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Analysis - " Daddy Why Do You Shave!!!!!!!!! "
Posted by Preet Mohan S Ahluwalia Send Email to Author on Monday, 1/10/2000 11:06 AM MST
With no claim to a rational justification, we largely demand that adult males present with bare faces and clipped cranial hair if they are to be presumed good, productive members of society.
Yet scholarly studies demonstrate observers typically make many, significantly positive attributions, both of character and life mastery, to the male who "wears" (i.e., does not artificially remove) facial hair or long cranial hair; and historically uncut male hair was religio-spiritually required with exceptions made only as an adjunct to worship.

What is the significance of this juxtaposition? Two rules of fact emerge from the research:

1. A man's reasons for abstention from hair cutting practices all relate to his assertion, intended consciously or subconsciously, that he is not the servant of other men.

2. When people in positions of (non-religious) authority demand that a man cut his hair or shave his face, their purpose is to require the clipped man to openly demonstrate his obedience and subservience to them.

This paper seeks to provide a multi-disciplinary review of the literature that relates to the significance of the hair presentation of the adult male. Further, it proffers the theory that the extent to which we desire short haired, bare faced men is the extent to which we seek the stereotypically presumed attribute of submissiveness found in the female combined with the assumed strength and dependability ascribed to the male.........

"Another author (Kentsmith, 1973) begins his journal article on the significance of hair with a quote from the poem The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope; to-wit "What mighty contests rise from trivial things." Thus, he makes his sentiments on the subject evident beyond peradventure.

Consider these three perspectives on the value of male hair:

a. the individual man's valuation of his own hair presentation

b. ostensible societal expectations of what constitutes the cranio/facial presentation of a good man

c. true societal preferences in male hair presentation as uncovered by research performed in the discipline of social-psychology.

If (a), (b) and (c) were in accord with one another, there would be little to discuss. Individual men place great
value on their own hair as habitually presented, and social-psych research shows that we hold bearded men in
more positive regard than bare-faced men. Further, we see long-haired men as being dominant and unbowed, (Kentshmith, 1973 at pg. 579) and religious prohibitions against haircutting and/or shaving are not uncommon among the world's religions.

Yet, on the more practical level, we largely demand that men present with bare faces and shorn cranial hair if they are to obtain life sustaining employment and are to be presumed good, productive members of society; therein lies the proverbial rub.

This paper seeks to provide a review of the literature that relates to the significance of the cranio-facial hair
presentation of the adult male, as well as to put forth a theory that explains those incongruencies in our social
position on male hair described above...........

"As to he who is "his own man" and who yet chooses to shave his face and shear his scalp in the absence of any explicit coercion or force, perhaps the best explanation of motive is found in the word inertia. An anecdote (Fadiman, 1985) is told of George Bernard Shaw that relates the time he was approached by an advertising executive of a company manufacturing electric razors. The executive had hoped that Shaw would endorse their new product by shaving off his beard. By way of reply, Shaw explained the reason why he, and his father before him, had chosen not to shave by saying that when he was about five years of age, he had been observing his father shaving one day and had said to him, "Daddy, why do you shave?" Shaw's father looked at him in silence for a
full minute before throwing the razor out the window while exclaiming "Why the hell do I?" And he never did again, as the story goes.

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