A woman who once considered gender reassignment surgery after being cruelly bullied for the thick, dark hair that grew on her body on her face has opened up about how she has learned to embrace her hairiness.
College student Caiopa Jade Marja, 23, from Farmville, Virginia, has struggled with troublesome symptoms such as excess hair all over her body (hirsutism), a deeper voice, being overweight, acne, a receding hairline, and infertility for nearly her entire life.
She spent her school days feeling insecure after being relentlessly bullied by her peers for being ‘too hairy’ to the point that she would sneak in a razor every day to shave her face and arms.
Heartbreaking: College student Caiopa Jade Marja, 23, from Farmville, Virginia, used to sneak a razor into school to shave her face and arms because she was bullied for being too hairy
Change of heart: After years of being bullied in high school (left) for being ‘too hairy,’ she stopped shaving and learned to embrace her hairiness (right)
It wasn’t until 2016, when she was 19 years old, that she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work.
‘I have PCOS, which means a higher testosterone count in my body as a woman. I got bullied quite a bit for being “too hairy” and having facial hair,’ Caiopa said.
The three main features of PCOS are irregular periods, excess androgen, and high levels of ‘male’ hormones in the body and polycystic ovaries, where the ovaries become enlarged.
‘I remember using hair removers on my arms and shaving my face at school with a razor I snuck in. It was kind of horrifying to think about now,’ Caiopa recalled.
‘I found out when I was nineteen. I deal with excess hair everywhere on my body, a deeper voice than average, really messed up periods, being overweight, acne, a receding hairline, and infertility.
Looking back: Caipoa (pictured as a child) has struggled with excess hair all over her body (hirsutism), a deeper voice, being overweight, acne, and a receding hairline her whole life
‘In high school, I was bullied a lot because of my hair; they would call me names, laugh at me, and so on.
‘I smuggled a razor in my backpack to shave in between classes because my stubble would grow back so quickly. It was really embarrassing. I’d shave every day at least once if not twice.’
Caiopa spent the next two years feeling miserable about her appearance and thought that if she transitioned to male, this would solve her problems.
‘I decided that maybe if I transitioned then it would solve my problems as most people don’t question men with facial hair,’ she explained.
‘Unfortunately, this made me very unhappy towards the end of the two years that it lasted. Gender roles are a thing and it made me deeply unhappy to have to act a way that I didn’t feel matched up with who I am.’
Reason: In 2016, Caiopa was 19 years old when she was finally diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work
Owning it: After discovering many social media pages owned by other hairy or ‘bearded’ women, she decided to stop shaving