For centuries, people like US psychologist Robert Pellegrini have paired facial hair and manliness together. In 1979, Pellegrini said “the male beard communicates an heroic image of the independent, sturdy, and resourceful pioneer,” a contention that still rings true today. But today in 2016, thanks to the influence of Movember, does it symbolise a different kind of manliness?
It’s become one of the most recognisable charities in the world, ranked number 72 in the top 500 NGO’s. Movember, now in its 13th year, has attracted more than 5 million participants around the world and raised almost $700 million.
But Movember has done more than just raise money and awareness for men’s health issues like depression and prostate cancer. It’s changed the way we see facial hair, because instead of reinforcing traditional conventions of what it means to be a man, Movember challenges men to be more open and honest, more genuine and caring, more generous and evolved.
In the decades and centuries before today, the moustache has taken on many different forms. It was a sign of eccentricity when it reaches high towards the sky on the face of Salvador Dali, a sign of power and fear on the face of Genghis Kahn.
In 1789, one book tied it wholly to manliness, saying “you pretty fellows of the present day, Jeremy Jessamy parsons, jolly bucks, and all you with smock faces and weak nerves be dumb with astonishment. I foretell it, you will soon resemble men.”
On the eve of this year’s Movember, we’ve put together a gallery of the moustaches that have helped to shape history. While you’re looking at pictures of Salvador Dali’s eccentric twirl, Tom Selleck’s broom head in Magnum PI, or Charlie Chaplin’s Toothbrush moustache, we want you to think about the role moustaches have had on fashion and culture. The way they’ve helped to shape the way we see ourselves as men.
Perhaps, in the case of Movember, the way the moustache has helped us to evolve as men.
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