Updated: Jan 27
Sorry to disappoint dog lovers; this is not about a cute little pooch named Scruffy. Rather, it aims to offer a commentary, and a request for responses, about why the advertising industry wants us to believe that an unshaven, un-groomed male is the image we, as men, should strive to attain.
Ladies, what is it about men who are scruffy-faced and unshaven that appeals to you? Is there an aspect of female and male biology that I missed in my sixth grade biology class, where having a week old growth of whiskers on your face makes you irresistible to the opposite sex later in life?
I must have missed something, because when I do watch TV, there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of commercials that feature scruffy-faced actors peddling some product. The majority of these actors tend to be young (no big surprise there), but even if more mature actors are involved, the scruffiness is evident.
Has the unshaven, scruffy face become the latest form of 'secret handshake' into the male fraternity? Has the droopy-pant generation morphed to a new form of identity crisis or rebellion against being clean shaven and at least partially groomed?
Ladies, does that scruffy face give you goosebumps when those stubbly hairs are close enough to tickle (or irritate) your skin? Do you see it as a sign of masculinity or virility in your partner? Does it arouse something in you to be seen in public with a scruffy-faced partner? There must be something to it otherwise the advertisers and ad agencies of the world would not be selling this image.
Ladies, forgive me. I know full well that you are not the reason for scruffy-faced men. You see, in this age of media advertising, men are just as susceptible to being targeted and manipulated as are women. A never-ending stream of studies and reports confirms the serious negative effects of advertising on self esteem. And why does this advertising persist? You know the answer - money. Advertising agencies and advertisers alike recognize that one of the best formulas for success in selling a product is to use a combination of youthful actors, unrealistic and photo-shopped body images, exotic locales, higher end (expensive) backgrounds, romance, and sexual innuendo.
Similarly to how women are frequently manipulated by advertising images that are unrealistic and unhealthy, men are also manipulated with images that use facial hair to convey subtle messages of masculinity, virility, and dominance in order to market and sell products.
So let me jump back to my initial question for the sake of soliciting feedback. What is it about an unshaven, scruffy-faced man that is attractive to you? Is such a look attractive to you? The advertising world obviously believes this image is compelling, otherwise it would not be used so pervasively in their marketing. I would be genuinely interested in hearing back from any readers who might like to respond and offer some insight into this topic.
Here's one school of thought:
And, another point of view: