A woman with thick body hair says she is mocked for “looking like a man” but has now embraced her tufts and even lets others stroke her beard.
Bethany Burgoyne, 30, an artist from Essex, UK, has been growing out her body hair since 2018.
While growing up she felt pressured to shave her body hair and that she had to fit in with society’s “toxic” beauty standards.
But, at 27, she began to ask why she was removing body hair and whether she was doing it for herself or others.
Coming to the conclusion that hair removal is a ridiculous idea, Bethany began slowly embracing her leg and armpit hair.
After becoming comfortable with these areas, she began to let her leg hair grow out, and then her belly, and even her chin – where she has now sprouted a three centimetre-long beard.
Some called Bethany a ‘man’ and told her she ‘needed a shave’ but she isn’t put off by the unkind comments.
Last year, Bethany discovered she had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a hormone imbalance that affects around one in 10 women worldwide.
The condition can cause abnormal hair growth but instead of worrying about buying a whole heap of removal products, she began sharing her story online.
Under the handle @bxsassy on Instagram, she shows other women it’s okay to be hairy.
As she started her own social media journey, Bethany found the online hairy fetish community and grew fond of how they celebrated women growing hair.
She went on to establish her own body-positive and sex-positive workshop called The Sassy Show.
The classes involve sensual circles and stretching to encourage others to embrace their bodies without shame.
The workshops provide a safe space for people to discuss their insecurities, and Bethany recalled intimate moments shared with people at the class stroking her body hair.
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, she says with time you’ll truly believe it.
The “privacy” of the pandemic gave her the time to grow out her chin hair, she adds.
“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.
People often attach rude judgments to questions about Bethany’s body hair, but explains she is happily growing out her hair.
“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”, she said.
“I explain that I am a hairy woman who is happily growing out her hair.