A new study out of Australia has found that both men and women associate men with facial hair with positive attributes like attractiveness, masculinity, and good parenting ability. Interestingly, women’s positive response to facial hair was stronger during the fertile period of their menstrual cycle – which I assume means that women see men with stubble or beards as good choices to father their children.
Why is this newsworthy? Because so much of the cultural milieu for the past two generations has been dedicated to obfuscating gender differences – and to reassuring women that they don’t need men. And I suppose pointing out the socio sexual connotations of male facial hair does fly in the face of all that.
Testosterone, after all, is a key component of growing facial hair – and a man who can sport a full face is indicating a nice healthy male hormonal balance. In other words, he can guard the cave adequately and make enough babies with you to keep the tribe going. Women may say they want a guy who can appreciate smooth jazz and otherwise be in touch with his sensitive side, but when it all comes down to it, a key part of how we gauge attractiveness – whether consciously or not - comes down to basic evolutionary needs. That reality may fly in the face of feminist gospel but, it happens to be rooted in science.
In the very public and emotional debate over gun control (or, if you prefer, the "gunopoly" politicians are hoping to achieve), there have been a lot of people offering their voices and opinions. None are as prominent or as powerful as the victims of gun violence. Of course, they've been ushered to this position of prominence by agenda-driven politicians. It is my assessment that these people are being used as props and pawns, trotted out to surround the President and others when they speak. They are very effective in this role, and politicians know this. Their most powerful attribute is that most people are hesitant to respond to them because of the pain they've endured. It is treated as uncouth and met with sideways glances to respond to a Sandy Hook parent or Gabrielle Giffords arguments for stricter gun control. Though, it shouldn't be if one is offering a reasonable, intelligent, policy-based argument. The voices next to the President are powerful, not just because of the physical and emotional traumas they've suffered, but also because of the voices that are silenced in their wake.
Within the last week, a relatively unknown NBA basketball player named Jason Collins publicly came out and said that he was gay. Our busy President Obama (well, busy on the golf course) called Collins to congratulate him and to tell him how courageous he is. Michelle Obama then proceeded to send out a tweet, saying how proud she is of Collins and his courage.
Courage? Courageous? “The Free Dictionary” website defines courageous (or courage) as “Having or characterized by courage; valiant.” Valiant. Personally, I do not think announcing one’s sexual preference is courageous or valiant. I define it as “too much information” and “not anyone else’s business.”
At the same time Jason Collins’ story hit the news, a true story of courage emerged. Sgt. 1st Class Greg Robinson became the first amputee to graduate from the Army Air Assault School at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. I saw a television interview with this hero, and he said that he enrolled in the Air Assault School because he sent soldiers under his command to the same school. He fervently believed that he should not send others to do something that he had not yet done. That is when his journey in the Air Assault School began.
I often think about an incident at the 2007 Emmys, where Sally Field was accepting an award for her role as a soldier’s mother on the ABC show Brothers and Sisters. She proclaimed to the audience, “If mothers ruled the world, there wouldn’t be any god damned wars in the first place.” Unsurprisingly, her remarks were a big hit in the Hollywood crowd where she said them, but actress Patricia Heaton fired back, “I've actually become a more violent person since I became a mother, if someone came between me and my kids, they'd be dead meat. So I didn't agree with that particular statement." As a young woman at the time, the actresses’ interchange struck me as so poignant and reflective of the different ways women adapt to motherhood. Since then, I’ve often wondered if motherhood would make me a Sally Field or a Patricia Heaton.
After watching a recent video of an undercover visit to an abortion clinic, I became very discouraged. It's difficult to know what to do in the face of such evil. There is too much to combat with every passing news cycle.
It seems all political angles are advocating self--as a secular god of sorts. Most ideologies contain some form of the following, contrasting, and fundamentally flawed paradigms that both lead to tyrannical political constructs: (1) Self over Others, and (2) Others over Self. 'Self over Others' is a Social Darwinist philosophy that Self can never be wrong; while 'others over self' completely ignores the sovereignty of the individual by imposing majority values and mores. Both seek to dominate. Both ignore the solvent philosophy of submission, advocated by Jesus Christ, among others.