Traditional beauty standards have enforced the idea of hairless bodies for women as a typical standard goal to achieve. But how realistic is this and how long shall women continue to be slaves of such repressive societal norms? Facial hair is a sign of “MASCULINITY” for one gender while it is “NOT FEMININE” enough for the other gender. Even a simple Google search asking why women have facial hair will lead you to a bunch of ads showing how to remove facial hair with different products and methods. Twenty-two percent of women in North America have unwanted facial hair, which can cause embarrassment and result in a significant emotional burden (Shapiro, J., & Lui, H. (2005) and treatments for unwanted facial hair. "Skin therapy letter," 10(10), 1–4.). The statistics show a very compelling number that not many people talk about. Instead of talking about it or educating people about the relevant causes of facial hair growth – vast amounts of time and money are spent into removing facial hair. Apart from time and money, the emotional toll caused by facial hair is unimaginable. According to a 2006 British study, 40 percent said they felt uneasy at social gatherings and 75 percent reported to have clinical levels of anxiety. Let that sink in!!
Getting familiar with the numbers, we can now focus on the causes. One of the most common reasons for women to experience facial hair is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It is one of the most common endocrine disorders and hirsutism is one of the most common symptoms of PCOS. It can also be due to tumors in adrenaline glands and other conditions exhibiting unnatural levels of testosterone. The treatment includes consultation with a gynecologist or an endocrinologist to determine the specific treatment needed to treat PCOS or other conditions as specified.
With increasing awareness, women have started coming forward to challenge the outright meaningless beauty standards. One such empowering person is Harnaam Kaur. She has led a huge social media campaign of how she has accepted hair that grows normally and urges people to acknowledge all kinds of hair as natural hair. She has a full-grown beard and proudly braids it or adds funky colors to challenge the stereotypes surrounding facial hair. It is time that we own our bodies and embrace it gracefully. Resisting stereotypical norms will pave a path for the next generation to have self-confidence. We did not sign up for hairlessness and should not be subjected to it. Self-love is one of the key factors in determining self-confidence. Facial hair is just normal hair. It has nothing to do with your femininity. You are as much a woman with facial hair as without. Start resisting. Start evolving. Start learning.