The concept is simple: women must commit to letting all of their body hair grow out for the entire month of January. With a somewhat unclear focus, two main points seem to take the lead. Firstly, the idea to help with the empowerment of women by changing the point of view on body image is one that everybody can get behind. For too long have women been oppressed by the standards of beauty, and so this is an opportunity to take back their gender and build a new archetype of aesthetic. The second is to raise money for a variety of charities, the nature of which changes every year.
This movement was founded by Laura Jackson. This young Exeter student got the idea while she was growing out her body hair in preparation for a play. It took her a few weeks to get used to it, but she then started to like the woman that she became when she dropped the razor. Laura reported feeling more confident in herself, but she was faced with quite a bit of opposition from her peers.
Growing out body hair has since grown into a worldwide campaign that is focused on raising money for charity. This year’s focus is especially ambitious as participants will be raising money to fight climate change, particularly for the protection of trees and reforestation. Jackson continues to be active on Facebook, posting that “our charity focus this year is to support TreeSisters in protecting, restoring and funding reforestation… We envision a world in which it is normal for everyone to protect and restore themselves and their world, a plight we resonate with as women, to protect and restore our personal natural habitats! “
The 2020 campaign was announced in a Facebook post that said: “A very hairy new year to you all!! Today marks the first day of #januhairy2020 where women all over the world come together to drop our razors for the month of January.” Jackson is especially particular about the access of the movement. Even though the campaigns are focused on women, everyone is welcome to join regardless of gender, lifestyle, and identity. Part of embracing the natural body means having as many allies as possible, and so to be inclusive of anyone interested in the cause. This includes supporting people who are at least prepared to talk about the subject, without by any means pressuring them to get down in the trenches and grow out their hair.
Last year’s campaign worked to benefit another charity called Body Gossip, which empowers people to be the best version of themselves through the arts and education. More than $2,000 were raised through Jackson’s crowdfunding website through sponsorships that supported women who were growing out their body hair.
Many people are considering Januhairy to be a rip-off of Movember, wherein men grow out their moustaches in support for men’s health issues. Jackson insists that this is not the case because the supported causes of Januhairy benefit everyone and not just men. The rivalry will go on.