Friday, September 23, 2011

Won't Miss #369 - facial hair prejudice

Okay, this guy definitely isn't helping the image of facial hair, but give him a break. This picture was taken at a summer festival, not at the office. You'd all look less than ready for Wall Street in 93 degree heat and high humidity at a crowded public gathering.

When my husband came to Japan in 1989 seeking a job, his brother, who also lives in Japan, recommended that he shave off his beard. In fact, my brother-in-law for many years would remove his facial hair when applying for jobs because many Japanese companies view it as dirty, untidy, or lazy to sport facial growth. They tolerate beards and mustaches more from foreigners, but there is always a risk that you will lose a small edge in a competition for a job unless you are clean shaven. Personally, I find beards very becoming and they are, after all, the default state of a male face.

I won't miss the prejudice against male facial hair and the way in which it means you see very few men with beards in Japan.