Januhairy is a movement that encourages women to grow out their body hair, feel confident in their own skin, and raise money for charity.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 9, 2020. It has since been updated.
You may have heard of "Movember," a worldwide movement that encourages men to grow out their mustaches and beards in order to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer and mental health. Now, there's a similar movement to help women feel comfortable in their own skin - Januhairy. For decades now, body hair on women has been considered unhygienic or gross. Because of this notion, women have been lead to believe they need to undergo painful and expensive (or just plain annoying) hair removal treatments. From shaving to laser hair removal, there are dozens of ways that women are told to rid themselves of what their body produces naturally. But no longer. Januhairy is the movement that encourages women to grow out their body hair - wherever it may grow - and finally, feel comfortable in their bodies in their natural state.
The movement was pioneered in 2019 by Laura Jackson, who felt that women's body hair need not cause repulsion the way it does today. She hoped that Januhairy, a month dedicated to body positivity and self-love, would show women how to love themselves - with or without the approval of society. Societal norms can be especially distressing to women; from a young age, they are taught that their bodies aren't theirs and that they must look a certain way in order to be deemed acceptable. The movement's official website states, "It’s your choice to do what you want with your body, whether society likes it or not; but sometimes it’s hard to step out of those normalities, especially by yourself: Januhairy is a community, embracing our natural state, and challenging our patriarchal thoughts and expectations, together."
Last year, the movement gained traction incredibly quickly, with women across the world sending in images of their hair growth over the month. The movement was covered by media outlets including but not limited to BBC, ITV, AJ+, Glamour UK, Vogue Portugal, Ladbible, The Telegraph, and Radio 5 Live. The powerful message was received by women in the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, France, Argentina, Israel, Iran, South Africa, Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland and many more. This year, Januhairy is expected to reach even more women, helping them find the strength, love, and resilience to feel confident in their own skin.
The website affirms, "It is evident that body image has a large impact on all of us, an impact that is [rooted] in school environments. We are taught how to do many things at school, all to benefit our futures, we are molded into what we believe we should become, rather than accepting ourselves for who we are first, and this starts with our bodies. Nevertheless, it’s not just young minds who need to hear these messages; Women of all ages. Every woman goes through peaks and troughs dealing with their own insecurities. Januhairy, is a chance to challenge yourself; seek discomfort yet discover the comfort in it." In addition to empowering women, the movement also seeks to raise funds for charity. This year, women across the world are growing out their hair to raise money for TreeSisters, an organization that protects and restores natural habitats in order to fight climate change. If you would like to join in, all you need to do is drop that razor, pick up a camera, and click away!