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This is why I’m not shaving for the whole of January

Move over, Movember

In a nutshell, "Januhairy" is Movember for girls. The Januhairy Instagram account describes the campaign as "a project for women to challenge social norms and grow out their body hair for the month of January, all to raise money for Body Gossips education program."

We spoke to third year University of Exeter drama student, Laura Jackson, who created the female body positive movement popularly known as "Januhairy".

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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 Jan 2, 2019 at 10:35am PST

When asked what Januhairy means to her, Laura said: "It's an experiment for women to come together, encourage one another and be sponsored to grow out our body hair for the month of January". Laura's movement has only been active since early December, but it's had a lot of positive responses from friends, family and women all over the country.

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"There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty."~Steve Maraboli • • • @i_am_morgie~ “…Imagine if everyone just decided that today was the day they loved themselves and embraced every part of them selves. Accepting and loving your body and your "flaws" because you know they are what makes you who you are. If you are focused on being true to yourself in every moment, you are less concerned what others think, which will lead to peace of mind. When you have nothing to hide and you can freely be yourself, there is a profound peace/confidence you will emanate to the world that will inspire others.”? • • • All the girls joining in januhairy are shaving off their body hair on New Year’s Eve (Monday 31st) ready to kick start the new year with a new challenge! We have many women who have signed up for this charity project so far, from the age range of 16-60! ✨?✨? Sign up and join in while you can! #3daysleft #januhairy #thenaturalrevolution #bodyhairmovement #bodypositive #spreadlove #behappy #namaste#hairywomen #healing #healthylifestyle #selfcare #loveyourself #beyourself #bethechange #divine #inspireothers #inspirationalquotes #positivity #goodvibesonly #lifeisbeautiful #hairy #gratitude #weareone #higherconsciousness #freespirit #empowerment #smile #feelgood #bodygossip

A post shared by Januhairy (@janu_hairy) on Dec 28, 2018 at 12:48pm PST

This movement is a driver for change in the way society sees women and seeks to boost the confidence and body image of women across the world by embracing body hair. Laura acknowledges the progress so far, saying: "Body hair is more accepted now on a woman than ever before", but hopes that Januhairy can go further so all women feel that can be "feminine, hygienic and have hairy bodies".

Asked what she would say to those who think female body hair is "gross", an opinion held by many, she said: "The real problem with our world is that we have stopped loving each-other for who we really are, and we have stopped loving ourselves too".

After performing a one women show in May about ideologies of women, Laura was inspired to take her work further. From growing out her body hair for the performance, Laura found she was enjoying embracing the natural hairiness of her body, leading her to create the movement "Januhairy" to boost her positive message.

Laura hopes that this movement will help make women feel comfortable "in whatever state they choose to be", whether they be hairy or not. She wants to give women the confidence to choose for themselves, and challenge the way they are often told they should look.

Laura is raising money through Januhairy for the charity, Body Gossip, which combines arts and education to empower everybody to be the best versions of themselves and, as Laura says, "rock their own brand of gorgeous".

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