Having been a touring circus hit throughout Victorian times, the bearded lady is not a person society has ever given much thought or respect to.
But now a small group of women are coming forward and letting their beards show, loud and proud.
For 39-year-old Rose Geil, the growth began when she was just 13 years old.
Rose Geil is finally comfortable in the skin she's in. Source: Barcroft TV.
According to Geil, her excessive hair growth - and that of many women - comes from polycystic ovarian syndrome, a hormonal condition which can also lead to reduced rates of fertility and irregular periods.
Noticing a film of coarse facial hair appearing daily, Geil began to shave and suffered years of taunting and failed hair removal treatments.
But speaking to This Morning recently, she now says that growing out her beard and letting of treatments has allowed her to become her true self.
Rose Geil. Source: Barcroft TV.
“I don't feel like my full personality was ever present," Geil says, adding, "and instead of facing ridicule, I hid. I didn't participate fully in school as a young child. Even going to class on a regular basis was difficult for me. I suffered all around."
But at 38 years of age, Geil tired of the constant battle she was waging with herself each day was becoming emotionally unsustainable. Her skin then adversely reacted to being shaved each day and she was forced to stop.
Rose Geil outside her home. Source: Barcroft TV.
It was at this point, Geil says, that she logged into social media, found a group of women in similar situations and finally began to feel free.
"Growing my beard has made me more confident,” she recently said to Barcroft Media. “I definitely feel womanly, sexy and sensuous. I feel more feminine and it has very little to do with my appearance, it comes from my attitude and giving myself the freedom to be who I am."
Rose says online communities really helped boost her confidence. Source: Barcroft TV.
And despite whatever archaic and outdated ideas people may have about women with beards, Geil says the attention she's received from men has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Suddenly after 28 years of being told I didn’t have anything to offer and in fact what I had was a detriment, to be told that it’s actually an asset… is very exciting," she admits.
Finally happy at 39. Source: Barcroft TV.
"She just seems so much more free," friend Megan MacCullen admits. "I just see a lot of, like, confidence. There's something about the self-acceptance that she's taking on lately has really made her blossom."
Friend Matt Fehn agrees. "I think it takes a lot of courage to be who you really are and do what makes you really happy," he says.
And really, that's what it's all about.