Januhairy: Rooting for body positivity, one hair at a time

Januhairy: Rooting for body positivity, one hair at a time

Monday January 07, 2019,

5 min Read

Laura Jackson, a 21-year-old student at Exeter University launched the Januhairy campaign to take on stereotypes that exist around body hair.

If men can have “no shave November”, why can’t women have their way too? With our hair, I mean. For centuries, women have been expected - sometimes even told - to keep their body parts free of hair to look “respectable” and “acceptable” in society.


I remember a weekly childhood ritual that involved my grandmother liberally applying turmeric paste all over my body so that I would have less body hair when I grew up. She said, it was to make sure I did not look like a bear. Somehow, that worked in my favour (don’t ask how) and I have always had to make lesser trips to the salon than most of my friends.

But what if you grew out the hair on your hands, legs, armpits and hmmm… down there? If you ask me, as long as you clean up well, nothing! But for the millions of girls influenced by the hairless and spotless Disney heroines and Barbie dolls, this could be a momentous decision.

So, why should men have all the fun… or the hair? Laura Jackson, a 21-year-old student at Exeter University launched the “Januhairy” campaign to take on stereotypes that exist around body hair. She did this after following a “no hair” policy for a production she was part of. Laura urges women all over the world to ditch their razors and “hair on” for the entire month.

In an Instagram post, she said,

View this post on Instagram

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

A post shared by Januhairy (@janu_hairy) on

As part of Januhairy, Jackson is also asking other women to post photos of themselves on social media platforms, to look and feel as normal as possible. So don’t be surprised if you come across women showing off their hairy legs, arms and armpits.

And it’s just not about making a statement. Jackson hopes to raise £ 1,000 for ‘Body Gossip’, an educational charity that campaigns on body image issues.

Interestingly, this is not the first time women have shown off their hairy bodies in the hopes of promoting body positivity, but that doesn’t seem to have had much of an effect. Celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Dakota Johnson, Beyonce and even Julia Roberts have shown off their hairy armpits on red carpets.

But, is “Januhairy” going to be another fad or will this be the beginning of a movement that will enable and empower women to start feeling more comfortable about their bodies? Will it be a new lesson in positive body image or will it just be a month of all (h)air, and nothing later?

We believe any statement made by women to make a positive difference can be debated, but not derided.

Here’s to Januhairy, and feeling good about it!