29th January 2014
Mind you, I’ve always had my suspicions….
Yes, really. Beards are racist, Sean Traynor, a women’s studies grad student at Penn State, informs us at the Atlantic, gravely reminding the reader that “this may not be the story bewhiskered moderns would like to hear”, that beards are not just “an homage to a quaint, innocent fashion trend” but a “legacy” in need of “redeeming”.
The beard, Traynor says, emerged in a time of rejection of the “liquor-fueled conviviality of the barbershop”, and of disastrous epidemics leading to widespread reluctance to “be lathered with the brush which the minute before has been rubbed on the face of we don’t know whom”—but the “real problem” leading to the adoption of the beard, he says, was that Karl Vogt wrote that Blacks and Whites were “two extreme human types”, driving men away from black-owned barbershops and therefore away from beards in general, except that “immigrant barbers—many of them Germans—catered to a growing population of working-class customers”. (Those pesky Germans! What a race of racists!)
After men stopped going to barbershops (except for the ones who didn’t), they didn’t want to shave themselves, since they lacked both the tools and the skill to do so without risking slashing their own throats open or contracting tetanus… except, Traynor says, it was really because they felt threatened by women’s rights movements. Racist and sexist!
Apparently, this is what Women’s Studies does to you. Let that be a lesson to us all.