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These are not, however, the only "texts" "from the period that equate being a man with having a beard Similar formulations appear in a wide range of sources: medical treatises, physiognomy books, poetical works, and tracts on gender.
[8] Thus, for every portrait of a man without a beard, there are about ten portraits of men with beards.
Portraits and stage plays were not, however, the only early modern documents to equate being a man with having a beard. Indeed, there are many other texts from the period which do so.
Valerian, for example, clearly manifests this anxiety when he states that "it hathe bene euer a monstrous thynge, to se a woman with a beard, though it were very littel" (10).
Magdelena is said to have a beard that is "more like that of any bearded gentleman than that of a woman." If we take this statement to its logical conclusion, it suggests that a woman could have a beard, but that this particular beard is more like that of a man.
For Banquo, the presence of a beard "forbids" him from calling the witches "women." The dilemma here is that Banquo is presented with "incompatible" or "discordant" parts.
The book argues "that Nature gave to mankind a Beard, that it might remaine as an Index in the Face, of the Masculine generative faculty" (208).
By now it should be clear that during the early modern period, the growth of facial hair was insistently mapped onto social roles like soldier and father, and that those roles were in turn linked to having a beard. In fact, these sources demonstrate the extent to which the somatic and the social contours of "manhood" were imbricated in one another.
Holme lists the different stages of masculine development according to hair growth: he begins with the "child" who he says is "smooth and [has] little hair." Then, he defines a "youth" as having "hair on the head, but none on the face" and finally defines a "Man" as "having a beard" (391).
The implication of this statement is that marriage without a beard is even worse then heterosexual intercourse outside of marriage ("wenching"), presumably because such a marriage would not offer the possibility of reproduction and would thus have "degraded" the institution itself.
Beatrice complains that she "could not endure a husband with a beard on his face" (2.1.29-30) and that she would "rather lie in the woollen." But when Leonato suggests that she might "light on a husband that hath no beard" (31-32), Beatrice dismisses the notion:
He that hath a beard is more than a youth; and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.
She categorically states "he that hath a beard is more than a youth." Moreover, she subsequently implies that she considers a beardless male to be "less than a man." This formulation recalls that of Bulwer, who, as we have seen, insists that the man who shaves away his beard becomes "less man." Indeed, in Beatrice's description as in those of Bulwer and Valerian, the beardless youth is virtually transformed into a woman.
But even though the beardless youth is distinguished from the bearded man and subsequently rejected as an appropriate husband, the scene also makes it clear that these categorizations are not entirely fixed since Leonato at least offers the possibility that Beatrice might "light on a husband without a beard." Nevertheless, we might ultimately say that in the process of fashioning a portrait of the exemplary husband, these Renaissance sources work to construct an antithesis between men and boys through such gendered "signs" as beard growth and generativity.
And Inez van Lamsweede's The Widow (Red) of 1997 is a disturbing image of a solemn child cuddling a bearded man.