In recent years, more and more women have ditched their razors, buoyed in part by body-hair-happy celebrities, beauty brands, and the rest of us alike taking a definitive stance on body hair. Rihanna posted a selfie showcasing her leg hair, while Billie became the first brand to actually show body hair in a razor ad. Whether they’re trying to make a statement or just no longer interested in being “perfectly groomed” — or maybe both — it’s working.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 2019 is off to a similar start, as women have taken to social media to celebrate #Januhairy, a project that encourages women to grow out and share photos of their body hair for the month of January.
Started by student Laura Jackson, who first grew out her body hair for a school project, Januhairy encourages women to accept and empower themselves while challenging the view that female body hair is abnormal and something to be ashamed of. It’s a fundraising effort, too: #Januhairy is also raising money for Body Gossip, a nonprofit that promotes education around body acceptance, by encouraging followers to sponsor women up to the task.
Jackson told BBC News that she was inspired to start the hashtag after experiencing backlash after growing her own body hair out. “Though I felt liberated and more confident in myself, some people around me didn’t understand or agree with why I didn’t shave. I realized that there is still so much more for us to do to be able to accept one another fully and truly.”
As part of the project, Jackson is encouraging like-minded women to post photos of their progress on social media, too — all for the purpose of normalizing women in their natural state. In an Instagram post in which she recounts explaining her plan to her curious mother, Jackson points out: “Why should we be called lazy if we don’t want to shave? And why do we have to be proving a point?…If we do something [or] see the same things over and over again, it becomes normal.” And by filling feeds with photos of women with body hair, she aims to make it just that: normal.
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