No Shave November and Mustache March — you’ve heard of them, seen them on social media, and maybe participated in them yourself. If you haven’t heard, they are two months out of the year where men are encouraged to embrace their facial hair and remain untrimmed for that time.
While some women have been known to participate in these events, 2019 was kicked off by a new movement specifically for women: Januhairy, a month where women embrace their body hair, gaining confidence and accepting their bodies as they are.
Laura Jackson, a drama student at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, started the movement by posting an image to Instagram of her sitting on the floor with her arm tucked behind her head to expose her armpit hair. In the caption, Jackson explains that she grew her body hair for a performance in May 2018, and developed feelings of empowerment and confidence.
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Hi I’m Laura, the gal behind Januhairy! I thought I would write a little about my experiences and how Januhairy came about… I grew out my body hair for a performance as part of my drama degree in May 2018. There had been some parts that were challenging for me, and others that really opened my eyes to the taboo of body hair on a woman. After a few weeks of getting used to it, I started to like my natural hair. I also started to like the lack of uncomfortable episodes of shaving. Though I felt liberated and more confident in myself, some people around me didn’t understand why I didn’t shave/didn’t agree with it. I realised that there is still so much more for us to do to be able to accept one another fully and truly. Then I thought of Januhairy and thought I would try it out. It’s a start at least . . . I have had a lot of support from my friends and family! Even though I had to explain why I was doing it to a lot of them which was surprising, and again, the reason why this is important to do! When I first started growing my body hair my mum asked me “Is it you just being lazy or are you trying to prove a point?” . . . why should we be called lazy if we don’t want to shave? And why do we have to be proving a point? After talking to her about it and helping her understand, she saw how weird it was that she asked those questions. If we do something/see the same things, over and over again it becomes normal. She is now going to join in with Januhairy and grow out her own body hair which is a big challenge for her as well as many women who are getting involved. Of course a good challenge! This isn’t an angry campaign for people who don’t see how normal body hair is, but more an empowering project for everyone to understand more about their views on themselves and others. This picture was taken a few months ago. Now I am joining in with Januhairy, starting the growing process again along with the other wonderful women who have signed up! Progress pictures/descriptions from our gals will be posted throughout the month. Lets get hairy 🌵 #januhairy #bodygossip #bodyhairmovement #happyandhairy #loveyourbody #thenaturalrevolution #natural #hairywomen #womanpowe
“There had been some parts that were challenging for me, and others that really opened my eyes to the taboo of body hair on a woman,” Jackson said in the post. “After a few weeks of getting used to it, I started to like my natural hair. I also started to like the lack of uncomfortable episodes of shaving. Though I felt liberated and more confident in myself, some people around me didn’t understand why I didn’t shave/didn’t agree with it.”
Following her post, Jackson is encouraging others to join her movement and support a like-minded organization called Body Gossip through crowdfunding. The organization aims to use arts and education to empower everybody to be the best version of themselves.
As Januhairy comes to a close, the crowdfund has received two-thirds of its goal.
Along with the crowdfunding, #Januhairy has taken social media by storm, appearing on BuzzFeed, People Magazine, The Today Show, Vice News and more, inspiring women all around the world to embrace their natural bodies.
The #Januhairy hashtag has more than 5,000 posts on Instagram and is continually being shared through various social media platforms, making it a very successful movement.
There’s no way to tell if the movement will stick for years to come, but there’s one thing that’s for sure: if one student can spark a global movement, so can you.