More And More Women Are Embracing Facial Hair
Over the last few years, it has become increasingly cool for men to rock a full beard.
From a handlebar/goatee combo to a thick pair of mutton chops, you will find gents sporting every variety of facial fluff artistry.
This free and easy approach to face fuzz hasn’t always extended to women, however, who have long been expected to shave or bleach away any tell-tale evidence of body hair.
I personally spent far too much time as a young girl worrying about visible armpit stubble and panicking about the tricky leg parts I couldn’t easily reach with a razor.
So many girls grow up thinking any hair below their eyebrows makes them instantly undesirable, which is crazy when you consider we are all just a big bunch of hairy mammals.
Although often viewed as being ‘different’, female facial hair is much more common than you might expect, for a wide range of reasons encompassing medical issues and genetics.
As society becomes more accepting of diverse ideas about beauty, many women are choosing to chuck out the wax and love their lady beards. And fair play to them.
Body confidence activist and model Harnaam Kaur has inspired many people with her full beard, sharing pictures with admirers through her popular Instagram account.
The 27-year-old suffers from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a condition thought to affect around one in five women in the UK. One of the symptoms of PCOS is excessive hair growth, known as hirsutism.
Harnaam was badly bullied for her unique appearance while at school but is now proud and open about her experiences of being a ‘bearded lady’.
Talking to UNILAD, Harnaam said:
Many women who have PCOS can connect to my story. My life has many layers to it which different people can connect to, and I hope to help and inspire everyone.
Despite her young age, Harnaam has already broken boundaries in the fashion industry. In March 2016, she became the first bearded woman to walk at London Fashion Week.
She is also spokesperson and representative for ‘Eff Your Beauty Standards’, a campaign launched by plus-sized model Tess Holliday which pushes for greater acceptance of diverse body types.
In September 2016, Harnaam was featured in the Guinness Book of Records for being the youngest woman to have grown a full beard.
Harnaam believes the challenges she has been dealt have helped shape her into the person she is today:
My diverse body has shaped me as a person. Most importantly, with or without my beard, I am still powerful.
I will always be a motivation speaker and my words will still help inspire.
I love my body and the way that she has formed, now I am here to help show others that they can love and cherish their bodies too.
Harnaam spoke with UNILAD about the stigma against female facial hair, which she feels is influenced by industries such as the media, advertising and porn:
We feed our conscious through our eyes. What we are continuously exposed to is what we will see as correct. The more we are shown an image that looks different to us, the more we wish to become like it.
I won’t shame one body against another, I am pro choice. The issue comes when one body shape and size is being put on a pedestal and is being portrayed as the norm.
Everyone is different, we should all be included and made to feel at home in society.
I also believe that as much as businesses and companies are to blame for their adverts and portrayal of one type of body, we also have a responsibility to take care of our mind, body, thoughts and soul.
Body shaming and bullying plays a big part when it comes to people altering their body. Being made to feel shamed for the way a body looks makes people want to change themselves to stop the taunts.
It takes a mentally strong person to stand up tall and just be authentically who they are.
Harnaam also discussed how more women are choosing to live with – and take pride in – their facial hair:
I believe that more and more women are beginning to realise and understand their worth.
There has been such a great development within the body confidence movement which is allowing woman to become more and more confident and comfortable within their own body; and so they should.
I understand that living with facial hair can be extremely difficult, especially for woman due to all of the ridiculous beauty standards set by society.
I would personally never force anyone to keep or remove anything in their body. I live by one rule ‘my body my rules’ and I hope everyone does too.
Watch Harnaam discuss her journey to self acceptance and body confidence below:
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I personally find Harnaam’s approach to life to be incredibly uplifting. I hope her story will embolden other people to embrace their unique differences, whatever they may be.
After all, it would be a boring old world if we were all the same.
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