Good Beards vs Bad Beards

When I decided to work on a film about beards, I heard a lot of stereotypes of ‘bad’ guys and their toxic behavior.

The simple beard can be polarizing, bringing up ideas of men who are either:

good:  spiritual, sexy, jolly
bad: lazy, unkempt, sinister.

But of course, nothing is so black and white.

Below is an overview of the old, toxic form of masculinity and resources for a new way of thinking about masculinity for the 21st Century.


an archive

What is toxic masculinity?

Basically, it is a term used by gender studies scholars to identify masculine cultural norms that when followed, result in behaviors that are harmful to society.

The problem isn’t gender- the problem is behavior.

And much of the behavior and adherence to the norms are a result of masking insecurities.

“We are all just struggling to fit into this social norm, that defines people as us and them.” Beard Club


outdated and on the way out 

Here are some forms of toxic masculinity that may someday feel as outdated as using leeches to cure disease.


Fighting, yelling, exerting power against another person’s will.

Sexism / Sexual Harassment:

Belittling, berating, using women, making unwanted advances.

Need to be #1:

Where winning at all costs was glorified.

Bro Culture:

Entering a clique of men is built upon the exclusion of others and putting others down.


Picking on others who are perceived as weaker.

Always Being Right:

Talking over people, asserting their point of view, ignoring other people’s ideas and needs.


resources for the new masculine

Let’s get real. There is no 21st Century man.

There are 21st Century Humans trying to do the right thing, be real, be happy, make a difference in their world and the world around them. It just so happens that being a human takes work. It takes work monitoring both your thoughts and your actions.

And there are people out there supporting this work.

By the way, Beard Clubs and Handlebar Clubs are real and at least in my interactions with the clubs in Berlin and the Seattle area, the guys in these clubs are having fun, doing good for their communities, and growing awesome beards!
Here is a list of clubs. (jump to club page)


skills, ideas, platforms

Here are some other ways guys are helping guys be 21st Century men.  This is a list of resources that I discovered on my search for positive and helpful content.

Removing the Mask
Book: The Mask of Masculinity

by Lewis Howes
Book Website: maskofmasculinity.com

Description: This book breaks down the masks men wear and shares strategies on how to remove the mask in order to gain richer relationships and happier lives. Howes includes stories from athletes to actors who have let down their masks.
YouTube Interview: Check out this interview by Tom Bilyeu on Impact Theory, What Makes a Real Man?

Understanding the Gender Politics of Art
Book: The Art of Seeing

by John Berger
Book: Ways of Seeing, on Amazon

Description: Published in 1972, John Berger was a 21st-century male ahead of the 21st century. Here he reflects on the way women have been portrayed, as objects, in art and advertising since the 1400s.
YouTube Video: From the BBC 
Pt 1: The Impact of Photography on Art
Pt 2: Portraying the Female

A New Conversation about Masculinity
Blog: The Good Men Project

founded by Tom Matlack
Link to Blog: goodmenproject.com

Description: Described as “a glimpse of what enlightened masculinity might look like in the 21st century.”

The Cost of Being a Man
YouTube: The True Cost of Being a Man

by The Financial Diet

Description: This video outlines six costs, many costs you may not expect including loneliness, the financial impact of shopping, loss of parenting time and more.

The Art of Listening
Blog: Learning the Manly Skill of Paying Attention

from Art of Manliness
Series on Listening: in three parts
Pt 1-Learning to Pay Attention;
Pt 2-Techniques;
Pt 3-Crafting Good Questions

Description: The Art of Manliness offers up articles on topics from home repair to mindset. I chose the topic of listening because it’s an important skill for all genders.

Retreats for greater connection

founder, Dan Doty
Website: evryman.com

Description: Retreats and workshops designed to help men connect to themselves and others.

YouTube Interview: The Ground Up Show (starts at 1:27) Looks at the importance of addressing our emotions, and the simplicity and freedom you get from disconnecting into the wilderness.

Helping Boys Navigate Masculinity
Programs for Youth and Adults

by Maine Boys to Men
Website: maineboystomen.org

DescriptionExperiential workshops, rooted in a broader view of masculinity, empower boys, girls, men, and women to notice and intervene in potentially harmful situations long before they become violent

On Raising Black Boys
Essence Video

Interview with actress Gabrial Union
Watch Video

Description: Union offers a vivid picture of how it is to grow up as a black boy in America today, and the struggle a parent has in fostering a healthy pride while instilling the need to exhibit submission to survive.