Since she was my mother, I listened and I tweezed and tweezed and tweezed praying to God that it would disappear, but it neverdid. I’d do one side and then get tired and think, Oh my God, this shit sucks. There was also some in between my breasts, but they were finer than usual and not as dark as the ones on myface.
I’m African-American, so my hair is naturally thick and curly, but it’s extra coarse, like amid-thigh. I was the only woman I knew who had to shave her face every day. The hair on my arms and legs didn’t bother me too much.
How did you know it wasn’t the same amount of hair most other girls develop during puberty? I’d get stubble within 12 Did you tell your family? I can get away with about two days between leg shaves.
When I looked at the women in my family, I knew I was different. In the locker room, when we were changing into leotards, I saw that other girls didn’t have noticeable hair on their “lady parts.” When I started to get interested in boys, I wanted to show off my legs, but I looked like a beast. I told my mom, who just said, “Tweeze it, the hair will go away.” I love my mom to death, but that was the worst advice. From the top of my sideburns to the bottom of my neck, and it would take about two or three hours. But I’d lather up my nipples real good and very carefully shave everything off.
For hirsute women, the appearance of thick, dark hair on places not usually deemed “feminine” kicks in during puberty, and it affects 5 to 10 percent of American females.
While conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome can cause the growth of such unruly hair, idiopathic hirsutism usually has no underlying cause, other than a higher-than-usual prevalence of androgens (i.e., Women with the condition tend to grow thick, dark hairs on their back, upper-lip, breasts, chin, chest, or tummy, and battling the fuzz as well as the stubble and ingrown hairs associated with removal may lead to frustration and insecurity.
While there are treatments available, like a drug called Spironolactone, which blocks androgen receptors and reduces testosterone, or creams like Vaniqa, many are costly.In addition to cost concerns, taboos about feminine hair growth, or just sheer embarrassment, can prevent women from seeking treatment (let alone spreading their legs at a waxing salon or presenting their beard to a professional for laser hairremoval).There are, of course, those who chose to embrace it, like 23-year-old Harnaam Kaur, who was the only woman to pose for a recent photography exhibition celebrating facial hair (she’d been growing her whiskers since she was 16), or performer and Pratt professor Jennifer Miller, a modern-day bearded lady who proudly subverts the nineteenth century “freak show” staple and used to declare in her sideshow act that “hair is a symbol ofpower.” Science of Us recently spoke with Renae M.Gylbert, a 32-year-old program analyst from Virginia who is living life with a full beard caused by idiopathic hirsutism (Gylbert has a blog and You Tube channel dedicated to thesubject).When did you first notice that you had more body hair than other girls? My sister and I laughed about it and I shaved it off and just went about my business.Later, when I was about 15, I found myself with a freaking beard. The hair is thick and dark and it goes from my sideburns to my neck and my chin.