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Two Cases of Bearded Women

  • T. W. McDowall (a1)

The illustrations which accompany this short paper are interesting examples of a sexual deformity very seldom met with in young women. I have not thought it necessary to collect the literature bearing on this subject, and I do not know of any special papers on it. In various works, however, it is referred to in a stereotyped fashion. The general opinion seems to be that it is almost exclusively among women who have passed the period of sexual vigour that beards are found; that such women are of a masculine disposition of body and mind; that the characteristics of their sex are usually imperfectly developed; and that they are, as a rule, barren. Whether such opinions are correct or not I cannot say, but they do not apply to the cases about to be described. Both these women appear to be perfectly developed in their sexual characteristics; one, indeed, now a widow, is the mother of three children. In both cases the hair began to grow on the face shortly after the patients arrived at the age of puberty. The deformity caused them great annoyance, so much so that one of them appears to have been teased into an attack of mania by her neighbours. In her case a hereditary tendency to insanity existed, and one of her sisters is now insane. By cutting, or shaving, they attempted to diminish the disfigurement, but, of course, with only temporary benefit. There can be no doubt that some irregular action of the nervous system is the cause of the growth of the hair in these cases; and it would be an interesting investigation, had we the materials, to discover if bearded women were more subject to nervous diseases than their more favoured sisters.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Two Cases of Bearded Women

  • T. W. McDowall (a1)
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