Personal Health

9 Women Get Real About Why They Don’t Shave Their Body Hair

Showing off body hair is a trend that’s slowly trickling into the mainstream. But there’s still a stigma attached to rocking grown-out pits or a thick womanly bush. Now, a new social media movement is shattering that restrictive beauty norm. It’s called #januhairy, and women everywhere are taking part by shamelessly posting photos of their body hair online. 

In addition to #januhairy, they’re also using hashtags like #bodyhairdontcare (yeah, these gals are clever) and #womenwithbodyhair. In their captions, many explained why they stopped shaving. Some say it’s given them a serious self-confidence boost, while others simply want to embrace the body nature gave them. 

“I grew out my body hair for a performance as part of my drama degree in May 2018,” the founder of Instagram account @janu_hairy wrote in a recent post. “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.”

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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

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Another user, @themamabell, wrote: “I’m half Lebanese, hairy by nature. When I shave my hair grows back within minutes, it’s truly pointless and a waste of shower time for me considering how much hair I have to groom solely on my head. So I stopped. Eventually I stopped shaving all together because it simply did not benefit me anymore.”

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So if you know me then you know that I choose not to shave my pits. Lots of people ask me why so I figured since there’s this #januhairy thing happening on social media why not talk about it?! 🖤 I think I stopped shaving my pits mid 2016 after coming across @ripsnorter on ig. She was beautiful and just so happened to not shave either and that’s when I realized who fucking cares about hair. I’m half Lebanese, hairy by nature. When i shave my hair grows back within minutes, it’s truly pointless and a waste of shower time for me considering how much hair I have to groom solely on my head. So i stopped. Eventually i stopped shaving all together because it simply did not benefit me anymore. Fastforward 3 years and i haven’t bought a single use razor since then. Sometimes I’ll shave because I feel like it and that’s the point. It should be a choice! Not a beauty standard. 🖤 Sure there’s tons of criticism but it has benefited me in so many ways. No more ingrowns or razor bumps, I don’t sweat as much, I used to always have sweat circles on my sleeves, contrary to popular belief my pits don’t stink and I rarely use deodorant now because of that, and i have much more time in the shower now that I’m not incessantly worrying about removing every last strand of hair on my body. Oh and it’s also helped me weed out shallow potential mates in this freaky dating world because I don’t want to be with someone who’s not comfortable with my body choices. 🖤 The point is, do whatever you want because it’s your body. Someone is always going to have something negative to say so you may as well do whatever is going to benefit you. Happy Januhairy! I challenge you to put down the razor next time you’re feeling called! 📸 @michaeldrummondphoto

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Say it with me now, ladies: Body hair is a natural part of being a woman. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and we’re done pretending like shaving is the only way to be sexy. The women who have joined this movement are total badasses, and we could not be more here for them. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite shared photos. Spoiler: They all look fierce as ever! 

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eeeeek i’ve just learnt about januhairy!! it’s always so exciting for me to see new waves of this movement of body nonconformity. it’s gaining a lot of attention from the media which is EXACTLY what is needed. people need to be reminded over and over that what women choose to do with their bodies is THEIR OWN DAMN CHOICE. people need to see women who do not care to change themselves to fit our society’s bullshit beauty standards until seeing that becomes the norm. that is the only way we can change the standards . shave or don’t, i don’t care or judge you either way, it’s your choice! but i do encourage all women to think about the changes they make to their bodies and think about why they do it. who they do it for . personally, there are so many reasons i don’t shave my armpits and very few reasons why i would. but one of my biggest motivators not to is knowing that by not shaving i am actively choosing not to give money to companies, and the people who run them, that think that women’s bodies aren’t good enough the way they naturally are . so, go follow @janu_hairy !! put something different on your insta feed – if you’re unsure about stopping shaving, it may help shift your perspective to see the beauty in it.

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i’ve been in the modelling industry since i turned 18 and the last 5 years i haven’t shaved my legs and 2 years haven’t shaved my armpits – when i was finally brave enough to lift my arm in photos i got a lot of hate, to the point of death threats and i am regularly told it’s disgusting and i need to shave. it’s so good to see the stigma of natural body hair on women being challenged by other people! i have felt so alone in this path. the tears i’ve shed over the journey to embrace my own body hair is so ridiculous and can still be so sad for me to think about. over the last week i discovered @janu_hairy – big thanks to some of you tagging them on my profile! (please always tag me in things you think i’ll be interested in) 🙏🏼 looking into the movement tonight has got me crying and i didn’t want to wait any longer to share something about it. i never know where to begin with talking about my body hair experience. the videos i shared on youtube barely touch the surface and were both anxiety inducing to film. the thought of making more weighs on me, i want to but there’s just so much i want to do… and say. the reactions to my body hair are often nasty and my audience is over 200,000 men that cannot relate. i have felt so alone, i have felt so wrong, i have felt so annoying. i have been brushing off the impact of everything and afraid to talk about it because… i’m a “strong independent woman”, i should “ignore the trolls” and there are worse things going on in the world i should be talking about right? but… it’s ok to be fed up with something. it’s ok. it sometimes feels the only audience i reach when i upload are men with a fetish and i’m fed up of my natural body being simply a fetish. i want to change this. i want to reach women and show them it’s ok to embrace it. i want to reach little girls and show them they don’t have to remove it! i want to be heard and i want to be seen outside of the sex industry. i want to be the person i needed when i was younger, the change i want to see in the world. who else is with me? what if you didn’t shave in january? what if you shared your own body hair experience? #januhairy | wearing beautiful new @harlowandfox bra.

