My interest in this topic started early on in my transition from MtF. Of course the focus was then on hair removal. You know the rules and all I am sure. Women are not allowed to have hair on there face, legs, arms, underarms, bikini line, breast, etc. But of course if it is light in color that is okay. We are allowed to have hair on our eyebrows but only if tweezed. So my interest began with a simple question: why? Why can men have body hair? Why should women have to shave? When did this all start? Who made the rules? There are a number of answers to these question.
One of the main arguments offered as to why women should shave there bodies is because body hair is in some way unclean. Is it only unclean for women? What about men?
As a Nutritional Consultant I approached the topic of Body Hair asking: “is body hair unhealthy?” In my research I have come across a number of interesting tidbits.
Shaving Armpits and Breast Cancer (video)
“Concerns have also been raised by a study, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, about the fact that the aluminium salts found in antiperspirants and deodorants are applied directly under the arm, adjacent to the breast. If the underarm area is already damaged from shaving, it has been suggested that aluminium may enter the body more readily to affect the lymph nodes nearby.”
Huggins-Cooper, Lynn (2008-03-19). Live Organic (52 Brilliant Ideas) (p. 48). Infinite Ideas (Trade). Kindle Edition.
So if all the above is true… How do you as a transgender woman deal with the issue of body hair?
This is a tough question and one that I have wrestled with for some time. As a transgender woman this takes on an interesting dynamic. What about passing? In response to this I would like to share with you a few more links.
Body Hair: Trans Women Struggle with that Shit
Hairy Chested Smile Explosion – This is a buddy I met on fb who does not have PCOS and is not transgender. She has all sorts of body hair. She is okay with her body hair. She has taught me that I do not have to demonize my body hair.
In finding the above information I have had to ask myself does my body hair define my gender identity? No! My identity defines my body hair.
– Sister Abigail
So what about passing?
Not sure how to pass for anything really if you think about it. I mean just think about simple task of going to the restroom? One sign says Male the other says Female. Let me interpret that for you. Male = Get Beat Up! Female = Get Yelled At!
I have come to the conclusion that all I can do is be me. I am a woman with or without body hair. I am a woman with or without surgery. I am a woman with or without your approval.
So when the hair starts growing on my chest I am still a woman. When the beard starts to grow I am still a woman. This simply put means that my gender is not defined by my organs or body hair. The beard is now a lady beard. Gonna stand with my friend ZEE and try to make this a style. Baldness well its not “male-patterned” if its on my head! Anyways I think I have said all I need to say on this topic.
Now You Will Never Get A Date
This statement assumes first that there are no men in this world who are into hairy women. This is far from true considering the number of hairy women porn fetish crap sites that appears when searching for information on Hirsutism or Natural Hairy Women. When it comes to finding dates my body hair is my “superficiality meter” or as Phoenix Floe calls it her “douchebag detector”. Clearly I am not looking for someone who hates body hair. I also heard this same line when I started to transition. The response was simple for me. Transition and have the chance to be turned down or not transition and not have the chance to even try.
Where Do I Go For Support
Fortunately I have a roommate that I have talked to about this who is supportive. My adopted family is supportive. My church has yet to complain about my underarm hair. Those are the first places that I looked once I built up the courage to present in all of my hairy glory. There are other places on fb that are of benefit. Where you can also find support. Look for WANG (Women Against Non Essential Grooming) or Body Hair Aware. Be sure to check them out.
“I respect the fact that you are a woman and all but…
… if you are going to be a woman you really need to shave!”
Yeah so I guess my fashion statement has it’s down side. People act as if I am unsure of my identity. They act as if my growing facial hair is a man thing. They think I am taking a step backwards. Or am I? Could this be a sign of progress?
Well, let me tell you a story. The door bell rings its early on Saturday morning and I throw on some clothes and start to answer the door. But suddenly something stops me any I say wait just a minute I will be right there. Why didn’t I just answer the door? Well as is the issue every morning for myself and numerous other transgender women in this world we cannot just answer the door without shaving. I mean what would people think? Would we out ourselves? Has the social aspect of our transition been derailed? Why can’t I just answer the door? Oh God Women Can’t Have Facial Hair. Women Cant Have Beards. Gotta go shave and put on my makeup!
I have come to the conclusion that my being unable to go outside without shaving. My being unable to post a picture or video on my youtube channel cause I have not shaved. My being unable to answer the door just because I have hair on my face. My fear and inability to do so is a neurosis! OMG! What if they see hair on my chest? It’s a neurosis! It is debilitating!
Finally after almost 2 years on hormones I am comfortable enough in myself that I can open the door. I can go into public with facial hair. I can laugh off the rude comments. Folks I am not going backwards. I am confident enough in myself and my identity and transition that I am not ashamed of body hair.
So what are the benefits of not shaving?
Do not need to buy shaving cream, razors, hair removal creams, wax etc.
I can create a new fashion trend
It opens the door for discussion about being transgender
It visibly stands against oppressive beauty standards
It gives me the chance to be an advocate
It has many health benefits
You give trans*girls a bad name! We just want to be seen as NORMAL GIRLS, why the fuck would you make a blog promoting facial hair?!?!
As a trans*woman who lives full time in my preferred role and expression I came to realize that I could not even answer the door without shaving. That my friend is a neurosis and is bondage. What I have found is that my identity is not wrapped up in my facial hair. It is not wrapped up in my body hair. I am a woman. This does not mean that I do not shave but that I am able to embrace my process (even with all of its imperfections) of transition. I am not telling anyone not to shave. I am simply pleading with folks to embrace people’s self-identified genders regardless of there imperfect (which is subjective) presentations. I am calling for trans folk to have more of a positive and real transition experience. As to wanting to be seen as normal girls I would like to invite you to visit www.phoenixfloe.tumblr.com to see a normal cis woman who has decided to embrace her body hair. Also www.lookitszee.tumblr.comwho is a trans* woman who is reclaiming her beard for women of all birth assignments. The fact is that all women have body hair. Some choose to shave others don’t. Thanks for your comment and I would love to discuss this further with you.
At The Sister Abigail Show we promote an atmosphere of Body Positivity. This will be one of our central themes. The will be numerous post on this and we will enjoy your input both positive and negative. Blessings!
Click Here To Visit Sister Abigail At The Ladybeard Project!