You've heard of "Movember," you've heard of "Dressember," but have you heard of "Januhairy"?
According to People, the trendy new movement that encourages women to let their body hair grow unabated for over a month has become quite the "it thing" on social media. Started by Laura Jackson, a drama student at the University of Exeter in the U.K., the movement seeks to liberate women from the uncomfortable constraints of shaving. She originally began growing out her hair in preparation for a role, however a few weeks later she began to really appreciate her own body hair and decided to make it a movement.
"I grew out my body hair for a performance as part of my drama degree in May 2018," she said in an Instagram post explaining the movement. "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."
Laura went on to say that as more people began to express confusion over her newfound body image, she realized that society has a long way to go in accepting the differences of others.
"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. "Then I thought of Januhairy and thought I would try it out. It’s a start at least."
Her family and friends have been largely supportive; the ones who were less enthusiastic about Laura's choice, such as her mom, who once questioned if the movement was just an excuse to be lazy, eventually accepted it once she explained her reasoning.
"If we do something/see the same things, over and over again it becomes normal," said Laura. "[Mom] 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!"
Unlike other feminist projects, Laura says she does not intend "Januhairy" to become some angry campaign out to smash the patriarchy, but rather an empowering project for people to accept themselves.
"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," she said.
The Movember movement of November encouraged men to grow mustaches in order to raise awareness about men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.
Laura Jackson has since created a Crowdfunding page to support the body-positive organization, Body Gossip, which "empowers everybody to be the best version of themselves through Arts and Education," according to People.
With just nine days into "Januhairy," women across social media have proudly posted photos of themselves to display their newly-grown body hair. People reports that there are "2,796 Instagram posts with the hashtag #januhairy featuring empowering selfies from participants."
One Instagram user said she participated in the movement to show solidarity with other women who are taking "ownership of how their body should look."
"This is not a campaign to say, ‘Oh, women should be hairy’ but a movement in solidarity to discuss the importance of young women taking back ownership of how their body should look, whether that means being hairless or not, it’s up to individuals to decide," she said.
Another wrote: "I believe in my choice of shaving, When I Want to, Not Because: You think I’m disgusting . I know a woman can be #sexy with #hairylegs or without. Also men are sexy with #hair or #nohair."
Better that women express empowerment by posting photos of themselves covered in body hair than the wholly disgusting alternative.