Is a man's masculinity attached to his facial and body hair? We ask Singaporean males
Years of warped beauty standards have left us ladies with some serious hang-ups when it comes to flaunting our facial and body hair. The equating of hairless, fuzz-free forms with femininity — as emphasised by the media over decades — has long cemented the idea that natural hair on women is unsightly and unattractive. In certain swathes of society, body hair is even regarded as taboo.
It is a sentiment, thankfully, that is slowly changing in recent times. Movements such as #JanuHairy are picking up speed while beauty brands are normalising facial and body fuzz on women in their latest campaigns. All good things, but do men feel similarly empowered by their body hair, or lack thereof? Is their masculinity attached to facial and body hair, as femininity is to bare and fuzz-free women? We poll the men in our lives to get some insight, gathering the best of responses, below — some intuitive, some infuriating, and some just downright idiotic. We expected nothing less, really.
"I never understood why guys who can grow a full beard are considered more 'manly'. I think I'm a masculine guy, and I pretty much hate all forms of body hair except those on my head and eyebrows. Can't stand it on my girlfriend either — and no, that's not a double standard because I shave too, okay? Walau." — We get it, you want a Gillette sponsorship
"I'd definitely grow out some facial hair if I could. Not because it'll make me look more manly, but it'll make me look more mature. My brain doesn't make the connection between hair and manliness but it does with age." — You'll probably take that back in a couple of years.
Naked and Afraid
"I think this applies more to body hair than facial hair. I'd feel weird if I shaved all of my body hair, for instance, but not when I shave my beard. It's necessary when it comes to the face for practical reasons like eating, but it's unnecessary for the body. I'll be honest and say that shaving my body will make me feel like less of a man because I'd be putting in effort into my appearance for the first time. Guys normally don't bother." — The meaning of manliness is in dire need of redefining.
"What does masculinity have to do with facial or body hair? Do people think if you have less, then you're considered more 'effeminate' because you'll look like most women who shave and maintain their bush? That's not a problem — the people who have this mentality are." — He has a point.
The Science of It
"Uh, considering testosterone is what induces facial hair growth and those with testosterone are considered male... it's not far off the mark to say the ability to sprout facial or body hair is related to manliness and my masculinity, right? It's not like women can grow a whole beard." — Where do we begin with this mess?
For Professional Purposes Only
"I won't say my facial or body hair is entirely attached to my sense of masculinity, but I'd say it is a part of it. I'd feel 'feminine' if I shaved all my leg hair off, for instance. Like, the sensation of my legs being as smooth as my girlfriend's bothers me. But then again, professional male swimmers and athletes do it, so I think it's really a case-by-case basis." — But does your thinly disguised misogyny bother your girl though?
Chewbacca is Me
"As someone who is always sporting stubble by the end of the day, I feel that it's not really linked to my masculinity. I don't think my girlfriend thinks so either. [Laughs]. It's more of a hindrance. It gets super itchy if I don't shave it, so I have to do it every night. Plus, she hates stubble burn. Honestly, I think I could put that time to better use, but it is what it is." — We feel you. Now go Google '"IPL treatments".
More to it
"I don't think facial and body hair has anything to do with masculinity in the least. There's a lot more that goes into being manly, like emotional intelligence and chivalry and adaptability." —Are you sitting next to your girlfriend right now? Kidding, we love this!