In case you didn't know how shaving armpit and leg hair for women became a norm, you can blame the relentless advertising campaigns. At the beginning of the 20th century, women, and of course society in general, couldn't care less about the hair growing on their bodies. However, after sleeveless dresses came into fashion, advertisers began targeting women's armpit hair, encouraging women to remove them. Then followed leg hair. By the 1950s, after what seemed to be merely a fad created by annoying advertisers, shaving became a social norm lasting for decades.
However, these days people have begun to question the long-lasting beauty standard and its effects on women's body image. While some of us merely participate in discussions, other women dare to quit shaving and turn to social media to show that hair is nothing but a normal and natural part of their bodies.
In 2018, a woman named Laura Jackson, who was sick and tired of society telling her how her body should look, created 'Januhairy', a campaign that encourages women to ditch razor blades for a month and share their progress pics on social media. The idea picked up and each year begins to fill up with women rocking their natural body hair. Scroll below for the list of photos women have shared in the name of Januhairy!
More info: Instagram
“There was this time where puberty was just commencing and gifted me a full-blown pube-stache, and to be given a razor to snip it off was a dream. I was thrilled to remove my hair and have baby soft, hairless skin. I was excited to finally be "beautiful". Until this little fantasy turned into a nightmare. Wherein I found myself disgusting. And if I couldn't wax it off, I shaved it all. If I was too lazy to do it, I just wouldn't go out. Because I couldn't look like that when I was going out, could I? I associated myself with something untidy, unpleasant, and loving myself turned into this tedious task because I couldn't. Until I was spotless. I had to be spotless every day. I couldn't miss a patch. I couldn't feel like a "cactus". I couldn't have them calling me a cactus. Because that's how it should be, right? Because that's what they said, that's what they like. I now know I could. I could grow, and be just the way I am and be loved for it. I want to grow. And I want you to see. That I'm done. I'm wild and goddamn free.”
“It’s incredibly validating to see this image Alex took of me shared with the intention to create a conversation how we see hair and femininity. Since this image has started to be shared I’ve gotten a lot of questions around the journey of my body hair. It’s something I’ve run from my entire life until about 3 years ago. To the point where I had developed anxiety around hair & didn’t want to even be around people who had a lot of it too. It was a deep self hatred reinforced through bullying & overall beauty standards. The last day I shaved was actually Valentine’s Day. I was told by my current boyfriend he would never take me anywhere nice with facial, armpit or leg hair so in order to please him I shaved everything so we could “have a nice date”. HE FUCKING DUMPED ME ON THAT DATE. And from that point on I made the decision to NEVER alter my body to appease someone else. That decision was probably one of the best I’ve ever made regarding my relationship with my body. Which only grew stronger when I was starting to be approached about modeling & making adult content. Modeling was something I’d wanted to do since I was a child but when I started maturing I noticed even after shaving how prominent my leg hair was so I literally just didn’t bother before. I grew up hating & hiding a part of my body that now people were LITERALLY worshiping. There are still hateful people yelling what they think of me in public but honestly who doesn’t deal with that? People will always find a reason to dislike who you are & what you’re about. That’s why I hang on to the people who love me & the kind words people send me. There’s also another reason I don’t shave that many don’t think of. I have Lyme Disease which causes chronic fatigue & an overall weakness of the immune system. So it takes a lot of energy for me to shave allll the hair I have that grows SO FAST. And when I did shave I got ingrown hairs & infections all over. My body literally had to deal with more bacteria on it JUST from shaving. This isn’t a PSA to shave or not shave. This is a PSA to choose to do what makes you happiest with your body. Thanks for reading my lil journey.”
“I have palestinian heritage so I’m really hairy; I hate waxing cuz it’s pain, time and money; and I love my hairy legs cuz they make me feel like a bee (bees have really hairy legs and that’s one of the reasons they are the best pollinators)"
‘I stopped shaving my legs about 20 years ago, and have never looked back. my armpits followed about 5 years ago, and they have become one of my new favourite parts of myself! I feel like they add a beautiful splash of colour and texture to my outfit when I wear tank tops, and they are so soft! plus when I shaved my armpits, my right armpit was really hard to reach because I am missing my left hand, so this is way easier! I love showing off my body hair on my youtube show 'Stump Kitchen' because it portrays body diversity and more possibilities for what a woman's body can look like!’
