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Novels in which the heroine has facial hair

(25 Posts)
meringue33 Wed 22-Jul-20 22:41:30

I’ve read two. Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, in which the heroine sees her mustache in the mirror and can’t decide if it’s awful or attractive and “gipsyish”. And My Sons Story by Nadine Gordimer, well not the heroine but an attractive mistress of the hero is described as blonde, with “cats whiskers” at the edge of her mouth.

OP’s posts: |
Melroses Wed 22-Jul-20 22:49:29

The only one that I can think of, which is not a novel, is the diary of Anne Frank.

CoffeeRunner Wed 22-Jul-20 22:51:31

All that sprung to mind for me (also not a novel) was The Greatest Showman.

Although the lady in question is initially labelled as “a freak” so not sure it’s that positive.

TinyMetalBirds Wed 22-Jul-20 22:53:38

I remember half listening to a very odd story on radio 4 about a woman with facial hair that for some reason she couldn’t get rid of. I think she was an actress. There was some element of magical realism. Sorry, I can’t find it on Google and can’t remember if it was positive or not, I feel like it was but not sure.

chipperfish Wed 22-Jul-20 22:55:04

Precious Bane was a hare lip, not a hair lip hmm

LangClegTheBeardedVulture Wed 22-Jul-20 22:55:49

Cheery Littlebottom in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books.

TinyMetalBirds Wed 22-Jul-20 22:55:57

Oh, this was it www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0939x8v

FaintlyMacabre Wed 22-Jul-20 23:06:58

I haven’t got it to hand to check but I seem to recall Marian in The Woman in White is described as having facial hair.

Dogman Wed 22-Jul-20 23:12:17

@FaintlyMacabre I was about to mention the marvellous Marian Halcombe!

ErrolTheDragon Wed 22-Jul-20 23:27:46

LangClegTheBeardedVulture

Cheery Littlebottom in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books.


And Angua, at least when there's a full moon. grin

theskyispink Wed 22-Jul-20 23:55:53

One of the girls in The Casual Vacancy gets bullied over her facial hair.

nettie434 Thu 23-Jul-20 00:16:59

Dogman

*@FaintlyMacabre* I was about to mention the marvellous Marian Halcombe!

One of the best characters in 19th century fiction! Sadly, while Count Fosco admires her, it is clear that she does not possess the desirable characterIstics that would enable her to be marriageable. However, this could be seen as advantageous - definitely in terms of the novel.

I think there are a few novels and short stories in which facial hair on women is transgressive e.g. Kate Grenville (who is also very good):

kategrenville.com.au/books/bearded-ladies/

Not heard of Ellen Bryson but this is inspired by bearded in Barnum's:

uk.reuters.com/article/us-books-authors-bryson-idUKTRE66K1J020100721

DidoLamenting Thu 23-Jul-20 06:49:06

Chris Guthrie, the heroine of Sunset Song and The Scots Quair trilogy is a magnificent female character fully realised, three dimensional and relatable to - and written by a man.

How bizarre to fixate on this one tiny aspect.

nettie434 Thu 23-Jul-20 09:13:58

I've not read Sunset Song but it sounds as if it is worth reading. However, it's not bizarre to focus on facial hair on women in discussions about what is female beauty and who defines it. It's one of the aspects of Frieda Kahlo's painting that people discuss most often so doesn't the same apply to literature?

ErrolTheDragon Thu 23-Jul-20 10:37:52

I seem to remember in War and Peace, Prince Andrei's pretty first wife having a downy upper lip. It's about the only thing I can remember about her, it's about 40 years since I read it, so I suppose it must have struck me as an unusual thing to comment on.

stella47 Thu 23-Jul-20 11:24:41

"Waiting for the sky to fall" by Jacqueline Wilson - I read it in the 80's, and just realised that it's "the" Jacqueline Wilson. The main female teenage character is bullied for having a moustache, and tries to wax it off - the wax sets and sticks, leaving her with painful red upper lip, which she then has to pass off a joke. I remember the book vividly, as very similar happened to me - it was the first book that I read with mentions of such things!

MollyWindley Thu 23-Jul-20 11:29:41

@ErrolTheDragon that's interesting, because I remember reading that in one of the first drafts of Anna Karenina Tolstoy gave her a downy upper lip, maybe it was an acceptable attractive feature then? Or possible it was just a fact of life as there were fewer depilatory options .......

PumpkinSpiceWoman Thu 23-Jul-20 15:02:21

Takver and other Anarresti female characters in "The Dispossessed" by Ursula Le Guin. Although the fact the inhabitants of Urras and Anarres naturally have very hairy faces is only mentioned once or twice.

TeiTetua Thu 23-Jul-20 19:54:07

Not a novel and not the heroine, but the Witches in Macbeth:

You should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.

DidoLamenting Thu 23-Jul-20 19:57:39

nettie434

I've not read Sunset Song but it sounds as if it is worth reading. However, it's not bizarre to focus on facial hair on women in discussions about what is female beauty and who defines it. It's one of the aspects of Frieda Kahlo's painting that people discuss most often so doesn't the same apply to literature?

It's a tremendously narrow point. I am a bit flabbergasted that out of everything one could focus on re Guthrie over 3 novels is a passing comment on her facial hair.

Iamthewombat Thu 23-Jul-20 19:58:52

Ruth Patchett in Fay Weldon’s The Life and Loves of a She Devil.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 23-Jul-20 22:23:00

TeiTetua

Not a novel and not the heroine, but the Witches in Macbeth:

You should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.


That sounds like it might be a Shakespeare joke, because of the actors being men - maybe the witches weren't the pretty lads but older blokes.

meringue33 Thu 23-Jul-20 23:11:59

Sounds like a lot of good reading here I will have to make a note, thanks! I wanted to share the two examples as just loved that they were positive and totally unstigmatised - just feels so good to me to see ordinary femininity reflected back in literature. Like on a tv show like Transparent where the women characters just looked real and unmade up and tired.

Totally agree with the assessment of Scots Quair. It’s a fantastic work of literature and so hard to believe it was written by a man.

OP’s posts: |
Wbeezer Fri 24-Jul-20 12:01:09

@DidoLamenting it would be bizarre in a discussion about A Scots Quair but not in a discussion about womens facial hair, which is what the OP started. Its perfectly legitimate to focus on small but unusual aspects of characters in literature if they interest you, its a Mumsnet thread not a Higher English dissertation. Its not as if Chris Guthrie's character has not been thiroughly dissected by half the schoolkids in Scotland already.

Wbeezer Fri 24-Jul-20 12:04:19

Sunset Song is one of my favourites, thankfully I didn't study it at school and read it for pleasure.

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