“What time is it, and how do we get out of here?” asked comedian Amy Poehler while she presented an award towards the end of…
Woman, 30, who decided to stop shaving her thick body hair reveals she’s not put off by people who tell her she ‘looks like a man’ and even lets strangers stroke her 3cm-long beard
- Bethany Burgoyne, 30, has polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal imbalance
- The condition which one in ten woman suffer from, causes body hair to grow
- Bethany decided to embrace her natural self by not shaving
- Is proud to show off her beard and even let’s other people stroke it
Despite being told she looks like a ‘man,’ this woman is embracing her beard and even lets others stroke it.
Artist, journalist, and creative entrepreneur Bethany Burgoyne, 30, from Essex, has been embracing her body hair since 2018. Like many other women, Bethany was pressured into shaving her body hair whilst growing up, believing that her body should fit certain ideals set by society.
At the age of 27, Bethany began to question these ideals – especially why she was ridding of her body of hair and whether this was something she was doing for herself or others.
She began to embrace her leg and armpit hair and slowly, she realised how absurd the idea of hair removal was.
Bethany grew proud of her body hair and has since embraced it in other areas of her body. No longer caring what others think, in early 2020, Bethany ceased removing her chin hair and allowed the hairs on both her chin and neck to grow freely.
Some called Bethany a ‘man’ and told her she ‘needed a shave’ but she isn’t put off by these detractors and now has a three centimetre long beard.
Bethany Burgoyne, 30, from Essex, pictured with her facial hair. She hopes to spread her message to help other women embrace their natural look and even let’s people stroke her beard
She now has her own sex positive and body positive show, The Sassy Show, which helps empower other women
Since refusing to shave her hair, the artist and entrepreneur been told that she looks like a man
When she was 29-years-old, Bethany discovered she had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a hormone imbalance that affects around one in every 10 women worldwide.
The condition can cause abnormal hair growth but instead of worrying about the extra removal, Bethany began sharing her story online, under the handle @bxsassy, to show other women that it’s okay to be hairy.
During this time, Bethany came across the online hairy fetish community and grew fond of how the community celebrated hairy women. She went on to establish her own body-positive and sex-positive workshop called The Sassy Show.
Bethany runs sensual circles and stretching classes to encourage others to embrace their bodies without shame.
Attendees open up to Bethany about their insecurities and she’s even shared intimate moments with similar-minded people who enjoy stroking Bethany’s body hair, because she believes touch – with consent – can reinforce pride and confidence in others.
Bethany advises those who worry about their body hair to focus on feeling safe, secure, and beautiful in their own bodies. By showering yourself with compliments, Bethany claims that before long, you’ll truly believe it.
When she was 29-years-old, Bethany discovered she had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a hormone imbalance that affects around one in every 10 women worldwide
Bethany was pressured into shaving growing up but now she flaunts her natural hair and even has a three centimetre long beard
‘For a couple of years, I put my attention on questioning and unlearning what I’d been taught about female body image,’ Bethany said.
‘This helped me recognise the absurdity of beauty standards and allowed me to take back control over feeling good in my own skin without manipulating, removing or enhancing anything.’
‘I see now that we can be the person we wish to see – for me, that was a woman who had hair on her body and was proud to show it off.
‘It was thanks to the pandemic and being in the privacy of my own company that I started to grow out my chin hair.’
She believes that as long as we feel safe and secure in our bodies, it shouldn’t matter what anyone else thinks
‘I felt safe to do this without the judgement of others seeing me. The more I looked and touched the hairs on my face and neck, the more I realised that they were a gorgeous part of me and that I could feel good and proud of my appearance.’
‘When people ask about my beard, it can come with judgement or teasing remarks about me being a man, needing a shave, or assumptions that I am transitioning from female to male.’
‘This highlights the gender binaries that exist within our society and often, I will try to be patient and transparent in my response.’
‘I explain that I am a hairy woman who is happily growing out her hair. This tends to lead to more communicative and open conversations about why we assume women shouldn’t have hair on their face.’
