Let’s Stop Judging Women With Facial Hair

women facial hair

The number of women with unwanted facial hair isn’t very small. Hirsutism, a condition that results in excess facial hair, affects 17 per cent of women. And most of them go through a lot of trouble and stress trying to contain the condition. 

Women suffering with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome usually have hirsutism, though not all women with PCOS show this symptom.

Pressure to remove excess facial hair causes depression

According to a study in the Journal of Pschosomatic Research, 68 per cent of hirsute women avoid social situations because they are self-conscious. Another survey found that 30 per cent of women with facial hair are depressed.

In an interview with Marie Claire, Alma Torres, 24 from Bronx spoke openly about her noticeably thick facial hair.

Torres says that she began shaving in eighth grade. “I shaved my sideburns — they were thick and long. It was a bad idea. They grew back thicker,” she recalled. “After that, everything went downhill. It was like everybody was talking about it. It was so bad that I stopped going to school. I dropped out.” 

Torres spoke about how she used to shave her face four or five times a day for around 8 years. She even got facial piercing to distract from her facial hair. The woman had become obsessed and would even carry razors with her everywhere she went

Last year, she decided to stop shaving. She was suffering too much. In a post on Facebook, she said that she had suffered from depression, anxiety and mood swings. Torres said she has had suicidal thoughts, and has cut herself. She decided that she would stop listening to other’s beauty standards and accept her facial hair.

“You just have to embrace yourself and who you are,” Torres said.

Cosmetics industry benefits from popular standards

There are more than 10 million cases of hirsutism in India, and the only people benefiting from it are the companies in the hirsutism treatment market.

A joint study, conducted by Assocham and research agency MRSS India, says that India’s cosmetics and grooming industry market size is expected to rise manifold to $35 billion by 2035. The survey proves how obsessed the country is with beauty and grooming.

The global hirsutism treatment market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.6 per cent and will reach 5.2 billion dollars by 2023. This industry is fuelled by the media and entertainment industry, which shows lanky, hairless models on magazine covers and TV shows. 

From a young age, we are told that moustaches are for boys, not girls. Girls are bullied in school if they have even a bit of excess facial hair. The grooming pressure sometimes starts as early as when a girl is 9.

Grooming is a personal choice. And if hirsute women decide that constant hair removal causes them too much stress, their choices should be respected. 

Also Read: Why Visits to Beauty Salons are Nightmarish Experience for Many

Picture Credit: BBC