My entire existence should not be called into question over facial hair. I shouldn’t feel ashamed or feel like I’m turning my back on an ideal I held so firmly for so many years.
Growing up, I never liked facial hair. I hated the way it felt on my skin, the way I looked like a baby with a beard, and I preferred not being with men who had facial hair. I shaved every day to retain the smooth, youthful appearance. After all, it was my bread-and-butter when it came to dating.
Now, at 28, I’m growing a beard. A well-manicured beard, but a beard nonetheless. Again, I am confining myself with limits: no goatees because I never found goatees attractive on any male; no weird decorative beards; Duck Dynasty facial hair makes me gag; just short yet shaggy. I’m also finding myself very attracted to men with beards.
Right away, I see a difference in the way people approach me. I’m not immediately seen as a child or a ditz. Instead, people hold their judgment and talk to me with respect. But I often wonder if that’s true or if I’m just full of shit. People keep telling me how great the beard looks on me, how much they like it, and that I look much older. Am I projecting my own feelings onto others because I’m finally receiving some acceptance in the world?
I used to hold on to this feminine sense of self, and it took me a long time to accept that it was okay to be feminine. However, there were moments – and there still are moments – where I’m ashamed for being so feminine or where I’ve shamed others for being so feminine. Those moments, now, are few and far between. In fact, I often berate others for being misogynistic who say hateful things to fems.
But I used to be the one berated for being so femmy. I was judged by people for looking youthful, even asked if I was old enough to be working at previous places of employment. People talked to me about being “so young” as though I never lived a day in my life. Now, these episodes seem to be a thing of the past.
Currently, I’m at odds with the new facial hair and the false sense of self I held so tightly to in my femininity. After all, the most masculine of men wear beards. How can I be masculine while remaining feminine?
Then, I remember the music video to “Not This Time” by The 2 Bears, and there are quite a few bearded queens or queens seen in all their beautiful natural masculinity done in makeup and dressed with gowns. Combined with a beat reminiscent to disco ballads of yore, these fierce individuals do not worry about showing armpit hair, shaving chest hair, or completely covering their five o’clock shadow with foundation.
Masculinity and femininity are social constructs created to label and keep ideas separate. Women and men are two different creatures needed to come together to create children and replicate the Earth. However, women were seen as lesser, slaves to men used only to birth babies and take care of them. What was necessary in the beginning no longer needs to be in place. Thanks to technology, we don’t even need men or women, just skin cells to reproduce eggs and sperm to create test-tube children.
These social constructs can be deconstructed in order to allow us to be free. Why can I not be a male with a beard who wears eyeshadow and shiny red lipstick? So what if I want to wear a dress and prance around in high heels while showing off my hairy chesticles? Who cares that my high-pitched voice does not match my hairy, masculine exterior? It doesn’t reduce my amount of femininity or masculinity being both. Further, there shouldn’t be such a thing as an “amount”, specifically an “acceptable” amount, in order to be accepted or embraced.
I am an individual, a human being, with thoughts and feelings, and I matter. I also change and shift, and I will not always be the same. Nor will anyone else. So, why should it matter? It’s just a bit of hair.