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The history of the beard in under three minutes

The Greek philosopher Protagoras famously said that “man is the measure of all things.” That may very well be true, but if man is the measure of all things, then what is the measure of a man? We would argue it’s his beard.

History, apparently, is not on our side. Since around 300 BC, a clean shave has been the norm throughout most of the world. Every few hundred years, however, beards have sprouted back onto the scene. The historian Christopher Oldstone-Moore, author of the book Of Beards and Men, refers to these hairy periods in history as “beard movements.”

Like a triumphant symphony, the history of the beard has four movements (so far!). Learn all about them in the latest installment of our Womansplainer series.

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