It ended with me agreeing to Januhairy. A movement where you don’t shave for a month to empower women, make them more confident in their own body and get another view on hair. In the end you should post a photo on instagram or twitter with that hashtag.
As I can say I luckily never had a shameful view on body hair, I did not really bother. I thought fair enough, I wear jumpers all the time anyway, maybe upload a snapshot to instagram stories, it does not have to be on my feed.
And that’s where it clicked for me. Why not? Why was my first thought literally „No one has to see it“.
As I said before, I never really felt grossed out by mine or someone else body hair. I normally shave my armpits and intimate area regularly, my legs not that often as I am lucky enough to have fine, blonde hair.
It is actually quite a big event amongst my close friends when we shave our legs including tons of photos in our WhatsApp group and invitations to come over and feel. (Which is a bit difficult now with them living in another country).
So with all the time I saved on not shaving my underarm hair for a month I started thinking and walking down memory lane.
How I started shaving
My first time being confronted with my body hair was when I was 12 and on a student exchange in Weymouth, South England.
One of the older girls (well, with 12 someone who’s 14 is very grown up), stated out the fact I have hair under my arms and told me everything about shaving. I got so confused and anxious on that day, that I wrote my mom a sms if it would be ok if I shave.
She said sure whatever, if I want to. However I did not end up shaving my armpits on that exchange, as I did not had a razor, but trimming it with nail scissors. Only because that girl talked so much about it and really influenced me.
A few weeks later my mom helped me shaving my armpits for the first time, I was very unimpressed and did not think about shaving again till I was 15 and had my first real crush. Long story short, I ended up on my first date with some pretty bad cuts on my legs.
Since then I more or less regularly got rid of my body hair.
What Januhairy taught me
So I started this experiment of not shaving my legs and armpits for a month.
I must say I thought I will think about it all the time, which I didn’t. I barely felt I have more hair.
However the first time I felt uncomfortable was in the Gym. I was lifting and could see me and my armpits in the mirror. All of the sudden I felt very weird and was looking around if someone was starring at me. No one did, the only thing I saw was another guy next to me lifting, with noticeably more hair than me.
So why is it normal for men to show of their hair in tank tops and I felt the inner pressure to stop my workout to make sure no one stares at me? It was a sad experience as I always thought I am quite confident in my body. I never felt as influenced by society as I realised I actually am.
Since this incident I started to think more about the whole topic. It seems small but shaving actually does have such a big impact on both women and men. Even though its not a big thing since much more than 25 years.
We grow up being told that one of the most natural things on our body is gross. That we are only sexy if we look and feel like stingrays. (Yes, I stroke a stingray once and they feel like my shaved legs, in case you ever wondered).
The truth is, I grow quite fond of my new friends. I enjoyed not caring about shaving and just being me. I also did not notice any difference when it comes to hygiene. Obviously when I went to the gym, but lets be honest: my hair was just doing its job: acting as a pheromone diffuser and helps spread your natural, irresistible scent to attract potential mates.
I am not sure how well that would have went, as I am already dating. But I can also say my partner did not comment at all on my little project. I haven´t told him and was kinda waiting for him to ask. In the end I brought up the topic and he simply commented on it that it is no big deal and he wouldn’t shave either. So I discovered I could feel feminine and sexy despite my body hair, which has troubled me since I started.
So what started as a „Ok I´ll play along to help my friend doing it“ ended with me being more self aware and happy.
Reasons why you should stop shaving
Even with Januhairy being over, I can just highly recommend to anyone to just not shave for a month.
You might think you are already liberated and happy in your body, but this little step of getting over this social pressure is so freeing!
- I will eventually start shaving again, but I found out I am happy and comfortable in both ways now.
- Once you are accustomed to the look, you might quite enjoy the soft feeling of hair instead of prickly stubbles. I am lucky enough to not experience lot of razor burn, but if you do just give your skin some time to heal.
- You will meet a lot of positive people and might be even able to help some girls or other women to become more confident.
I was quite intimidated at first to write this blog post and share those photos, but if I can help to make a handful of people feel better about themselves or create a world where my daughter doesn’t have to become anxious about some body hair, it is worth the weird feeling. The amount of people who participated in this challenge is overwhelming and it gives me a lot more confidence in humanity and the changes this generation can bring to the world.
We might be a generation who doesn’t have to fight for our rights to vote or work anymore, but there is still a lot to fight for.
And with growing my underarm hair I realised how much pressure we put on ourselves without even realising. And we should change that.