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A bearded lady or bearded woman is a woman who has a visible beard. These women have long been a phenomenon of legend, curiosity, or ridicule.
A relatively small number of women are able to grow enough facial hair to have a distinct beard. In some cases, female beard growth is the result of a hormonal imbalance (usually androgen excess), or a rare genetic disorder known as hypertrichosis. Sometimes it is caused by use of anabolic steroids. Cultural pressure leads most to remove it, as it may be viewed as a social stigma. Notable exceptions were the famous (and usually false) bearded women of the circus sideshows of the 19th and early 20th centuries, before freak shows became unpopular.
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