|A beard is the hair growth on the lower portion of the face in human beings and in some animals.
In a man, a beard is one of the male secondary sexual features, due to the presence of testosterone.
Alexander the Great ordered his soldiers to shave their beards so that the enemy soldiers could not seize them by their beards during the fights.
In the Roman Empire, cleanly shaven face and short hairstyles were one of the signs of civilization and this separated the Romans from the “wild” people.
In literal translation, Barbados Island means “Bearded”.
Cuban rebels against Batista rule under the leadership of Fidel Castro were known as “Barbados” - bearded.
Some women are capable of growing beards (particularly during the use of androgenic steroids an associated therapy for breast cancer). From a long time, such women were a subject of curiosity. Though the majority of women so as to avoid unnecessary attention, shave (or diligently pick) any type of growth on the chin, some of them, particularly women with broad and thick beards earn a livelihood by performing before the curious public in so-called “performances of ugly people”, i.e. in touring circuses, which are found in the USA. The contrast between a long beard on a face and female attributes such as a high-pitched voice of a singer, performing in gown, emphasizing her femininity, guarantees interest towards other circus attractions and therefore such women traditionally had a wide choice of employers and their performances were very well paid for.
Julia Pastrana (1834—1860) - bearded woman.
She was found as a child in Mexico, far away from settlements. How she happened to be there is unknown. In the 1850s she appeared in Europe and in Russia in 1858. Julia could speak in two languages - Spanish and English. Julia died during childbirth, according to some in Moscow and according to others in Germany.
A mention of Julia Pastrana was found in Arkady Averchenko's short story on “French Exhibition for Hundred Years”, a narrative of Leo Tolstoy's “Polikushka”. Vladimir Gilyarovsky stated that even Pastrana was mentioned in the shouts of the showmen during his time.
Beards in mythology:
The Korean dragon - one of the forms of mythological serpents associated with Korean mythology. Unlike many dragons of other cultures it has no wings but possesses a long beard.
The history of the hair fashion of a person also demonstrates the defining influence of social factors on growing moustaches and beards, on admissible beard styles and on the reaction of society towards moustaches and beards. A look at beards in Europe from the past gives an indication of beard styles through the ages. In the later Middle Ages and in the early Renaissance (14-15 centuries), it was ideal to look as a young man at any age and men would regularly have a clean shave. During the subsequent period (from the beginning of 1500 till the end of the Renaissance (1620)) the majority of males of all ages had long moustaches and thick beards. With the beginning of the baroque epoch (from 1620) the beard is out of fashion and from1680 moustaches also disappeared. Up to the middle of the 19th century, a clean-shaven face prevailed. After the 1848 revolution, moustaches and beards once again became a mass phenomenon in Europe. From the second quarter of the 20th century a reverse process started: clean-shaven faces dominated the appearance of men. The alternation of clean-shaven and bearded faces as a mass phenomenon of men's fashion and men's preferences can be considered in connection with the change of men's ideals prevailing in both the historical periods. During the prevalence epoch of the ideal man, mustaches and beards prevailed in fashion since they are always perceived as natural as well as the brightest features and symbols of manhood. On the contrary, with the beginning of the transition of the public's awareness towards the feminine side of men, faces of men have become clean-shaved; men's secondary sexual features in the form of hair on the face are removed. Prevailing tendencies are always typical for various strata of society independent of profession or public status. But social strata, which preserve independence and continuity of its appearance traditions always, exist.