If I’m being honest, I’ll admit that I appreciate a full, well-trimmed man-beard. While some people might see a man’s unshaven face as rough and barbaric, I know I’m not alone in viewing a well-kept beard as a sign of maturity, authority, and having a general indie-hipster persona. At first glance, trends like beards or tattoos may initially spark connotations of “deviance” or “relapse” from growing up into sophisticated adulthood. But our Millennial generation is turning the tables so that these trends are viewed alongside innovation and professionalism without as much conflict as before.
Yet, deviant is probably a word a lot of older generations would still call Millennials as we enter college and flood the workforce, thereby shifting social structures. Whether it’s a rise in the neutralization of gender roles, normalization of the LGBTQ community’s presence in society
or finding specific work where one doesn’t have to hide their tattoos or shave their beard, Millennials are carving themselves into the world and not taking no for an answer.
By firmly planting our feet on new ideas and things we believe in, we have caused a ripple effect that is gaining attention. As our generation moves from being radical high school and college “kids” into adulthood, little by little change is happening as older people grow to respect us more, having grown into a significant portion of the voting population.
The skull or naked lady tattoos of gruff, stereotypical bikers have evolved into works of art. The fact that watercolor tattoos exist shows that the idea behind getting inked is not about rebelling, but instead about individuality and self-expression through art. A well-kept beard is increasingly more likely to be found on a man walking around wearing a dress shirt and tie in a position with just as much authority as his clean-shaven colleagues. Facial hair is attributed to being “classy” instead of “being lazy.” While seemingly a small thing, issues of individual appearances and professionalism are being normalized and are no longer as conflicting as before.