BEARDS are back but what about the ‘Frida Kahlo mo’?
I initially felt sorry for her but the girl was so confident and sweet that this unfamiliar sight soon became no big deal.
She explained that she had polycystic ovary syndrome, which can cause excessive hair growth, and that she was a Sikh — a religion that forbids cutting or shaving body hair. While bullied as a child for being hairy, over time she had learnt to accept it and not care what people thought.
Most women I know, myself included, have some facial hair but we’d rather not talk about it. Facial hair is embarrassing. It is unattractive. Beyond eyebrows and eyelashes, it is unnatural on women. Right?
That’s what we let ourselves believe.
But in reality, most adult women spend a few minutes each day secretly plucking a few unwanted dark hairs from their chin, cheek, neck or upper lip.
We bring our faces close to the mirror in the morning sunlight, carefully normalising our embarrassing bodies for the outside world with a pair of tweezers.
And then there’s the bleaching, waxing or lasering sessions every month or so to keep up the façade that our faces are bald. Sorry to let the cat out of the bag, folks.
So the hirsute 23-year-old got me thinking — will there ever be a time when women celebrate, rather than obliterate, their facial hair?
Just as guys have ditched the razor in the recent beard revival — will a ‘Frida Kahlo mo’ one day be the hippest statement a girl can make?
Considering the tabloids still go nuts over celebrity armpit hair, I’m not counting the days.
But fashion aside, courageous feminists like mustachioed Flinders University women’s studies academic, Barbara Baird, have been going au natural for years. While some admire her body hair activism, others can’t get their heads around why she just doesn’t get rid of it. Even if she’s comfortable with her moustache — we’re not.
But each to their own. We groom our bodies in all sorts of ways, and for most of us, removing facial hair is just one part of an elaborate regime to make us feel hot, young and normal.
Some women say facial hair makes them feel masculine, so they remove the occasional whisker. No big deal. But if body hair is just for blokes, why do the most feminine women grow it?
It comes down to this. If enough of us gave up the tweezers, the sight of facial hair on women would be normalised and the stigma would eventually disappear. But I’m not about to go first. You?