude toward his facial hair was more fancy free. I felt awkward even talking about your blog with him, imagining how he would feel reading it, knowing that he and many of his friends have worn looks like you are describing. Contrary to the studies you’ve read, I find his facial hair manly and attractive no matter what its style, and I’m fairly certain it has magic powers. It is a built in pillow during snuggle time, and allows him to resemble a mid-to-late-Beatles George Harrison. Point is, we live in a society with far too much shaming: and it hurts me to see more, even when it is supposed to be in jest. There is already too much humor on the Internet and elsewhere aimed at making someone else feel small. As women, I’m sure you and I both can remember times when we’ve felt ugly or unattractive because of someone else’s words about how we should or shouldn’t look, no matter how funny they intended to be. It is no different for men. One more thing: I’m not a baseball fan, but I love the Red Sox beards: yes, they’re wild and crazy, but so is WINNING the World Series. And you and I both know why they won: there are a million tiny reasons, growing all over their chins right now. Enjoy your weekend, and your No Shave November.