You’ve heard of Dry January, Veganuary, and maybe even Sugar-banuary. No? Okay, I’ll admit I went slightly too far with that last one.
Anyway, as the year kicks off with a cold and bleak January, which is – let’s face it – the worst month of the year, people decide to set themselves challenges, all the while raising money for charity.
These usually consist of people giving thing up – such as alcohol and meat – which bodes well for the month after Christmas, when pretty much the entire population is skint.
But sometimes, as in this case, the challenge consists of people altering their appearance. To be more specific, one particular challenge – dubbed Januhairy – involves women growing out their body hair for the entire month.
Think Movember, but instead of men getting involved, it’s women. And instead of facial hair, it’s body hair in general. Genius, right.
The aim of Januhairy is for women to grow to love their natural body hair, all the while raising money for a good cause.
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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
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"There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty."~Steve Maraboli • • • @i_am_morgie~ “…Imagine if everyone just decided that today was the day they loved themselves and embraced every part of them selves. Accepting and loving your body and your "flaws" because you know they are what makes you who you are. If you are focused on being true to yourself in every moment, you are less concerned what others think, which will lead to peace of mind. When you have nothing to hide and you can freely be yourself, there is a profound peace/confidence you will emanate to the world that will inspire others.”👏 • • • All the girls joining in januhairy are shaving off their body hair on New Year’s Eve (Monday 31st) ready to kick start the new year with a new challenge! We have many women who have signed up for this charity project so far, from the age range of 16-60! ✨💃✨💃 Sign up and join in while you can! #3daysleft #januhairy #thenaturalrevolution #bodyhairmovement #bodypositive #spreadlove #behappy #namaste#hairywomen #healing #healthylifestyle #selfcare #loveyourself #beyourself #bethechange #divine #inspireothers #inspirationalquotes #positivity #goodvibesonly #lifeisbeautiful #hairy #gratitude #weareone #higherconsciousness #freespirit #empowerment #smile #feelgood #bodygossip
The woman behind Januhairy is 21-year-old Laura Jackson, who says she started the campaign after she had to grow out her body hair for a performance as part of her drama degree in May last year.
While she became comfortable with the change in her appearance, she said others – including friends and family – didn’t understand her decision not to shave.
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.
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This post is gonna be bold, and transparent. Cause that's what I'm all about. For those who know me, you know I'm kinda a wild little hippie chic. 🌻 I'm not afraid to speak my truth, and that is that I love myself so fucking much, and I dont care who knows it. Which leads me to this post.. In honor of #januhairy, I am sharing my why. I grew up in an incredibly materialistic, ego minded family. Where you had to spend an hour minimum doing your face and getting dolled up to leave the house. Walmart in PJs was just unacceptable.. Which leads me to my next point. BODY HAIR. The naturally growing stuff that sprouts from our pores. That was totally not okay. I was shamed from a very young age.. especially since I had undiagnosed Endocrine and hormonal disorders that I wouldn't learn about til my early 20's. I had hair on my chin, on my belly, even on my back and butt. And because of my family's shame, I went to extreme lengths to remove it… trying Nair, bleach powder.. and mind you, I was about 13 at this point in my life. Fast forward to today. IDGAF what anyone thinks of my body, because I LOVE HER and that's all that matters. I stopped shaving regularly around the time I had kids. At that point, my husband had seen it all, so what the hell?! My family would say things like, "OMG, what does your husband think?? Eww!" First of all, why do you care what my husband thinks? And second, I'll tell you. He worships me like the Queen Goddess I am. Body hair does not define a woman. It doesn't make her lazy, it doesn't make her gross. We've had this stigma for far too long that women need to uphold this fantasy image and it's just not realistic.. I'm here to break the cycle and stand up for all you ladies in the back who had someone shame you for how your body looks, thus unknowingly creating an unhealthy self image within you. It ends here. Be proud of who you are! There's no one like you and you are beautiful! Dont ever let anyone make you think otherwise!! 💋💃🔥🙌💎🌈 #bodygossip #bodyhairmovement #happyandhairy #selflove #thenaturalrevolution
The 21-year-old said:
I just want women to feel more comfortable in their own beautifully unique bodies. This isn’t an angry campaign for people who don’t see how normal body hair is.
It is an empowering project for everyone to understand more about their views on themselves and others.
While Laura received plenty of positive comments from her followers on the janu_hairy Instagram page, with people referring to the challenge as ‘awesome’ and calling her a ‘boss lady’, the reaction has been mixed to say the least.
Although Laura has stressed that this is an empowering movement, rather than an angry campaign, many have responded to it as though it’s the latter.
One person tweeted:
I feel repulsedby [sic] the whole #januhairy thing. Obviously women can do as they please in todays [sic] world and rightly so. But hairy women is [sic] VERY unattractive and im [sic] sure 99% of men will agree.
I feel repulsedby the whole #januhairy thing. Obviously women can do as they please in todays world and rightly so. But hairy women is VERY unattractive and im sure 99% of men will agree.
— Jonny Price (@jonnyUK88) January 4, 2019
While another wrote:
I will not be dieting, detoxing nay impersonating a f*cking werewolf post Chrimbo. Am infact [sic] leaning toward the view that the person/s who created the concept #januhairy should probs be on some kinda register.
I will not be dieting, detoxing nay impersonating a fucking werewolf post Chrimbo. Am infact leaning toward the view that the person/s who created the concept #januhairy should probs be on some kinda register. pic.twitter.com/W17uCxVmix
— Colanne Owens (@Colanne_scopy) January 4, 2019
And another said:
I couldn’t care less about leg or arm hair but underarm her and public hair needs to be shaved that’s disgusting regardless of the gender. Why do women think this is liberating ill never know!
I couldn't care less about leg or arm hair but underarm her and public hair needs to be shaved that's disgusting regardless of the gender. Why do women think this is liberating ill never know! BBC News – Januhairy: Why women are growing out their body hairhttps://t.co/4Txw7ISi76
— TheTerminator (@TheTerm99377000) January 4, 2019
What I’m struggling to understand is why women growing out their own body hair is causing so much concern for people who it has absolutely no impact on.
People’s reactions to this only proves why it needed to be done in the first place.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).