Thanks in part to trailblazers on social media, there's been a lot of discourse on the sensitive subject of how women's body hair is perceived over the past few years. Celebs like Miley Cyrus have proudly posted selfies with armpit hair on full display. And teens in the UK and France have inspired others to share pictures of their natural body hair. Now, Australian blogger Tina-Marie Beznec is pushing the conversation forward by sharing her experience with facial hair, which she explains is triggered by Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). For those unfamiliar, the syndrome causes ovaries to overproduce androgens like testosterone, which can spark the increased growth of facial or body hair. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, PCOS affects up to 10% of women.
In a Facebook post timed to correspond with PCOS Awareness Month, Beznec shares images in which she shaves her face. She writes, "Hi my name is Tina and I have Polycystic ovary syndrome. As well as depression, anxiety, infertility, weight gain, hormonal imbalances, bloating, abdominal pains, acne, cysts, increased risk of cancer and everything else, a lot of woman [sic] including myself have to deal with facial hair!” While Beznec chooses to shave the hair that naturally grows on her face, others with PCOS go au natural — including the newest Guinness World Record holder for Youngest Female with a Full Beard, Harnaam Kaur. But regardless of their different choices to keep or remove facial hair, both social activists emerge with the same battlecry: one of self acceptance, raised awareness, and compassion for others.
“I've always been super self conscious about it, but really just have to put this out there because I want create more awareness around this syndrome and how much it can impact someone's life especially if they don't know they have it,” says Beznec. “When you see someone who is overweight, has bald patches, or a woman who has facial hair DO NOT JUDGE.” And most importantly, as Beznec points out, a woman’s health should take top priority. “If you think you may have Polycystic ovary syndrome please don't be afraid to reach out and seek medical advice,” she writes. "It's a hard battle but the sooner you get diagnosed the sooner you can manage your symptoms.”