“I went to a red carpet event without shaving my legs!! This may sound really dumb, but it was a big deal for me. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I feel (almost) totally comfortable like this. I stopped shaving my legs and armpits about a year ago as a practice of self-love. I grew up HATING the hair on my body. I was teased for it, snuck my mom’s razor at age 9, and would pray that god would remove my hair from the neck down. I would panic every time I got invited to go swimming and hadn’t shaved. When I got pregnant, I decided to work to overcome this insecurity. It’s not about “not believing in shaving”, it’s about believing I AM BEAUTIFUL, ATTRACTIVE AND “FEMININE” NO MATTER WHERE I HAVE HAIR ON MY BODY. It’s about showing girls you don’t have to listen when society tells you your natural features are ugly or gross. It has taken months to get used to it. The horrible online comments don’t help. But I’m getting there. Remember, if someone has a problem with the way you look, that’s an issue with THEIR mentality, not YOUR body.”
"See me // within it all I never saw myself seen I didn’t know of a language to make it make sense, feel real, to make it stick. surface living to quell the anxieties of not knowing who you are and where you come from. a void is not a dormant soundless hole, it can be a chaotic dissonant space, it can be a vortex at your core that wrings you out and leaves you broken. if I don’t see me, am i real? our stories buried and burned, histories willfully misrecorded, bodies brutalized and distorted. the heavy labor of our existence, the work that works to piece the pieces. our tongues cut, leaving us speechless, their language was never meant for us, our work is our narratives in flux, sounds, words, images, movement that is us. all new but rooted in a knowing that is before us all. even in my younger days where I never knew a world like this could exist for me, I felt a stirring that pushed me forth despite no blueprint or support, whatever that force was I thank it every day, and I work to nourish it."
“I feel powerful and beautiful with my hairy pits. I feel even more powerful when it’s colorful. It makes me feel so powerful knowing that just some hair can cause an uproar, make people uncomfortable or angry. That they cannot stand hair on a woman. We’re all human beings and grow hair for a reason. So why is it okay for men but not women? I don’t think it makes me any less of a woman having it. I feel beautiful, sexy, comfortable, glowing, a goddess with or without it. I don’t care if you like it or not. I don’t care what you have to say on it. I don’t care what anyone thinks on it except me. As long as it makes me happy, that’s what matters.”
“Today in our puberty lesson I talk to all of my students about where body hair is likely to show up, and not just in the normal places they may think of, we talked about extra body hair on our stomachs, arms, faces, lips and chest for all genders. — We talked about pubic hair and how as you grow older it is common for your hair to cover more and more area. — We also talked about labia minora and majora... how they come in different shapes, sizes, colors and length... to the whole class. —- We talked about why the topic of our bodies is uncomfortable and what our society’s role is in making us feel shame. —— We talked about why it’s important not to separate the class by genders to have these talks and how knowledge is power and we need to know our bodies and how bodies of any of our future partners may work. — We talked about “out of the norm” topics like how any gender can grow breasts. And we talked about how important it is to de sexualize breasts. —- We talked about how much shame and hurt it causes people who are judged for their bodies and the changes it’s going through. —- It was an amazing talk. Tomorrow we will have a q and a. I’m excited to see what more they want to talk about. —- I showed my leg hair again and the kids showed me theirs lol 😂 —- I said about 16161892 times “gender is a social construct” I hope they get it now hahah"
“Last month I discovered #januhairy; a movement of fuzzy lassie’s proudly proclaiming their allegiance to free-pitting for the month as an act of empowerment & body love. I myself have been know to let the ol arm garden grow for years now😏😎 so I thought “what the hay-bale!🐴 I’ll tag @janu_hairy in an image of the fuz” & they shared my post! As did a few other accounts Which lead to it being shown in an @ajplus video & 1000+ femme fur lovin’ folks finding my account. Meaning.. I got my first dick pic since 7th grade chatroulette🤘🏾 & countless messages from 95% men saying things like.. “Hey.” “Hey, I love ur armpits” “I love natural women 👅💦” “I’d lick ur armpits” “I’d love 2 smell ur armpits” “Can I have pictures of ur feet?” “How long u no shave down there?” “How long u been a hair activist?” “How much $ for a body pic?” “I love hairy vagina.” literally. this list goes on...& on. 