Woman called ‘disgusting’ and told to shave BEARD but has ‘grown to love’ her furry chin

A woman embraces her “luscious” beard, growing to love her facial hair despite years of bullying and societal pressure. Diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome at 20, she defied traditional beauty standards, sharing her journey online and inspiring self-acceptance.
the woman with bizarre facial hair is now growing to love herself despite years of bullying and societal pressure. Diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome at 20.
Share
Tweet

A woman who started growing facial hair as a teenager has revealed how she has grown to love and embrace her “luscious” beard.

Gennevieve Vaillancourt, 40, noticed thick sideburns growing down her face at the age of 14, which soon grew down the sides of her face to create a thick moustache.

As her facial hair continued to develop into a beard, she says she was bullied “heavily”, and called “weird and disgusting”, as well as being heckled in her former workplace by customers who told her to “go shave”.

READ MORE: ‘Cruel trolls call me weird for relaxing in a DOG CAGE – but I don’t care as it’s helped me heal,’ reveals influencer

Despite struggling with feelings of self-hatred and shame, Gennevieve has learned to embrace her natural self, growing her beard out to its full length, and sharing her journey to self-acceptance on social media.

“I spent a lot of time in the past feeling embarrassed about my facial hair and trying desperately to hide it and to hide myself,” Gennevieve, from Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada, told NeedToKnow.co.uk.

the woman with bizarre facial hair is now growing to love herself despite years of bullying and societal pressure. Diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome at 20.
Gennevieve Vaillancourt. (Picture: Jam Press)

“I’ve received many negative comments over the years around my facial hair.

“I’ve been bullied at school, called names like ‘weird’ and ‘disgusting’.

“I’ve been yelled at when I worked in retail from angry customers who told me to ‘go shave’ – even when I was removing the hair.

“I’ve experienced negative comments from relatives and strangers, but most of that happened when I was younger, and when I was removing my facial hair.

“I struggled accepting my facial hair for many years.

“I hated it and removed the hair via waxing, and shaving to hide it.

“I experienced a lot of social anxiety and fear that others would notice it and make negative or embarrassing comments.

“I eventually got into the routine of shaving my face every other day, because my skin was too sensitive to shave every day, and I felt like I was in constant hiding, planning my social life and career around ‘shave days’.

“It was exhausting, embarrassing, and a lot of work!”

Gennevieve was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) at the age of 20 and learned that the condition can cause excessive hair growth.

the woman with bizarre facial hair is now growing to love herself despite years of bullying and societal pressure. Diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome at 20.
Gennevieve Vaillancourt. (Picture: Jam Press)

Despite struggling to accept her beard, in 2021 at the age of 37 she decided to make a change.

Gennevieve, a confidence mentor and transformational speaker, said: “One day I woke up and realised that the only time I truly looked at my face in the mirror was on the days I was removing my facial hair.

“Despite having a smooth face for a few short hours, I felt really terrible about myself, especially on those days.

“I felt like I wasn’t feminine enough because of the stubbles and my lack of monthly cycles fuelled this negative narrative.

“Those years were really hard, and I remember thinking the self-loathing would never end.

“My facial hair and all the societal judgments about it did make me feel really vulnerable, and when I started embracing and befriending that vulnerability, the shame became less.

the woman with bizarre facial hair is now growing to love herself despite years of bullying and societal pressure. Diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome at 20.
Gennevieve Vaillancourt. (Picture: Jam Press)

“I started shifting my mindset to challenge the traditional beauty standards we’re taught to follow as girls and women and started focusing more on what I see as beautiful in people and in the world.

“I changed my entire narrative around beauty and instead of it including words like ‘hairless’ and ‘thin’, I shifted my definition to include words like ‘authentic’, ‘genuine’, and ‘soft’.”

She decided to start opening up on social media, sharing her story and pictures of her facial hair on Instagram and in online women’s groups.

She also started hosting a monthly virtual event, Hairy Ladies Rising, for women on self-love journeys.

Gennevieve said: “I was shocked with the overwhelming support and encouragement of women from all over the world, of all ages.

“This really fuelled me in the beginning of growing my beard out.

“I began to see my beard as powerful instead of embarrassing and I began challenging myself to step outside of my comfort zone by getting visible online.

“Suddenly my beard became a way to connect with people and inspire people to love their whole selves too.

“From that point, I knew I had to keep sharing my story because it’s such a great opportunity to use something that creates so much shame for women and naturally happens to us, to create acceptance, representation, and transformation in the world.”

the woman with bizarre facial hair is now growing to love herself despite years of bullying and societal pressure. Diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome at 20.
Gennevieve Vaillancourt. (Picture: Jam Press)

Since fully embracing her hair, Gennevieve says she actually receives less negative attention than before.

She explained: “Now that I have fully grown out my PCOS beard, I get a few stares when I’m out in public, and sometimes a comment or two, or people trying to take a photo of me, but I get a lot more support than negativity.

“I receive support, love, and connection from women on a regular basis because of it.

“I think that’s a really powerful shift in our culture, and it makes a big difference for all of us ‘hairy girls’.

“In my work with hairy women, I see a lot of women who experience deep fears of being seen as their whole, hairy selves due to the potential negativity they may experience from others or have experienced in the past.

“I’m happy to see people changing their judgments to be more inclusive of hairy women because it really does impact a lot of women who feel embarrassed and unworthy due to growing facial hair and body hair.

“I’m so thankful now that I have embraced my beard because my confidence, business, and life have flourished since making that choice for myself.

“I’m so much happier now that I have embraced my whole self.”

READ MORE: ‘I thought swollen glands were from GCSE stress – it turned out to be cancer,’ says girl, 16

More you may like