January 13, 2010

Beards in the News 1.13.10

Right turn.jpgIt's amazing to me that so many people are up in arms about other people's facial hair choices. Seriously. I follow news items about beards as a part of my job of staying on top of shaving trends and stories, and when I open my newsreader in the morning, I'm stymied by the attention (or lack of) that some of these stories get.

Here's a few beard news stories I'd like to share with you:

Brad Pitt's face gets all the play: Pitt's goatee, complete with mini-dreadlocks, has dominated the celebrity facial hair scene lately, and I can't quite understand the controversy. He's an actor, right? And actors change their looks for roles, yeah? So what's the big deal? Do you think he cares about what the rest of us think of his beardedness? I don't. Let's let the man grow what he wants to on his face.

And on the flip-side, style gurus are saying "The new must-have accessory? A beard": "George Clooney makes us swooney and never more so than with his latest look, a grizzled salt-and-pepper beard that takes the Oscar-winner from dashing to debonair." So it's OK for Clooney, but not Pitt? Hmm.

You better not shave in Somalia: Dozens of men in Somalia's southern city of Kismayo were arrested and jailed by religious police for shaving their beards. Evidently the state has banned the shaving of beards (or ordered men to grow them, however you want to look at it), and will arrest you for violating Islamic culture laws.

In boxing news, the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) has banned all facial hair from its fighters, which would bar the Sikh and Muslim boxers with beards from competing: "It's such a petty go at the beard. It's a sport and it has some risks but the hair does not really in any way increase those risks. It's a perverse retrograde step that should be challenged." - Dr Indarjit Singh, Network of Sikh Organizations

Despite shortage of rabbis in the Army, this one can't wear his beard and be a military chaplain: "There is only one [Jewish chaplain] right now in all of Europe. We have a large number of young, selfless rabbis who would come to active duty as long as the beard regulation is waived. They are not fearful of going to war zones, because they are so dedicated and committed to reaching out to all Jews."

And on a lighter note, French contortionist Jeanne Mordo's latest show, √Čloge du Poil (in praise of hairiness), has a unique focus: the radical sexiness of facial hair. She dons a fake beard and poses such questions as "Women, how do you live without beards? Are they on the inside? Don't they itch?"

Image: kamshots at Flickr

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Posted by Derek Markham at January 13, 2010 10:58 AM
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