Bastian’s battle against the stigma of female facial hair

Why​ Bastian Fox Phelan is taking a stand on facial hair Taking a stand: Bastian Fox Phelan is writing a memoir of life with facial hair. Pictures: Simone De Peak

Living with it: “People do harass you and they do make strange little comments or look at you in strange little ways. .”

Matter of hair: Bastian Fox Phelan performing at a Skateistan fund-raisng event in Islington in December 2017. Picture: Marina Neil

TweetFacebookLadybeard: a ‘transhairstorical’ story)published in October 2010 Bastian writes about making the decision to start growing a beard when first moving away from home, and then creating a zine called Ladybeard about the experience.

Bastian has published several zines, including aseries, How To Be Alone, which began in 2012 Bastian decided to quit Facebook. “It’s about trying to figure out who you are in your own right rather than in relation to other people,” Bastian says.

Bastian rejoined the Facebook world in 2015, but has gone off it while finishing the masters. “I can’t say I miss it. It’s just a distraction, it doesn’t really enrich your life in any way,” Bastian says.

There is an active media campaign in at the moment, Get Hairy February, encouraging women to lettheir body hair growthis month, with all funds raised from the project goingtowardsfighting domestic violence against women.

But hair has been at the forefront of Bastian’s mind for many years,and will still be top of mind next month.

“There is not much academic writing about female facial hair, not even in feminine discourse,” Bastian says. “I think a lot more work could be done. There’s a lot of research about hirsutism, and PCOS, but it’s all about how to get rid of it. No one is saying it’s OK to keep it and that’s what I’m saying in my writing.”

Bastian cites two facial hair activists: UK modelHarnaam Kaur, a body positiveadvocate, and Jennifer Miller, an American circus performer and university professor.

Both Kaur and Miller have full beards.

Bastian maintained a beard, but doesn’t have one when we meet. “I sort of decided recently, the way Istyle my facial hair should be no differentto the way a man styles his facial hair,” Bastian says. “Just because he has a beard doesn’t mean he has to have one all the time. That’s my approach.”