So this photo set by Andie deRoux is almost a year old (wow!) already, and many things have changed since - namely, my beard’s longer, my hair’s greener, and some of my tattoos have changed. But I still adore it, and it’s a great series. enjoy.
I'm curious about the born woman post. Does she take hormones. Her facial hair is pretty thick, I've only every grown a few whiskers but she almost has a small beard. Just curious.
Nope. Some females are just naturally hirsute. There are a lot of women at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival with beards or full mustaches. Check out the 30 sec mark.
This includes femmes:
(It is hard to tell, but the woman driving that tractor has a good beard. And she lives in the South.) Sometimes these women shave during the year and only grow out their beards on the land, sometimes they sport them all year long.
But they (we) are all clear that those beards and moustaches are part of their female experience, even though they aren’t supposed to be. We now live in a time where a woman who looks like that must be trans, right? If you look like that you must be a man, or wanna be a man. But they aren’t. They don’t wanna be. They are clear about who they are.
It is why I laugh when people who are anti-Fest talk about how we are gender tyrants, or that we all look the same: which is privileged, “old” white women. They have no idea what happens there; they just blindly believe what they are told. Michigan is the most diverse expression of the female body you will ever see. We show the full expanse of what it means to be female. We were “genderqueer” before anyone knew what that was. We aren’t allowed to even comprehend in our day to day lives that women live and look the way we do at Michigan. It is what women would be if we were just allowed to be; without the male gaze. If we were just allowed to be in our skin like how we popped out into the world.
One of the beautiful things about my 20+ years at Festival was truly internalizing how seriously effed the standards of beauty females are supposed to adhere to are. And it isn’t all about sex, but one of the things that has also been amazing about festival is that all these things that were supposed to make us feel like undesirable freaks meant nothing there. Nothing. We were all just another face of female. Hairy, really tall, fat, old, whatever. You suddenly realize how little we even see! When was the last time you saw a sexy as hell grey-haired butch? When was the last time you saw a gorgeous as hell femme with a beard? Never? Probably. But there she is on the Land. And those are two tiny samples.
You can’t go back once your small box of beauty and possibility gets smashed open. When you realize that somewhere there are a lot of women living happily in their skin, as is. It is why we fight so hard to keep this space. It is why others fight so hard to destroy it.
If you have no shame about who you are, you cannot be controlled.
This is a photo I took from festival last year; try to read that small print in the bottom left hand corner. If you can’t, the answer to the question is:
“Our society warps our mirrors. Do not fret, my love, on our Land you see clearly.”
The Bearded Ladies Cabaret and singers from Opera Philadelphia present an evening devoted to the life and legacy of Andy Warhol, using human-sized pop-up books, operatic performances, and a rock band. The performance will offer a sneak peek into this brand new Bearded Ladies piece, which is set to premiere in July at the Wilma Theater (Philadelphia).
Bring your own T-shirt for hands-on silk screening and you too can be a Pop artist!
Got that ladies? This non-op white male with gender normative facial hair is widening what it means to be a woman, especially for all you ladies out there who grow copious amounts of facial hair without taking hormonal supplements.
Stopyourbitchin’. Remember, white males always do everything better; they can even woman better than you.
These women are widening the bandwith of being a woman.
On Bearded Lady costume, identity, gender, appropriation, sympathy, & respect.
From the Desk of Bear,
In the past I’ve spoken out about my issue with women “dressing up as” bearded ladies as a costume, only, of course, to get sad-emoji comments from women who do just that. (With drag queens it’s less - but not automatically exempt - because they’re usually working with their naturally grown beard) Here’s the thing: I’ll expand. I don’t have an issue with people dressing up with bearded ladies DEPENDING ON CONTEXT. So here’s my revised sentiment. With “carnival culture” slowly coming into vogue, and drag becoming more gender-bendy (which is cool), I’m seeing lots of bearded lady COSTUMES out there. For those of you women AND drag queens who “dress up as” bearded ladies, please allow me to ask: What is it you are going for? Not an attack; just a question. What is your “bearded lady” attempting to convey? Is it humor? Ask yourself: why are bearded ladies funny? Is it gross-out or shock? Wow, that’s fucked up. Why would you perpetuate that? Is it to give empowerment and visibility to an underrepresented form of femininity? AWESOME. You have my utmost respect. Is it to gender bend? …..ok. I get this, I get gender bending, I get what is happening. But I feel like pairing “girly” things (glitter, lashes, mascara, heels, etc" with a beard being called “gender bending” subtly implies that the beard is “the male part.” Hair - including facial hair - is genderless. Some people FEEL more manly or more girly with it, and I get that. Especially in the case of people who suffer with dysphoria, I understand (even if I don’t relate) with the growing OR removing of hair can feel personally validating. But hair itself doesn’t have gender. If I told you how often I had to hold my tongue every time someone implied my being bearded was “embracing my masculine side….” whoo, jesus fucking christ. NO. I am - with, because of, AND regardless of my beard, am a very very femme being. My beard doesn’t compromise or subvert that. It EXPANDS it. See, while I don’t think, maybe, it’s at the level of problematic-ness of dressing up as Native American princesses or Geishas or Vodou priests as halloween costumes, the fact remains: This is my IDENTITY. It’s not a costume. It’s not a “LOL, look at me,” that I can peel off my face when I get offstage. I’m as much of a bearded lady when I go grocery shopping as I am when I’m lying on a bed of nails or singing opera, or stripping. I’m not - NOT NOT NOT - saying I *own* this identity. I’m not saying you can’t dress up. I’m not saying it CAN’T be yours. All I am saying is that if “bearded lady” is part of your persona - whether it’s for one night or one lifetime - please please please, treat that respectfully. Please remember that some of us can’t “take it off.” Please don’t make it a punchline. Because I am NOT a punchline.
(if this contains any problematic language, or something I said came off as really offensive, please let me know, and I will do what I can to explain myself better OR apologize.)