I have always admired both conventional and unconventional beauty. But beauty in its most uninhibited form has the most draw to me. Grace neutral, a British hand-poke tattoo artist has made it her life’s goal to be her most beautiful self. Grace started to modify her body so it could reflect inner self at pretty young age – she was only 21 when she had her tongue split. As you can imagine, it was painful. “After I had my tongue forked, I had to learn to speak again, and for ages, I had this little lisp,” she said. But she thinks the struggle was worth it, and the split doesn’t bother her at all now. “It’s literally the funniest thing ever!”
Next, Grace had her belly button removed so her stomach would be completely smooth. But then she chose to get her face- chin, cheeks, and forehead- intentionally scarred. “I also have my ears pointed like a pixie, and my earlobes removed so I have the tiniest, tiniest earlobes, like half a centimeter. I wanted to look really ethereal and pixie-like.”
Grace’s scariest procedure to date is her eye tattoo, where she dyed the whites of her eyes to reflect a light purple color. It is told to be a dangerous process that very few people have undergone so far, which had terrified Grace. She decided that it would be the “final step” in her modification process. The final change that made her feel truly comfortable in her own skin. She aims to spearhead the revolution in redefining the idealistic standards of beauty. And to be the inspiration, for those who want to take a bold step.
Another woman sparking a revolution is Harnaam Kaur. Harnaam Kaur works as a body positive campaigner and model. At the young age of 11, there were traces of hair sprouting on her face, chest and arms. She began to engage in a constant battle to try and remain hair-free. After many tests, she was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovaries. For several years after, she suffered cruel comments at the hands of bullies and even people on the street -about her appearance.
After being baptized as a Sikh at the age of 16, she had to let her facial hair grow out. Soon after, she began to appreciate her body’s nature, and started upon a spiritual path towards acceptance. Now she fully embraces her beard as well as the hair on her chest and arms.
Currently, more than 5 million girls suffer from poly-cystic ovary syndrome. The cause of PCOS isn't well understood but is said to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The symptoms include menstrual irregularity, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity. A lot of these factors, as opposed to conventional beauty, deem a girl to look very ugly. Where, along with the burden of a disease she comes to bear the brunt of the societal impositions, taunting her at every step.
With the coming of activist such as Harnaam Kaur, girls all around the world can learn to consider different options that might as well be a little bit more self-satisfying. The only option may not be razors, lasers, and burning waxes, but a fully grown beard. Once a symbol of masculinity, the beard has now grown to be the pride of Harnaam’s femininity.