The fear of beards is known as Pogomophobia, and it can occur for many reasons. Some people fear beards because they feel hair on the face is unclean. Others are put off by the rugged look that beards give to men. Whatever the reason, this phobia can strike any gender or age group.
Why Do People Fear Beards?
In a recent survey, 9 out of 10 women reported preferring clean-shaven men to bearded men. They did not mind a bit of stubble, such as that worn by Hollywood actor Brad Pitt, but they really found beards unattractive. This distaste for bearded men can be a trigger for fear of beards in both men and women.
Hygiene Can Be A Trigger
Often, homeless people are forced to wear beards because they do not have access to proper facilities and materials for cleaning up and shaving. This can cause some phobic people to link lack of hygiene with the presence of a full beard.
In past decades, beards were more accepted, but the popularity of this type of facial hair has always gone in cycles. Some cultures have more acceptance of bearded men due to religious doctrines and rituals. In North America, the beard is out of fashion, and it probably remain that way. Magazines and mass media, televisions and films, are all skewed toward a youthful, boyish look for men.
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Beards And History, Religion
In ancient Greece, beards were a sign of manliness. The ability to grow a thick, full beard and moustache was linked with virility. In the times before Christ, the first barbers appeared in Rome, and men began to appear clean-shaven. In time, a beard was regarded as sloppy, and the prior customs of growing a full beard became unfashionable.
Beards and religion can be connected. The Sikh faith views the beard as a proper sign of manhood, and its followers grow beards in the belief that they are a natural part of the human body. However, each religion has their own viewpoint, and the priests of the Hindy faith prefer a clean-shaven appearance, which they regard as a sign of cleanliness.
Orthodox Jews often grow very long beards, in keeping with Talmudic custom, which forbids the use of some razors and cutting implements. Scissors are permitted to trim beards, but single-blade razors are frowned upon.
When someone dies, a Jewish man may refrain from shaving during a special, 30-day period of mourning, known as Sheloshim. In the Kaballah faith, which is tied to a belief in Jewish mysticism, the beard is considered a symbol of holiness. The sanctity of the beard is another way of demonstrating devotion and faith.
Paintings and drawings of Jesus Christ often portray the son of God with a beard. His disciples are also depicted wearing beards. The famous Da Vinci painting, The Last Supper, has many bearded figures. However, Western art also depicts Jesus as clean-shaven.
The Rastafarian faith, found commonly in Jamaica, also find the beard holy. The long, unkempt beards and dreadlocks of Rastafarians are in keeping with these words from the Bible (Leviticus 21:15): “They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in the flesh.”
Symptoms Of Pogonophobia
Symptoms of fear of beards include revulsion, an ability to be around people who wear full beards, and issues with hygiene. Those with Pogonophobia may shun bearded people in the belief that they are unclean. They may also be put off by the religious beliefs that cause some men to adopt full beards and moustaches.
Some people with this phobia report panic attack symptoms when they are exposed to beards. They will feel nauseous, lightheaded, and phsyically ill around people who sport beards.
Treatment for this phobia should include education about the reasons why men wear beards. Treatment may also include psychotherapy and anti-depressants. Sometimes, talking to a qualified mental health therapist can get at the root of the phobia and help to eradicate it.