🤦🏽♀️ On one hand, It’s sweet that I’ve unexpectedly gotten 0 hate about it.. (we’ll, except a teacher commenting “gag” to which he received more pictures of my unapologetic pit pelt)((yeah I said it)) But like.. wutup w this far swing to the other side? Why is the natural body a fetish? & how is showing it somehow an invitation to be hit on? to hear about how it makes you feel in your weenie & divulge sexual fantasies i never asked to hear about? & why does this automatically mean I’m an activist? Here’s what I think.. •If I am advocating something.. Its no shame in choosing ur body’s expression. •I’m stoked people are not only-not giving me shit, but are actually showing a lot of love.. it shows times are really changing •I’m endlessly over the age old ‘invade & conquer’ sexually toxic masculine mentality that in its fundamental nature makes itself welcome where 👏🏾it👏🏾is👏🏾not. #goon&slideritebackoutofmyDMsthanks. •You don’t need a # or a clever month name to get to know your body in different forms. Hopefully* everyday, for the rest of your life, you have the wonderful freedom to choose how you want to express yourself in this world. I hope you thoroughly enjoy the pleasure of choosing what feels rite for the only person who’s opinion really matters.. your own ✌🏾”
"Hair grows on your body where it is meant to grow. It's natural. It's not unclean or unhygenic or gross. It's normal but for some reason society has decided that hair on women is abnormal and disgusting and shameful. It is none of those things! If you want to shave then go for it! If you don't want to shave then that's fine too! It's your body and you are in control of how you look after and maintain your body. Your aesthetic is yours to choose and it's yours to change as and when you please"
“My last photo like this had people telling me I had too much body hair and too little whilst demanding I either shave it off or keep growing it. My take away from these kinds of comments is always: I do not care what other people think about my body because I am the only person who has to live in it. Every decision I make is my own. And I’m passing that on. This is particularly important as we enter the Christmas season i.e. the season where body shaming relatives come out of their homes to tell you to stop eating the panettone and ‘watch your waistline’
"Rocking our body hair and feeling incredibly glamorous at graduation ball. Body hair is not ‘un-feminine’, it is natural and you should choose whatever you want to do with it. You are beautiful, be kind to yourself. Have you continued to grow out your body hair over the summer? If so, what sort of reactions have you had? Lots of love as always, your Januhairy gals Laura and Ruby"
“There’s a lot of talk in the body-posi movement about women + non-binary folks* embracing their body hair, which is great. but every time this conversation comes up, the bodies & hair that’s used as an example for this embracing are light-skinned and/or with straight & fine hairs.⠀ ⠀ so I wanna shout out the babes with the 4C pubes, with the thick & coarse bushes, with the razor bumps & ingrown lumps from strands that coil into themselves, & the body hair so dark & defiant that it refuses to be hidden or tamed.⠀ ⠀ your body & the journey to love & accept the hair that grows out of it is a radical act of body sovereignty. I see you."
“Why does society still shame women for having body hair? If a woman has armpit hair, she's apparently "disgusting", "unkept" or has "bad hygiene", but if a man has armpit hair, no one says anything because "he's a man"...really? That's the only reasoning we need? If you leave a comment about your opinion, please also leave your reasoning.”
“Someone messaged me a few days ago saying “being disabled is cool and all, but you need to shave - it’s gross. do you even shower?” now there are SO MANY things wrong with this comment as you can see. but for now i’m just going to say this: body hair is normal. everyone has it. it’s not unhygienic for men not to shave so what difference is there for women? fuck society’s unrealistic standards, do what you want with your body hair, as it is YOUR BODY. grow it, shave it, wax it, dye it, do whatever, but do it for you. "
"I no longer have a complex about my body hair; I love it now. Regardless of others telling me it bothers them and that I should shave. I take them off only when I want.⠀ My body, my choices.⠀ Deconstruct your stereotypes, deconstruct your opinion about hairs. Yes it's clean, feminine, masculine and adult. If you don't accept that, go fuck yourself, it will certainly do you some good."
"What a shame it is that body image has such an impact on one's mental health. Januhairy isn’t just about hairy women; it is a rebellion against societal pressures driving destructive behaviour. Behaviour that we inflict on ourselves and on others. The anxiety that comes with our attempts to conform to social norms and be ‘perfect’, is heartbreaking to witness, let alone experience. I hope that you are kind to your body today. Nurture it in whatever way that means for you. Self compassion doesn’t have to exclude other people… some days you may need a little more than what you are giving yourself and that's okay; seeking help from others when you are in need of it, is still self compassion. On #mentalhealthawarenessday work on letting go of the pressure to be ‘perfect’ and instead, realise you are a unique and precious person, and accept yourself… just as you are. Love, Laura."
