Have you heard the name Harnaam Kaur? I hadn’t before today, but as soon as I heard her story I knew I had to share it! Harnaam is a 24yo young woman with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), and like some women with PCOS she has hirsutism, a condition in which women experience male-pattern hair growth on their face, chest, and/or back.
However, unlike many women who use shaving, waxing, plucking, and other hair removal techniques to get rid of the hair, Harnaam has made the decision to embrace her facial and body hair and now proudly displays her beard. She has spoken publically about her decision, and has explained that she spent many years being bullied for her appearance and even reached a point where she was having suicidal thoughts. It was during a period of deep depression that she came to realize that she was more than just her appearance and that by allowing her beard to grow she could challenge societal ideals about what a woman should or shouldn’t look like. Embedded in Harnaam’s brave statement is the underlying idea that all women deserve to feel happy and comfortable in their own skin and that instead of criticizing and shaming our perceived flaws we should be proud of our differences. In Harnaam’s own words, “I have realized that this body is mine, I own it, I do not have any other body to live in so I may as well love it unconditionally.”
To see some of Harnaam’s beautiful photos check out her Instagram feed (https://instagram.com/harnaamkaur/).
For more information about PCOS visit http://youngwomenshealth.org/2014/02/25/polycystic-ovary-syndrome/.
-Social Worker Ashley