Did you come here do see some women with beards? We have a collection of images from the 14th century, all the way to the 21st century (six out of the seven are genuine cases). Some of these women once used their abnormality to make a living as a circus sideshow performer.
Hirsutism is a type of hypertrichosis (an abnormal amount of hair growth over the body) that occurs in women and children. The condition affects 5% to 10% of women of child-bearing potential. Those who suffer from hirsutism may have a hairy chest, abdomen, or a even a beard like a man. Although hirsutism is obviously a cosmetic issue, it may also be a sign of a serious condition.
A name for extensive cases of hypertrichosis is werewolf syndrome. The reason is because the appearance of the sufferer is similar to the mythological werewolf creature. For some interesting examples of people with hypertrichosis, visit our article called Human Freaks From The Past.
What Causes Hirsutism?
Not all cases of hirsutism have a known cause. However, common causes are from higher than normal androgen levels, or some medications (such as anabolic steroids and glucocorticoids).
Is There Treatment For Hirsutism?
There are several forms of treatment for hirsutism. While some women may benefit from various medications, other methods may include hair removal (such as waxing and laser hair removal).
Above is an image that shows the normal distribution of hair on the female and male body. Androgenic hair is defined as the terminal hair that develops on the human body both during and after puberty.
The 14th Century
Out of the seven women on our list, the only one who never existed is Wilgefortis (which emerged in the 14th century). She is a saint of popular religious imagination (formerly in medieval folk Catholicism). You can probably guess what her distinguishing feature is. Yes. It is a large beard.
The 16th Century
#2 Helena Antonia
We briefly mentioned Helena Antonia in a past article about human oddities. Antonia was a court dwarf of Maria of Austria, Holy Roman Empress in the 16th century. Even though she had a beard and looked a lot more like a man than a women, she was still loved by people. Antonia even became a personal favorite of Margaret of Austria (Queen consort of Spain and Portugal).
The 19th Century
Krao was born in Siam (which is now known as Thailand) in 1876. Unfortunately, she was not only born with a beard, but also with her body completely covered with hair. Of course, her extremely rare abnormality eventually sparked the interest of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
When Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was first introduced, of course many people thought it was completely ludicrous. That is, until Krao came along. Although Krao was called “The Ape Woman”, she was also thought to be Darwin’s missing link. Of course, Krao was never proven to be “the missing link.” She was just a human being who lived with an extremely rare condition.
#4 Annie Jones
Annie Jones (July 14, 1865 – October 22, 1902) was born in Virginia. She was a bearded woman who toured with showman T. Barnum as a circus attraction. Jones eventually became extremely successful with her career and was considered to be the country’s top “bearded lady.” She even became a spokesperson for Barnum’s exhibit of human freaks. Jones tried to eliminate the word “freak” from the circus business. Even today, the exact cause of her condition is still unknown.
The 20th Century
#5 Clémentine Delait
Clémentine Delait (5 March 1865 5 April 1939) was a French woman with a beard (shown above). Delait and her husband kept a café in France. As you can see, her beard was immensely long.
One day, Clémentine visited a carnival and saw a bearded lady with some stubble. She bragged that the women’s beard was nothing compared to the beard she could grow. To raise the stakes, Clémentine’s husband decided to bet 500 francs (the basic monetary unit of Switzerland and several other countries) that she would grow an even better beard than the woman at the carnival.
The couple was likely very happy with their decision to place the bet. The reason is because the unusual bet brought in more customers to their café. They later changed the name of the café to Le Café de La Femme a Barbe, “The café of the Bearded Woman”. Clémentine also came up with a brilliant idea to make easy money. She decided to sell photographs of her with her long beard.
The 21st Century
#6 Jennifer Miller
Jennifer Miller (born in 1961) currently lives in New York City. She is a famous American circus entertainer, a writer, and also a professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. For most of her life, Miller has had a beard. However, instead of just being depressed and hiding from the world, she took advantage of her odd condition, and made a career out of it. Miller is very talented, and to entertain people, she does some amazing and risky work (which includes juggling and fire eating).
#7 A Bearded Lady Shares Her Stories Of Being Bullied
The following YouTube video is about a 23-year-old woman who talks about her challenging life as a bearded lady. Her condition was caused by polycystic ovary syndrome. Hair started to appear on her face at the age of 11. Although she used to treat her condition with shaving, waxing, and other methods, she now accepts the way she is. The woman has chosen to leave her hairy face alone.
Since the age of just 16, she has been growing a beard. Unfortunately, allowing her beard to stay on her face has caused her to be bullied and treated unfairly. She has been called many cruel names. One of them is “she-male.” After posting YouTube videos about female facial hair, she even received some death threats. Understandably, this caused her to hide from the world, and even have suicidal thoughts. The woman has even been told to use the men’s restroom because she was mistakenly thought to be a man. What a challenging life this woman lives everyday. Today, she says she is very happy with the way she looks, and is now working as a teacher’s assistant.
Do you know of any other women (famous or not) with a hairy face? You may be one who suffers with hirsutism. Fortunately, there are still good people in the world who accept others regardless of their differences. They understand that although they may look different than most people, they are still human beings. Thank you for reading our fascinating post on seven women with beards.