"Sometimes I shave, Sometimes I don't. I know why I shave. I shave because of norms, because this world hates women. I shave because I sometimes aren't feeling mentally stable enough to deal with the world seeing me as abnormal. I conform to the norms when I'm not strong enough to fight them. And it's okay. It's okay if you're not there yet, it's okay if you have to prioritize your mental sanity over smashing the norms. Ask yourself this: If the norm was to not shave - would you still shave? Or: If you were at a deserted island, all by yourself - would you still shave "just for you"? It is important to realize WHY you do what you do. There is nothing wrong with shaving. There is nothing wrong with letting it grow and just be. But know why you do what you do. I am tired of hearing women, including myself, say "I shave for me" - like, honestly. Would you, really, if for example the norm was that shaving was only something guys did? Think about it. Question everything. "
“Even though I‘ve started to grow my body hair, I still was a bit angry at it because it seemed to disconnect me with society - because I was always afraid of showing it and being looked at. I started to expose myself bit by bit and it helped me to also be proud of other parts of me and my body. But still I sometimes thought that my hair is something ugly and something that is against me and tried to hide it. But today a wonderful image came to my mind that changed my attitude: Bodyhair is like bushes around a beautiful mansion that keep away the gaze of the masses. A lot of people don‘t even see the mansion because of the bushes. But if they take some time to stop and really have a look, they discover the beauty of it all. Of the bushes and the mansion behind. And they are thankful that they are one of the few to see that. I can finally see the protecting quality of body hair, and that it helps me and leads me to the right people"
“WARNING: We are humans. Humans have hair. (Nervous to post this but here we go...) It took me a number of years to get comfortable not grooming my body based on unfair beauty standards. But hey, here I am!!! And I’ve decided to say something public about it. I’ve been growing my body hair for a few years now. I used to think about it every time I wore shorts or every time I raised my hand. But now it barely crosses my mind. And that’s because I LOVE IT!!!! Growing my hair has made me feel liberated and empowered in sooo many ways. I realized that I wasn’t shaving because I wanted to - it was because I was taught (by the patriarchy) that I will look untidy or unladylike if I don’t pretend to be hairless. But guess what? My hair is part of MEEEEE. It’s part of all of us. I’m done hiding it. I’m privileged to be in a body that doesn’t face danger from making a decision like this. However, I have been shamed and judged for it. If your preference is for women to not have body hair... that is the work you need to do. Ask yourself... why do I have that preference? Don’t make women feel ugly for choosing not to shave. I’m tired of hearing stories from friends about men commenting on their body hair. Let’s normalize our hair. It’s just hair after all!!!!! Here’s to showing the next generation that bodies have hair and it’s OKAY! It’s great! It’s a body! Yay bodies! Shoutout to all the women in my life who are my proud pit sistas like @stephbrener!!! I was told this week (by a man) that it’s unattractive to be a woman with body hair... so many of my incredibly inspiring friends shared their own stories of this too when I confided in them. It’s so sad that we live in a world where we pretend that women look a particular way. I sure have a lot of work to do to continue to figure out who I am in this world... I plan to keep doing it with all my hair blowing in the wind!!!! Comment if you have a shared experience - let’s support each other! And if you see the pics and think it’s gross... do the work you need to do to unlearn that!! Love to all who are reading this whole thing"
“Tomorrow, I'm saying goodbye to the hairiest legs I've ever loved. Tonight, I'm remembering the shame I felt as a 10 year old girl whose leg hair had just been noticed by one of her classmates. Two days later, my parents made fun of the same hair as I rested my bare legs on the dash board of our family car in the hot summer sun. My best friend's mom bought me my first razor when I was 11, and I could not wait to get rid of the hair that signaled something ugly and gross to the world around me. But tonight, I'm saying thank you to that natural part of me. Thank you for letting me feel the spring breeze in an entirely new way. Thank you for reminding me that I am not beholden to the world's standard of beauty or femininity. To the girl in 5th grade who made me feel like a werewolf, I wish you could see those fine baby hairs now. They're all grown up and not afraid of what you think any more.”
“I have extremely sensitive skin so I’ve always found that shaving would result in really painful razor burn, waxing would cause ingrown hairs and removal cream would burn my skin, so one day I thought is removing my hair really worth it (I was also having a environmental dilemma with using disposable razors and the amount of waste they cause stressed me out!) But now I honestly love my body hair, the look, the feel, everything about it I adore and I feel incomplete without it! Now I strut around with my sexy arm pits. Honestly it’s so inspiring and heart warming to see people getting on board with this...Cause at the end of the day it’s just hair!”