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Body hair is natural. Body hair is natural. Let that sink in……….… It's 2019 and people still get offended or disgusted over female body hair? I have chosen to embrace mine. MY BODY! MY RULES! Not yours, not society's, not Susan's or Mikes out there who turn up their noses in disgust. MINE! My body hair makes me feel empowered and beautiful. Fuck society's standards of what beautiful is or what is or isn't acceptable. I find body hair on MYSELF beautiful, MY RULES are my beauty standards. Shave! Don't shave! nobody has the right to make you feel inadequate or less beautiful if you stick to your own rules. I grow my body hair for ME. MYSELF & I. I grow my body hair for MY own personal preference. Also, being a person of colour who has body hair, I feel passionately about breaking the stigma around body hair on individuals of colour. It's like some kind of rule we shouldn't grow our NATURAL hair because it's deemed 'ugly', 'unhygienic', 'unattractive, etc. Well fuck you!! SHOUTOUT to all my beautiful individuals who are just doing you no matter what society throws at us. Remember it's YOUR BODY & YOUR RULES. Your beautiful is the only beautiful that matters. #pithairisbeautiful #armpithair #mybodymychoice #queer #pocqueer #effyourbeautystandards #armpithairdontcare #myrulesmylife #bodyhairdontcare #gohairyorgohome

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Just your gentle and loving reminder that whatever your gender, body hair is just another part of being human. Whether you show it, grow it or shave it is totally up to you. I spent far too many years of my life ashamed of my legs and covering them up. I hated shaving them but felt like I wasn't allowed to show hairy legs in public. Well no more my friends! Embracing my non-binary-ness over the last few years has given me the confidence I needed to breakdown these unfairly gendered expectations we so often subconsciously place on ourselves and others. And so now these hairy pins get shown off all summer long, at the pool, at the gym, and guess what? No one cares. The world doesn't end. I am no longer ashamed, I am proud. You be you, and I'll be me. 😁 . #hairylegs #bodyhair #endgendernorms #endgenderstereotypes #effyourbeautystandards #bodypositivity #januhairy #nonbinary #genderqueer #agender #nonbinarypride #theythem #oneofthem #gendernonconforming #gnc #gendercreative

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Well I've heard it's #januhairy now, so I decided to join. I had begun to shave in elementary school after I went to a swim class and one classmate asked me why I don't have shaved armpits. I still remember the feeling of surprise and humiliation that something is wrong with my body. At this age, you can easily get the impression that if you're not doing what everyone else is doing, something is wrong with you. I often heard in high school that I would be more attractive if I didn't have such hairy hands. With time, it gradually became clear to me that the main reason why I shave is mainly the inner pressure from this learned norm and the automatic expectation of the society. It sounds banal, but I think this pressure on women is really strong and unnecessary. Now I'm satisfied with all my hair because the hairs are normal. Peace out @janu_hairy @bodyhairmovement @gethairyfebruary #natural #woman #body #bodypositive #beauty #happy #bodyhair

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I remove my bikini hair but grow out my armpit hair. I’ve worked on organic farms and on Wall Street. I like to meditate but I love my explicitly lyriced hip hop 😝 I like to rough it while camping but I need a warm bath when I get home. I like my kale and I respect my peanut butter ice cream🍦 These different parts of me do not make me a poser, hypocritical, contradictory. They make me a human being: and a very multi faceted one at that. I give myself permission to be anything I need to be, whenever I need to be. Life’s too short to live it in a fortress of our own walls. Oh and the pits, I think they’re cute and I embrace every part of me. So yeah. Love it or leave it.😍 #leefromamerica

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How have you challenged the patriarchy this year? Personally, I decided to start exploring my relationship with body hair – not just my own hair but the way I react to seeing hair on other people, specifically women. Shaving/hair removal is the most widely accepted “beauty” practice, so as someone who works in the beauty industry, I think it’s important for me to examine, understand and challenge ideals that are so culturally ingrained, it’s hard to decipher what *I* really want vs. what the culture wants and expects. Visible body hair below the eyelashes is one of those things. Up until more recently, I’ve always thought, “Well, I just LIKE being hairless. It FEELS good.” But then I started asking myself WHY I felt this way. When I had that answer, I’d ask why again and again until I got to the deeper root of it all. It was uncomfortable. I was afraid of the negative attention I’d get for having visible body hair. I also never really knew what it felt like to grow out my hair and actually expose it to the world. Sure, I’d stop shaving in the winter but all my hair was hidden under clothing. The minute it got warm, the razor came back out. If I was dating someone, HELLO RAZOR! Women who have armpit hair or leg hair are often told they’re gross, dirty and lazy. I’ve caught myself thinking those things about other women AND myself. It’s not only false, but profoundly heartbreaking that we wound ourselves with these thoughts. I don’t know exactly where I’ll end up on the hair spectrum, but I do know that the only way for me to find out what *I* really want is to experience my hair in complete fullness without altering the way I dress to cover it up. If the time comes when I do pick up a razor again, it won’t be out of fear, it’ll be because I know what I want… and a woman who knows what she *really* wants may just be the most powerful force there is. ✨

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