Woman Grows Beard For Movember: Siobhain Fletcher Turns Medical Condition Into Awareness [VIDEO]
Siobhain Fletcher has a hormone imbalance resulting from a bout of polycystic ovary syndrome that causes her to grow excess facial hair. While most women would keep this a deep, dark secret (Liz Lemon's 'Tom Selleck' springs to mind) Fletcher decided to embrace her face and grow a beard to show support for 'Movember,' the month-long awareness campaign where men grow ridiculous facial hair to support awareness for prostate cancer.
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"This isn't a sideshow. It's to raise awareness of men's cancers. To stop families losing a family member. And to help people with self-esteem issues to say, "it doesn't matter,' Fletcher told The Daily Mail. "People look as beautiful with facial hair as without it. People are neurotic about it - but I want them to see they can get out there. It's not as bad as they think."
Fletcher said she has raised £700 (appx $1,100 U.S.) so far for various prostate cancer charities. She joked that her sister offered her £50 to NOT grow a beard. Fletcher is using her 15-minutes of fame to shien a spotlight on self-esteem issues. As one would imagine, adolescence and dating are not easy for a woman who grows a beard.
"I had such low self-esteem,' she said. "I used to clip it off with scissors, and dress very androgynously. I got stared at a lot and got mistaken for a man. It took its toll. Even though I was pretty, I didn't feel like that."
Clipping the hair multiple times a week is the only viable remedy for Fletcher. As a woman who grows a beard it seems that the obvious solution would be waxing or lasering the hair away. Fletcher has tried both to no avail. An attempt to wax the hair removed almost as much skin, and her sensitive face couldn't handle the multiple waxings a week required of a woman who grows a beard. Electronically removing hair was also a failure, due in large part to how much hair grows in her beard.
"It didn't work - the hair grows up my cheeks as well," she said. "It was like trying to fell a tree in a forest."
Fletcher is using the whole 'woman grows beard' sensation to raise awareness about polycystic ovary syndrome as well. She hopes that when other women see a woman grow a beard they'll feel less ashamed about suffering from the same malady. Her goal is to simply inspire people who have strange features and feel like freaks to feel normal and face the world with some bravery. She said the response so far has been extremely positive.
"To actually go out there, and get out there, you see people still have manners. People may look, but mostly it's been very positive," she told ABC News. "I think only one negative comment on the whole of the Internet."
Fletcher is going to shave the hair at the end of the month, but not before meeting with a counselor who deals with kids with self-esteem issues to show them that it's OK to be different. After that, she might be known as the woman who grows a beard Johnny-Depp style.
"I was thinking about restarting in December," she joked. "And I was going to grow it like the Jack Sparrow beard from 'Pirates of the Caribbean.'"
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