January 10th, 2019 – If your 2019 vision board happened to have a clump of body hair next to a photo of gym equipment, then we have just the movement for you: Januhairy. Men have “No Shave November,” and now women have a hair-growing month as well thanks to Laura Jackson. The 21-year-old drama student got the idea after growing out her own body hair for a performance at at the University of Exeter in the U.K.
Jackson took to Instagram last month to announce the initiative saying that the unaccepting attitude toward body hair on females has made many women become unfamiliar with their authentic selves. She also announced that the additional hairs would not only raise confidence but funds for a charity called Body Gossip, which uses art and education to empower people to be the best version of themselves.
“Welcome to Januhairy! The acceptance of body hair on women is unfortunately still a predicament. We are displayed in the media as feeling ‘confident’ when our legs are smooth, eyebrows plucked, armpits waxed etc.,” Jackson explained in the post.
Women are encouraged to share photos and stories of their Januhairy journey and supporters are being asked to sponsor the no-shave commitment. Jackson created a JustGiving page where people can donate toward her target goal of £1,000 for Body Gossip. The initiative has currently raised over £800 with kind comments also being donated.
“This is very cool and a worthwhile cause. Absolutely nothing wrong with girls going for the natural look. I’ve donated £10 plus an extra £6 to counter all the negative comments (men and women)!!,” Phil Green, a man who contributed, said on the page.
Jackson is all too familiar with negative comments. While she was growing out her body hair for the college drama performance, she said several people looked down on her for ditching the razor.
“After a few weeks of getting used to it, I started to like my natural hair,” she wrote. “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.”
Her mother even expressed dismay when she told her about the idea for Januhairy – asking questions such as “Is it you just being lazy or are you trying to prove a point?”
In an Instagram post introducing herself to followers, Jackson shared that after talking more in depth with her mother she realized how weird it was to even ask those questions. Mama Jackson is now tossing the razor for Januhairy, too.
While plenty of people have flooded Instagram posts with jokes, condemnation, and “disgusting” comments, Jackson pushes back with photos and stories of women enjoying the discovery of confidence through natural beauty. She continues to remind people that the opinions that matter are the ones coming from people who are learning about themselves.
“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.”