“ESPN Factor” noted as limiting facial hair growth amongst leadership


After two decades of employment persecution and nearly being shaved out of existence forever, the Mustached American is back and prospering in the U.S. workforce. However, as a new survey conducted by the American Mustache Institute and Wahl Trimmers reveals, the freedom to wear facial hair in the workplace may come with a price.

Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 12.15.44 PMNearly 92 percent of the 1,109 people who participated in the Workplace Mustache Survey believe mustaches are appropriate attire for the workplace and 65 percent feel facial hair should be encouraged at work. Despite the overwhelming acceptance of facial hair on the job, only 30 percent of those surveyed said they were supervised by a worker with a mustache, indicating a “facial hair ceiling” in the American workplace.

“It’s encouraging to know that nine out of 10 Americans surveyed believe mustaches are appropriate for the workplace,” said American Mustache Institute Chief Executive Officer Dr. Adam Paul Causgrove. “But it would appear there is a definitive ‘facial hair ceiling,’ if you will, presenting Mustached Americans with fewer opportunities for advancement and leadership than their clean-shaven counterparts.”

In addition to the disappearance of facial hair amongst most global CEOs, U.S. politicians and heads of state, AMI’s Dept. of Research & Anthropology cites a direct correlation between the lack of facial hair among the on-air talent on the ESPN sports network – noted as the “ESPN factor” – in driving the “facial hair ceiling.

“Clearly, the ‘facial hair ceiling’ is very real, and as the most rabidly consumed information sources for today’s male ages 21-48, there is an ESPN factor at play here,” added Dr. Causgrove. “Yet our study demonstrates that the unreasonably clean-shaven standards the network sets are no longer the status quo. The smooth-faced tyranny of Kirk Herbstreit, Kenny Mayne and Scott Van Pelt will continue to crumble as Americans seek more powerful, sexually dynamic living.”Chart-AssocWithMustAmer

The survey also showed a perception of the Mustached American as a hard-working and impressively sculpted co-worker, yet surprisingly less tan, rebuffing the a deep historical perception of the archetypal-bronzed Mustached American of the 1970s. Additionally, more than half of respondents associated Mustached American lifestyles with excessive alcohol intake (69 percent) and being persistently well-groomed (60 percent).

Understanding the conservative nature of the corporate business environment, Ben Phillips, master barber for Wahl Trimmers, suggests the following tips for grooming for the workplace:

  • Choose the right style – The key to a well-groomed look is to understand what style works best suits your face. Start with something less risky and work your way up.
  • Get help from a pro – A professional barber can help you define the look you’re going for. Simply bring in a few photos of styles you want and they’ll take it from there.
  • Keep it clean and detailed – The best way to look polished and put-together is to keep it clean and detailed. Regularly trim your facial hair and keep your lines.

With acceptance of Mustached American lifestyles seemingly growing overall — a vast majority of those surveyed (93 percent) said they would recommend a job opening to a mustached friend while 78 percent said they have either considered or are currently enjoying a sexually dynamic Mustached American lifestyle – AMI’s Dr. Causgrove believes more work is needed.

“Our job is far from over,” he said. “Through our partnership with Wahl Trimmers, we will fight this issue and we believe it is only a matter of time before a sexually dynamic Mustached American lifestyle proliferate popular culture as it did in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and we can look to the abundance of facial hair among professional athletes as an example of this cultural change.”

Among the 1,109 people surveyed, 67 percent reported being of Mustached American descent, 65 percent of the audience identifies as being employed in a white-collar workplace while 35 percent identified themselves as being employed in a blue-collar professions.

The full white paper and details of the Workplace Mustache Survey can be founded at AmericanMustacheInstitute.org.

To see a gallery of workplace friendly mustaches visit wahlnation.com.

The American Mustache Institute, the bravest organization in the history of mankind behind only the U.S. Military and the post-Jim Henson Muppets is the world’s only facial hair advocacy and research organization with more than 800 global chapters. The organization battles negative stereotypes and discrimination against the Mustached American community and is committed to recapturing the 1970s-era glory years of Mustached American culture when there existed a climate of acceptance, understanding, and flavor saving for people of Mustached American heritage.

A quarter-century ago, Wahl recognized the desire for well kept facial hair and created the trimmer category. The Wahl Groomsman was the world’s first battery operated facial hair trimmer, and featured the same type of blade quality that defined Wahl clippers. And for the past 25+ years, that innovation has continued, developing trimmers for specific facial hair styles – beard, goatee and mustache – and other variations including ear/nose, body grooming and all-in-one. Wahl introduced the first trimmer to harness the next generation of lithium ion power that continues a legacy of superior trimming innovation.

  • BeardedWordsmith

    Just happened to run into this entry in researching for a commentary I do weekly for a non-profit blog at the Society of Bearded Gentlemen. I am a beard advocate of 26 years (and bearded that long), with a virgin moustache going back 42 years. My experience in lower level management to entertainment to owning my own company has been mixed;

    • BeardedWordsmith

      (continuing): the moustache enjoyed good acceptance through 1987 and the beard was an inner and outer urging, coming forth for its permanent placement September 27th of that year. Where life has been rough as a bearded man is in the job market, with many cases of discrimination handed to me in forms from ignorance to harsh bias. The worst was experienced approaching an advertising agency seeking employment in Hartford, CT in the early 2000s, where the hiring manager said my beard would not be accepted. The retort was short and to the point: ‘If you cannot accept the fact that I am a bearded man, then I will not accept lending my talents to an agency that is openly discriminating against men!’ I did not even give the person a second glance, abruptly ending the conversation and leaving.

      Over the years I’ve helped many men overcome beard bias in the workplace and to the credit of recent actions in court plus media coming aboard with programming and entertainment advancing bearded men, we are now in a full-on change of attitude around the world. Shows like Duck Dynasty and Whisker Wars have done more to give men control of their appearance while making the case that a ‘stache, beard and/or long hair are no contributing factors at all to vagrancy, disease, dullness or laziness.