Will You Be Januhairy For The New Year?
Grow Talk by Sofy Robertson
Photos within the article are from Januhairy’s Instagram account managed by Laura Jackson
We’ve all heard of Dry January and many of us will have heard of Veganuary, but Januhairy may be a new one for many.
It’s a new year and it’s time for Movember to move over and make room for the Januhairy movement; a movement for women. Described on its Instagram as “a project for women to challenge social norms and grow out their body hair for the month of January”, the movement aims to raise money for Body Gossip education programme.
Founding the movement is Exeter University drama student, Laura Jackson, but Januhairy has become much more than a local movement.
21-year-old Laura launched the campaign which aims for ladies to “love and accept” their natural body hair last month. Since then, women from countries including the US, Canada, Germany, Russia and Spain have signed up to take part.
Laura came up with the idea after growing out her hair for a performance. She explained:
“Though I felt liberated and more confident in myself, some people around me didn’t understand or agree with why I didn’t shave.”
“I realised that there is still so much more for us to do to be able to accept one another fully and truly.” (BBC)
In her campaign to demonstrate that women can be “feminine, hygienic and have hairy bodies (The Exeter Tab), Laura hopes to raise £1000 for Body Gossip, an education program that teaches young people about body image. Laura asserted that this was not an angry campaign but instead:
“an empowering project for everyone to understand more about their views on themselves and others.” (BBC)
Fellow University of Exeter student India Howland who is taking part in the campaign explained:
“I’ve heard girls apologise for having hairy legs before.
“But you should be able to embody your femininity any way you want to – no one should feel pressured into shaving.”
In California, 21-year-old Lila Boschet said she was looking forward to taking part:
“I forget to shave quite often. But I’m looking forward to doing something actively instead of passively.”
Responses to the campaign on social media platforms has been mixed with some seeing it as empowerment and others refusing to have their armpits and other body parts “resembling Chewbacca”.
The fundamental movement behind the campaign, however, is for women to accept women for who they are and whatever they choose to look like and foremost, for women to accept themselves. Like the Movember movement, there is a worthy cause and necessary message behind the hair. The stigma that exists on female body hair is clearly very different to that of the comical Movember ‘tache, but in the same vein as Dry January and Veganuary, Januhairy invites a lifestyle change with health and wellbeing at its heart.