Hirsute Self-Love rather than Self-Loathing or Other-Lust
If you are different, queer, ‘other’, a bearded lady, or something else, the only two choices are not – be persecuted or be fetishised, be hated or loved for a mere body part/characteristic, be single and lonely or stuck in a settled-for second-best relationship.
“Don’t be grateful [for second-best] … Because someone out there will “actually” love you for who you are.”
That quote is from a great post by Little “Beardy” Bear Schwarz, a queer non-binary woman who just happens to have a beard.
Yes, that is possible. Various medical conditions (e.g., PCOS), and/or intersex variations, can mean that a woman’s hormones produce the extra secondary sexual characteristic of facial hair that can rival or beat that of some men’s attempts to grow a lumbersexual beard. Most would shave continually, indeed Schwarz did for 17 years. A rare few like Little Bear or Balpreet Kaur embrace the difference and are part of humanity’s out-and-proud diversity.
“I don’t need to perpetuate an idea that having being female-bodied and bearded is WRONG, as it is not. I am beautiful as I am.” – Little Bear Schwarz
Standing Out from the Crowd
But difference marks one out for mostly unwanted attention – abuse, curiosity, investigation, fetishisation, exclusion, or intervention and normalisation.
If you are different, othered by birth, choice, or accident, in some way, going unnoticed is not an option, there is no radar to fly under, you are under constant view and scrutiny.
“How do I assert that no one who chooses to live out loud is “asking for it?” Catcalling, entitlement, and body shaming exist among all people and to all genders. However, there is an expectation among people like me whose appearance is deemed “othered.”” – Lil Bear Schwarz
Fetish, Kink and Body Shaming
Schwarz says with bucket-loads of self-respect that:
“If all you can do is reduce me down to one small aspect so you can add me to your fetish collection, it is YOUR LOSS, because you are missing out on all the other things that make me beautiful.”
At the same time as Schwarz not wanting to be body-shamed, nor do they kink-shame, as they clarify on Twitter:
— Little Bear Schwarz (@LilBeardyBear) March 30, 2015
On Labels and Definition
Whilst labels can be limiting, they can also be liberating. These are just some of the other words that Little Bear uses to describe, but not necessarily to define, themselves by:
“Bearded Lady, sideshow performer with Wreckless Freeks, opera/showtune singer & fan, writer, editor, spoken word artist, poly/pan, NB, SJW, and casual chef.”
GenderQueer and Gender-full
Another word they use is “GenderQueer” or the fabulous “genderful” to describe their male-female blend, fluidity and, when performing, their focus on a part of the gender spectrum.
“Being both genderqueer and being billed as a “bearded lady” presents no conflict to me because it is not as much inaccurate as it is just incomplete. My gender identity is what I call “genderful” – a blend of masculine & female elements and everything in between.
— Little Bear Schwarz (@LilBeardyBear) October 25, 2014
See the full, pulling no punches, personal blog post by Lil Bear Schwarz on Ravishly, whose tagline is “There’s no wrong way to be a woman”. If you want to follow Little Bear more, having read their post and for all the right reasons, then they are on Twitter @LilBeardyBear and Facebook.
Loving yourself for who you are and how you look become even more vital to self worth and survival if you stand out in a crowd, in a non-stereotypically beautiful way. It is, in the end, the only route to self-confidence and happiness, and the best way to guarantee that anyone you choose to be with is with you for you, because you don’t need their affirmation, it is just the icing on the cake of self-love and self-respect. Genderqueer beard, beautiful person, and all.