Unless you are a woman who has experienced being bald, it is extremely difficult to understand the lives of women with alopecia areata. In 2011 we surveyed many women suffering from AA and learned a lot about what all of us are going through. From that data we put together the following infographic (that you have possibly seen from Bald Girls Do Lunch over the years).
Here are some of the major takeaways you told us, that will surely sound familiar.
"I have an autoimmune disease. I don't have cancer."
Alopecia Areata (AA) is an autoimmune skin disease that causes hair loss. Because of most people’s familiarity with the effects of chemotherapy, bald women with AA are often wrongly assumed to have cancer.
A loss of hair for women is a huge psychological challenge.
- Many women fear rejection in their relationships due to taboos about female baldness.
- Losing her hair drastically alters a woman’s self-image. Many women have had to deal with this disease their entire life.
- Misperceptions cause many women to feel isolated.
- Women often feel like everyone is staring at them.
"I want to meet other women with alopecia!"
Nearly 85% of the women we surveyed said they wanted to meet other women with alopecia in their area. That is a huge reason why I started Bald Girls Do Lunch in the first place.
And this month, Bald Girls Do Lunch is celebrating our 7th anniversary. I have seen the needs in the lives of women with alopoecia change in those years. And I'm curious how much they have changed since 2011 when we initially surveyed women to create the above infographic.
What are today's needs for women with alopecia?
Our society in general is becoming more open to discussing different types of marriages, lifestyles, and making a social shift in how we view traditional gender roles. Is this making it easier for women with alopecia to talk more openly about having alopecia areata?
What do YOU think are today's needs for the lives of women with alopecia? If we once again survey the thousands of women who have told us they have AA, what should we ask them? Please, tell us in the comments!