Women like me have been keeping a secret. It’s a secret so shameful that it’s hidden from friends and lovers, so dark that vast amounts of time and money are spent hiding it. It’s not a crime we have committed, it’s a curse: facial hair.
What can be dismissed as trivial is a source of deep anxiety for many women, but that’s what female facial hair is; a series of contradictions. It’s something that’s common yet considered abnormal, natural for one gender and freakish for another. The reality isn’t quite so clear cut. Merran Toerien, who wrote her PhD on the removal of female body hair, explained “biologically the boundary lines on body hair between masculinity and femininity are much more blurred than we make them seem”.
The removal of facial hair is just as paradoxical – the pressure to do it is recognized by many women as a stupid social norm and yet they strictly follow it. Because these little whiskers represent the most basic rules of the patriarchy – to ignore them is to jeopardize your reputation, even your dignity.
It’s not the damn patriarchy. All humans have facial hair. Thicker facial hair – it’s that, not more generally – is a male secondary sexual characteristic. All humans (well, you know, as with alopecia and hair but….) have nipples and tits are a female secondary sexual characteristic. Some men have boobs, many have moobs and you know, that’s just how it works, secondary sexual characteristics don’t map exactly over primary ones.
And? You’re stupid enough to think that this is a product of a social set up?