Looking back, historically, body and face hair was a characteristic of men, while a smooth and hairless body was considered the ideal female body. But as the saying goes, every rule is confirmed by exceptions there are some who want it to change, some of whom are women with beards and men waxing completely.
In practice, Women with visible hair on their faces were often treated as attractions, and some were even exhibited at nineteenth-century carnivals.
However, it should be noted that in fact, approximately forty percent of all women have natural facial hair, which for most is a major problem and they even suffer from clinical depression. About 25 percent of them believe it has prevented them from progressing in life, and more than forty percent point to it as the main reason why they are unable to build relationships.
Fortunately for them, an increasing number of women are now rejecting the stigma around women’s facial hair and embracing the hair that grows naturally on their bodies.
Here we share the story of Harnaam Kaur, model, Instagram celebrity, and life coach. She is now 27 years old and suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is characteristic of millions of women around the world. Its symptom is known as hirsutism, and it is presumptuous in that it causes excessive growth of facial hair. Because of her looks, she had a lot of problems during her growth and at school, as other children bullied her.
However, this phenomenon did not stop her from being a successful young woman today and she became the first woman with a beard to walk through London Fashion Week in March 2016. In addition, she is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest woman to have a fully grown beard.
Living with the life of a “bearded lady,” Harnaame is very open and proud of her life and is currently working as a spokesperson and representative of the “Eff Your Beauty Standards” campaign. This campaign was launched by the great model Tess Holliday and its goal is to convince people to accept different body types.
Harnaame pointed out in her interview that thanks to the diversity of her body she was able to shape herself as a powerful person and that she loves her body and the way she was created. Using her example, she wants to help others so that they too can love and nurture their bodies, no matter how different they are from others.
Causes of Hair in Women’s Face and Body
Although all women have hair on the face and body, which are but usually very fine and light in color, when it comes to hirsutism, it causes hair growth that is coarse and dark, as in men.
Sometimes hirsutism is caused by a procedure called virilization, and then we can talk about women with male hormones.
Here are the other signs of virilization:
- Deepening the voice
- Reduced breast size
- Increased muscle mass
- Enlargement of the clitoris
Hirsutism is present in five to ten percent of women, and the Indian Journal of Dermatology published an article in which they point out that the main cause of hirsutism is hyperandrogenism (excessive levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone). This condition can be caused due to diseases of the ovaries, adrenal glands, or pituitary glands, but also due to obesity, metabolic syndrome, and certain medications.
Hirsutism can also be inherited, so it is more likely to be inherited if a woman’s mother, sister, or other relative has it. It is very present in women from the Mediterranean regions, South Asia, and the Middle East.
PCOS and hirsutism
PCOS is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age and accounts for three out of every four cases of hirsutism. It causes prolonged menstruation or excessive levels of male hormones in women, and the ovaries can develop a series of small follicles that fail to release eggs regularly.
The causes of PCOS are not yet known, but early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Other Causes of Hirsutism
Cushing’s syndrome: when your adrenal glands produce too much of the hormone cortisol (most often due to taking certain medications, such as prednisone).
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia: production of abnormal amounts of steroid hormones (cortisol and androgen) by the adrenal glands. This condition is most often inherited.
Tumors: on very rare occasions
Medications: Medications such as minoxidil, testosterone, danazol, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) can cause a state of hirsutism. The effects can even be transmitted if your partner uses topical products that contain androgens, by skin-to-skin contact.
Over the last few years, Harnaam has seen a shift in the way women are choosing to live.
Harnaam believes that in order to stand up and be their authentic self, it is necessary to be a mentally strong person. According to her, living with facial hair can be extremely difficult for some because of the beauty standards set for women. She points out that nobody can force people, but following the rule ‘my body my rules’ is the best what everyone can do for her/himself.
The Famous Bearded Ladies and Their Thoughts
There are many other women who are speaking out and challenging female body hair expectations, including:
1) Sophia Hadjipanteli
This model told Health that they don’t agree with a life where the next best thing is just scrolling away and that everyone has to fully develop their self-confidence. She adds that the networks should not hide things and show only what will have the best answer, but reality, so she did that by running #UnibrowMovement.
View this post on Instagram
2) Nova Galaxia
In a blog post for Graceless she completely agrees that women should not shave if they choose to, but she also asked herself and others like her, what to do with more hair than what is considered socially acceptable?
3) Scarlett Costello
She preferred eyebrow half, so she captioned this fierce and proud image of her unibrow.
View this post on Instagram
4) Shelly Riner
In an interview for Health, she said that she always had those dark, coarse hair all over her body (arms, legs, armpits), but as she is the type of person who generally doesn’t care what others think of her, it wasn’t hard for her to bring such decision to let her hair down.
5) Little Bear Schwarz
She pointed out in an interview with Health that the beard she has is the result of polycystic [ovarian] syndrome, which is not in itself harmful to her health, and she does not count it as a “mistake”, a “joke”, and at least a “tragedy” for her. . It is beautiful to her, and represents her nature and the crown of her femininity.
6) J.D. Samson
Until she realized she should be proud of the hair on her face, she tried to mask it, but after her mother and sister’s advice about it, she stopped worrying about it.
View this post on Instagram
7) Femina Flower
She says she can’t be called superhuman if she has the cutest little hairs on her nose, a baby mustache surrounded by pretty shaped hair on her face, healthy spots and unplucked eyebrows that look like those hairy caterpillars. She loves that state and enjoys her life.
As much as Harnaam advocates for women who accept their natural bodies, she points out that she will not shame one body against another because she believes that everyone should feel included and at home in society.
For her, the problem arises when one shape and size of the body is placed on a pedestal and presented as a norm imposed on others, instead of everyone having their own choice about themselves.