Why do women love men with beards — is it purely a superficial, physiological attraction to the hairy trend or is it a pheromone phenomenon?
Trends affect us even more than we realize. An ever-evolving entity, physical attraction is a peculiar business. When seeing visually stimulating and heavily prompted fashion statements, we tend to jump on the proverbial bandwagon, saying “Hey, that’s pretty neat. Let’s give that a try too.”
Pogonophilia — beard-love — is currently a thriving subculture of men’s fashion. Will this trend fade out (like an ombré), or will it make the cut?
Social media sites like Instagram and Reddit, which have accounts solely dedicated to the maintenance and trend progression of men’s facial hair, support that the beard-love is here to stay.
Not only is male facial hair a hot fashion topic, but also a complement to businesses. Product lines like the Texas Beard Company, which sells all-natural oils, balms and waxes, as well as shops like The Art of Shaving at North Star Mall both cater to the slightly stubbed to the lumberjack-of-all-trade customers.
The popularity of beard fashion raises the question, what is so manly and so impressive about male facial hair?
A group of Australian scientists published a study in The Royal Social Biology Letters where they surveyed men and women about the perceived attractiveness of males with and without facial hair.
The researchers showed the subjects photos of men with different lengths of facial hair. The responders ranked the men in the photos with beards more attractive than men lacking facial hair, especially when the bearded men occurred less frequently among the photos.
At an ever-popular climax, the bearded stallion conveys a certain sex appeal to women.
As a type of fashion statement, beards have formed a niche audience in online dating, where bearded fellows can showcase their originality.
Bristlr.com, a budding online dating site, introduces itself as a platform to connect “those with beards with those who want to stroke beards.” The creation of an online forum showcases scruffy-jawed originality and demonstrates the popularity and perpetuated attraction of the trend.
Whether cosmetically or scientifically inspired — the sexualized, commodified, digitalized beard shows no signs of being trimmed, at least not soon.