Evolution in the Perspective of Facial Hair in Women

Evolution in the Perspective of Facial Hair in Women

By Sahana

Evolution in the Perspective of Facial Hair in Women

In ancient legend and myth, women were praised for growing beards out of pure piety and sexual purity. Hippocrates claimed that out of love for her spouse Pytheus, the goddess Phaethusa of Abdera grew a beard. In the early 1800s, whiskers were so popular that women wanted to grow sideburns on their faces. This was revealed by historian Dr. Alun Withey as he found old advertisements for grooming products. Today, we have grooming products to remove the very same facial hair from our faces as we no longer perceive it as attractive. From whiskers being so fashionable to the point that women often drew them using pencils to lasering them away forever and undertaking painful treatments, the way we perceive facial hair has evolved over time. 

The urge to eliminate female facial hair is a sequence of inconsistencies that are both natural and regarded as unhealthy, and it symbolizes the most fundamental patriarchal principles. Women have been keeping this a secret nowadays. It's a dreadful secret, so dark that great amounts of time and money are spent trying to keep it concealed from lovers and friends. The fact that we have facial hair is a misfortune, not a crime. It's a characteristic that is typical for one gender but bizarre for another, common but thought to be odd. It's not nearly so simple in reality. The boundaries between male and female body hair are far more ambiguous biologically than people realise, according to Merran Toerien, a PhD candidate whose dissertation focused on the removal of female body hair. 

Even though we want to reject it, we still follow it

The temptation to get rid of facial hair is just as illogical; many women recognize it as a ridiculous societal expectation, but they nonetheless carefully adhere to it. Because these tiny hairs stand for the most fundamental tenets of patriarchy, disobeying them puts your reputation and even your dignity in danger.

Hirsutism, a disorder where "excessive" hair grows on women's bodies in a masculine pattern, affects about one in fourteen women. But many more women who don't even approach that threshold of "excessive" nonetheless experience extreme discomfort as a result of their body hair. There is a measuring tool that some guys have created for you if you're confused if your hair growth counts as "excessive" for a woman.

This is why some women get hair on their faces

According to a 2006 British research, women who have facial hair spend 104 minutes a week on average grooming it. In the survey, two-thirds of the women admitted to routinely inspecting their facial hair in mirrors, and a third admitted to routinely caressing it. Facial hair now comes with an emotional cost. 75% of respondents experienced clinical levels of anxiety, and 40% reported feeling uneasy in social situations. They claimed to have a decent overall quality of life, but they frequently gave poor ratings for their social and romantic lives. Despite the fact that women's facial hair is often completely natural, they nonetheless experience all of this agony.

How did this facial hair stigma come to be?

When did we consent to the concept that women should have no facial hair? The quick response is that women have despised our facial hair for as long as males have been ‘researching’ it. Juan Huarte, a physician from Spain, stated in 1575 that "of course, the woman who has much body and facial hair (being of a more hot and dry nature) is also intelligent but disagreeable and argumentative, muscular, ugly, has a deep voice and frequently experiences infertility problems."

When it comes to our faces, these signposts are fixed, and they go beyond gender to include sexuality as well. According to Huarte, homosexuals, feminine men, and masculine women were formerly thought to be the offspring of the opposing sex. One important approach to comprehending the differences between "normal" and "abnormal" is through facial hair.

By boldly posting photographs of hairy female bodies, activists like Harnaam Kaur and social media accounts like hirsute and cute, joyful and hairy are also challenging these standards. Even women who do not overtly reject these ideals do so with great hesitation.  Some realise, on a cognitive level, how innately misogynist it is to expect women to be continuously cutting hair out of themselves, hair that grows naturally. But they can't seem to bring themselves to accept it and let it grow. And that’s okay! We must realise that facial hair is natural and has always been for both men and women. The only thing that has evolved is how we perceive facial hair, and we’re still a long way to regain acceptance or make facial hair fashionable again.

to know more about Body Hair and Gender read here 
to know more about Recognizing the Inner Beauty read here

Tags: #FacialHair #UnwantedHairGrowth #Facial #Features #Beauty #Qualities #UniqueFacialFeatures #SelfLove #SelfCare #SelfAcceptance #Pros #Cons #Confidence #Boost #Evolution #Society #BeautyStandards


  1. https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/nov/30/female-facial-hair-if-so-many-women-have-it-why-are-we-so-deeply-ashamed 
  2. https://www.healthshots.com/beauty/skin-care/facial-hair-in-women-lets-bust-common-myths/
  3. https://medium.com/periodmovement/a-brief-history-of-female-hair-removal-5ec6d0a92dac 
  4. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/15/women-used-grow-whiskers-bizarre-19th-century-trend-historian/ 
  5. https://showstudio.com/projects/hair/essay_bearded_ladies 
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