Ah, the beard. That facial sign of manliness. Have you ever asked yourself about how the beard came into existence? What exactly is the hierarchy of beards anyway? In this post we will take a look at the history of beards, the hierarchy of beards and why beards are sometimes fashionable and sometimes not. After the jump, it’s all about the hair on your face.
Poster available from Wondermark.com
Men have been growing beards since we figured out how to shave with sharpened rocks or seashells millenia ago. While most of that type of information is conjecture, what we do know for sure is that the ancient Egyptians had a thing for fancy beards, as did the Babylonians. In ancient Greece the beard was worn proudly as a sign of sexual verility, while a clean-shaven face was considered feminine.
Later, in the Roman Empire, a clean-shaven was was acceptable and beards fell out of fashion. While there isn’t much rhyme or reason for the popularity of beards to come and go, it seems to by cyclic in nature. Perhaps is has something to do with rebelling against the authority figures every few generations. For example, in the 1800s beards were fashionable and every self-respecting man would have one. In religious circles it was considered that only natural that a man should have a beard, and to shave your face was considered to be “dressing like a woman”, or effeminate.
During the early to mid 20th century we see that the beard fell out of favor again. Just look down the line of the presidents and you can see the transition. The mustache or goatee variation of the beard took on a sinister look and appeal during this time frame as well. During the “golden era” of the 1950s and 1960s many colleges and universities banned the beard from the campus – from faculty and students alike.
So what is all this about a hierarchy of beards? Well, it seems that the beard has a family tree all of its own. An interesting poster showing the hierarchy of beards is found on the Wondermark.com site, as part of their publication Beards of Our Forefathers. It’s an interesting poster to say the least, but not to be taken too seriously. As a parody it is hilarious, with beard entries like the ‘comic-con’, ‘meatgrinder’ and ‘hibernator’. All in all it’s a fun spoof from an interesting site full of comic goodness