Jayne Dawson: Trust me, the bearded lady is just the tip of the iceberg

Singer Conchita Wurst representing Austria performs the song 'Rise Like a Phoenix' after winning the Eurovision Song Contest.
Singer Conchita Wurst representing Austria performs the song 'Rise Like a Phoenix' after winning the Eurovision Song Contest.
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I like to think I can spot when change is a-coming and right now I see something heading our ways.

It’s a fuzzy image but that’s only to be expected because the big change I see involves hair. Basically, I think hair is up for grabs. Facial hair, hair hair, body hair - it’s all gone a bit peculiar.

There’s the bearded lady of course. Yes, I know what I said last week about how I would rather boil my eyeballs than watch Eurovision, but that was just talk. I watched every second.

My favourite, since you didn’t ask, was The Netherlands, though I judged Poland, with its outrageous milkmaid routine, to be most true to the spirit of Eurovision.

But the bearded lady wasn’t bad was she? I can’t help but think if she had been an actual, biological woman then she wouldn’t have scored so highly but, you know, full marks for an arresting persona and some truly fantastic makeup.

But what do you think of beards in general? They are the fashion accessory of the moment, I know that much. Men who spent years trying to keep on just the right side of designer stubble have now stopped checking their chins for optimum bristle length and just let it grow. At first, I hated them. Beards seemed the very essence of all that is old-fashioned, unattractive and, let’s face it, unhygienic. They were grown by old hippies and men who wanted to hide a weak chin.

Now, my eye has become accustomed and I can tolerate a well-tended beard. But that’s all fairly traditional stuff. There’s more going on around hair, much that is dark and dangerous.

There’s women and body hair for a start - no, don’t run away. Let’s talk like adults.

For many, many years women have behaved as if body hair didn’t exist for them.

If I tell you that the last words of my friend’s mum, after she had said loving goodbyes, were: “Don’t forget to shave my chin” you will know just how important is has been for women to appear smooth and hairless as an egg.

But no more. Women are tinkering with revolution. Some of them are not dealing with the hair under their arms anymore, allowing themselves to be as nature intended. This will surprise some young men who will have no idea that is what nature intended. Women are taking this approach in other areas of their bodies too, but I will leave that thought there.

On their faces, women are not exactly trying to grow beards yet, but they are allowing their eyebrows to be thick and bold.

At least they are when they can. Since every previous generation - bar a brief spell in the 1980s when Madonna reigned - has relentlessly over-plucked eyebrows into surprised arches, it often isn’t possible for women to achieve the trendy bushy brow.

But these changes are not just about fashion, not completely. There is something of a statement in all this about female empowerment, about women allowing themslves to be natural.

But while women are taking the hirsute route, men are increasingly eliminating body hair. Even the bearded lady looked like he would be no stranger to hair removal elsewhere.

Men are discovering the unpleasantness that is waxing as they have their backs, chests even their legs waxed, not to mention places inbetween. The beauty therapists in danger of losing business as women backed away from them, are building up male clients instead.

I like this deviation from what has gone before - in theory. Whether I can bring myself to join in, I don’t know. But it’s reassuring to know that should the worst happen, a female beard is not the curse it used to be.

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