You all know No Shave November or Movember. It’s a movement encouraging men to grow out their beards and moustache during the month of November to raise awareness on men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide. Now, the ladies are doing something similar. Because why not?
The campaign is dubbed as #Januhairy. It similarly urges women to put down their razors and embrace hair growth in parts they usually shave like underarms or legs. It all came about thanks to drama student, Laura Jackson. She explained that the idea was born from when she initially grew out her body hair as part of a school performance in May 2018. While she said it was challenging at first, she eventually got used to it, and even felt liberated. The experience opened her eyes to how taboo the act of a woman growing out her hair remains in society. “I realized that there is still so much more for us to do to be able to accept one another fully and truly,” she said. She insisted that #Januhairy “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.” Like Movember, #Januhairy is a fundraising effort too. It partnered with Body Gossip, a non-profit organization that promotes education on body acceptance.
Fortunately, a lot of women were on board the challenge. One user who participated shared the significance of Januhairy to her. She said she came from a household where “you had to spend an hour minimum doing your face and getting dolled up to leave the house” and where growing out hair was totally unacceptable. “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.” She said that because of it, she “went to extreme lengths to remove it… trying Nair, bleach powder.. and mind you, I was about 13 at this point in my life.” Thankfully, she got past it and is in a healthier relationship with with her body. “IDGAF what anyone thinks of my body, because I LOVE HER and that’s all that matters.” She adds, “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.”
Another, @mamabelle, shared her own Cathartic experience. “I’m half Lebanese, hairy by nature. When I shave, my hair grows back within minutes, it’s truly pointless and a waste of shower time for me considering how much hair I have to groom solely on my head. So i stopped.” She further revealed that three years since, she hasn’t bought a single razor. Still, she pointed out that “Sometimes I’ll shave because I feel like it and that’s the point.” She stressed, “It should be a choice! Not a beauty standard.”
User @youngheartxoldsoul backed up this statement. Unlike the first two, she said it was a new experience for her. “I am honest to y’all, I always shaved my hair and it was very difficult for me to let it grow for [three] weeks. But I wanted to let it grow to show you that it is okay, this doesn’t mean you should too—please keep that in mind.” She further admitted, “I was relieved when I could shave my hair 10 minutes ago after taking the photo and I was feeling myself again. I will definitely still shave my armpits in the future. But I don’t think it was disgusting.” She said that the challenge was a lesson of acceptance for her while urging others to be more understanding too. “I will accept it more from now on if a woman makes or already made the decision to let her hair grow. Everyone should do it how they prefer it and we should accept it and support the decision others make.”
Though Januhairy is getting overwhelmingly positive response, it has its fair share of criticisms too. Unsurprisingly, most of them are from men. One site called the movement “lunacy.” The writer, Stephen Kruiser, said: “Women have so many ways of empowering themselves while still being women that it’s sad to see them told that the best way to achieve empowerment is to be a dollar-store knock-off of a man.” Piers Morgan, the epitome of toxic masculinity, tweeted, “Surely, even in these divisive times, we can all unite on one thing: #Januhairy is lazy & revolting.” I don’t know about you, but I think the fact that he’s so against should be enough to encourage more women to try it.
I’ve just shown this picture to my 4 year old and when she noticed the armpits, she asked me, “Why does she have #hairyarmpits ?” And instantly pulled a face! So it’s decided… I’m growing mine for #Januhairy to show her it’s totally exceptable for girls 😁 pic.twitter.com/1I5mdQaMrP
These men who are so outraged to see women embrace their natural hair is exactly why #Januhairy is needed. Again, it isn’t a campaign made to deliberately offend people, even men—though a lot of them obviously think so. Believe it or not, women’s world don’t revolve around what men think of them. Like Laura said, Januhairy is for women—to let them know that body hair is perfectly normal, and that they have a choice to grow them or not. So if you want to sit this one out, that’s okay. But if you’re up for the challenge, that’s great too. Put down your razor, share your #Januhairy experience, and haters be damned.
Art by Marian Hukom
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