A WOMAN with an impressive beard has shared the negativity she tackles on a daily basis from strangers offline and online – but despite the hate, says she “loves” her look.
Coral Renaie has spent the last 16 years shaving her face to please others but has recently grown tired of beauty standards for women.
She is now embracing her beard, a symptom of her polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – currently four inches long – and has thrown away her razors for good.
However, being a woman with a beard isn’t always easy, with the 30-year-old constantly having to deal with other people’s reactions – including nasty comments and stares.
But she is proud of her hairy face and says her partner, Illias, 25, loves it too.
“It had been a really painful journey, physically and emotionally,” Coral, a full-time content creator, from Kansas, US, told NeedToKnow.co.uk.
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She explained: “Starting at about four years old, I was getting darker skin on my neck, knees, elbows, and ankles, caused by insulin resistance associated with my PCOS.
“One person thought I was dirty and would tell me to scrape my skin in the bath to get it off.
“It was the first time I really felt shame about my body.
“Aged nine, I grew thick sideburns… […] and by 12, I was shaving my face daily.
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“I felt like shaving was the only way I would survive.
“In some ways, I feel like this is somewhat validated by the amount of hate I get online [now].
“They [people online] ask ‘what I am’ because somehow hair makes me not seem human, or if I’m a man or a woman.
“I get told that I need to shave – people love telling me what to do with my body.
“Others see my intentions and are supportive and kind.”
“Most of my followers currently are men, they seem to enjoy the view.”
“In person, people usually don’t confront me.
“I definitely get a lot of staring and sometimes they will get their phones out and try to take pictures.
“People need to realise that the only thing that makes me different from anyone else is my defiance.
“My beard has nothing to do with me being odd or different.
“I love myself and that infuriates people.”
Coral says her partner, Illias, has no issue with her hair growth and she is supported by her mum and nieces, too.
She continued: “Women shouldn’t have to hide.
“I deserve love. I deserve pleasure.
“And I won’t compromise on that anymore.
“Having Illias love me as thoroughly as he does [has] definitely helped.
“He let me know that he was a safe place.
“After I stopped shaving we both were just a lot happier; him because I was finally getting confident in myself as I was, and me because I wasn’t in so much pain [due to shaving my sensitive skin] anymore.
“I was finally experiencing being comfortable in my body.
“My mum and nieces are definitely the most supportive [of my family] – the three of them cheer me on.
“It has [also] been awesome to have friends in person and online that were able to see that it really isn’t a big deal.
“It’s just hair.”
Coral is determined to tackle the stigma around women having facial hair.
She has recently done a talk at a local library and also shares her experiences online with her 22,700 followers (@lovesintentbycoralrenaie).
The content creator added: “We need to think about that [why women with beards bother people so much]. Do better.
“Most people in the world know a woman who removes her body hair, I would say everyone does.
“How would you react if she stopped? Would you still love that person?
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