She now lets others stroke it during her empowerment classes and says that each interaction makes her braver
‘Each interaction makes me feel braver, more eloquent and certain in my confidence that what I am doing is the right thing for me.’
‘It’s known that women who have PCOS will often see an increase in their bodily hair growth. That statistic alone reminds me that I am not the only hairy woman out there.’
‘However, due to toxic beauty standards and gendered norms, the pressure on women to be non-hairy everywhere and anywhere results in so many of us investing in procedures such as laser hair removal.’
‘I want women to recognise how they can be spending their time and money on far more important things in life – that their self-worth and wonder should never rely on fitting the suffocating ideas of female appearance that we are sold.’
Bethanywas diagnosed with PCOS at 29-years-old, in which excessive hair growth is a symptom
‘To start with when I discovered the hairy fetish community, I was frustrated by the many online hairy fetish loving accounts that are on apps like Instagram.’
‘By talking to the people who set up the accounts, I found they were all run by men which meant the sexual objectification frustrated the die-hard feminist in me.’
‘However, through these interactions, it was confirmed that the images shared are always with the consent of the women whose pictures are used.’
‘This made me recognise how much love and celebration there is for hairy ladies like myself. We are wonderful and every image I see builds a sense of confidence. I love the support.’
After embracing her own body hair, she began sharing her story online to show women that body hair isn’t something to be ashamed of
Bethany went on to establish her own body-positive classes.
‘A large part of my work is running body-positive and sex-positive workshops for The Sassy Show,’ Bethany said.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, the condition that affects one in three women in the UK
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work.
The three main features of PCOS are:
- Irregular periods – which means the ovaries don’t regularly release eggs (ovulation). This can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant.
- Excess androgen – high levels of ‘male hormones’ in the body, which may cause physical signs such as excess facial or body hair.
- Polycystic ovaries – the ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs (follicles) which surround the eggs (it’s important to note that, despite the name, if you have PCOS you don’t actually have cysts).
Source: NHS Choices
‘I have been piloting private sensual circles and stretching classes that encourage people to embrace their bodies and their desires openly, without shame.’
‘Through platonic massage and supportive conversations, people have respectfully shared and shown their love of hair on human bodies.’
‘It’s such a small thing really, but because as a society we constantly tell people they need to change their appearance to be deemed attractive, our self-worth becomes warped.
‘These workshops have reinforced my confidence and pride in my own skin, as well as being able to be open to letting others enjoy what they see and, with consent, touch.
‘By sharing my appearance transparently, on the streets as well as online, I want women to know there is nothing abnormal about having a luscious amount of hair growth.
‘Accepting and growing my hair has allowed me to let down my wall of insecurities and defensiveness. This has not only meant that I can be completely myself around those I love and care about, but I also have so much more fun.
Bethany has been embracing her hair since 2018 after she started questioning why she was shaving it
‘I used to worry that someone I’m intimate with may not like what they see when I’m undressed.’
‘Now, thanks to the respect I have for myself and my body hair, I know there is never anything to lose sleep over.’
‘Plus, my hair can’t be ignored – so if someone chats me up, they’re already in for the ride. My friends and family are super, they support me endlessly and so many of them have started to experiment with growing out their hair rather than hurrying to remove it.
‘I cherish all the support and honesty that comes my way and feel so grateful to the people who reach out and tell me they are embracing their own body hair wonder. It fuels me.’
‘I recognise what a powerful experience it is seeing ourselves in one another; it’s thanks to so many other sassy women that I’m even standing here proudly hairy today.
‘If you’re thinking of joining the movement, be patient and loving to yourself. Some days might feel worse than others, some outfits may feel awkward to wear, and sometimes people will say things that hurt.’
‘You define your own sense of confidence, and the only person who needs to be showering you with compliments is yourself. Look in the mirror, touch your body, start to change your mind set by simply telling yourself how beautiful you are.’
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