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dc.contributor.authorPhelan, Bastian Fox Francis
dc.date.accessioned2019-08-01
dc.date.issued2018-05-31
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/2123/20840
dc.description.abstractBeard the Bully is an extract of a literary memoir about female facial hair. This work explores the decision to grow instead of remove facial hair, in opposition to social norms about gender. It also traces the development of a non-binary gender identity as a way to accommodate this highly visible form of marginal sex variance. This extract looks at how engagement in sex and gender diverse political activism, immersion in the culture of Sydney’s queer community, the experience of stigma and harassment, and conflict with family of origin challenges the narrator to develop a narrative of female facial hair that is unique to them. Female facial hair has not previously been explored in literary memoir, and very little academic work exists, either by or about females with facial hair. A desire for a deeper investigation of gender in narratives of female facial hair led me to the work of gender theorists Judith Butler and Jennifer Germon, and to a number of sociological and medical studies on the experiences of women with hirsutism linked to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The theoretical framework arose from themes within this research: images of freaks and mirrors, debates about terminology and self-definition, and the voice’s ability to articulate the human have informed my creation of an alternative narrative of female facial hair. In my research into narratives of female facial hair, I mapped two main ‘genres’: the cosmetic narrative, in which facial hair is removed for aesthetic reasons; and the medical narrative, in which facial hair is diagnosed as a symptom of illness, and then removed. While hair removal is intended to reduce stigma, I argue that both narratives are unable to address the source of stigma: binary gender norms. In Beard the Bully, I present female facial hair as primarily an issue of gender: the hair confronts the gender binary, and it demands that the bearer find a way to articulate their non-binary subjectivity. This extract of Beard the Bully concludes with the idea that a female beard is “all possibility”, countering the widely accepted belief that a beard is a thing that a female body does not or should not have. By offering my own experiences in this literary memoir, I hope to contribute to a shift in the conversations around female facial hair, allowing for the possibility of discussion, representation, and growth.en_AU
dc.publisherUniversity of Sydneyen_AU
dc.publisherFaculty of Arts and Social Sciencesen_AU
dc.publisherSchool of Literature, Art and Mediaen_AU
dc.publisherDepartment of Englishen_AU
dc.rightsThe author retains copyright of this thesis. It may only be used for the purposes of research and study. It must not be used for any other purposes and may not be transmitted or shared with others without prior permission.en_AU
dc.subjectmemoiren_AU
dc.subjectqueeren_AU
dc.subjecttransgenderen_AU
dc.subjectPCOSen_AU
dc.subjectfemale facial hairen_AU
dc.titleBeard the Bully: Confronting binary gender norms in narratives of female facial hairen_AU
dc.typeMasters Thesisen_AU
dc.type.pubtypeMaster of Arts (Research) M.A.(Res.)en_AU
dc.description.disclaimerAccess is restricted to staff and students of the University of Sydney . UniKey credentials are required. Non university access may be obtained by visiting the University of Sydney Library.en_AU
dc.description.embargo2021-02-01


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