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Januhairy: Why women are growing out their body hair

University of Exeter student Laura Jackson wants women to Image copyright Laura Jackson
Image caption University of Exeter student Laura Jackson wants women to "love and accept" their natural body hair

A month-long campaign encouraging women to grow out their body hair is happening for the first time.

Januhairy wants ladies to "love and accept" their natural hair while raising money for charity.

Founder Laura Jackson, 21, said she has had a "great response" and women from all over the world have now signed up to take part.

The Exeter University student said she came up with the idea after growing out her own hair for a performance.

"Though I felt liberated and more confident in myself, some people around me didn't understand or agree with why I didn't shave," the third-year drama student said.

"I realised that there is still so much more for us to do to be able to accept one another fully and truly."

She launched the campaign last month and now women from the UK, US, Canada, Germany, Russia and Spain are taking part.

Image copyright Januhairy campaign
Image caption Participants are sponsored to grow out their hair and raise money for Body Gossip, a charity that educates young people about body image

Ms Jackson, from Kineton, Warwickshire, hopes to raise £1,000 for charity Body Gossip's education programme, which teaches young people about body image.

"I just want women to feel more comfortable in their own beautifully unique bodies," Ms Jackson said.

"This isn't an angry campaign for people who don't see how normal body hair is.

"It is an empowering project for everyone to understand more about their views on themselves and others."

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Among those taking part in Januhairy are University of Exeter students India Howland, Lila Boschet and Roisin McCay-Hine.

"I think having body hair is one of many things women should never be made to feel lesser for," India Howland, 22, from Lymington, Hampshire, said.

"I've heard girls apologise for having hairy legs before.

"But you should be able to embody your femininity any way you want to - no one should feel pressured into shaving.

"It's a choice," the third-year drama student said.

Image caption India Howland, Lila Boschet and Roisin McCay-Hine are all taking part in Januhairy

Lila Boschet, 21, from Laguna Beach, California, said she was looking forward to taking part.

"I expect that there will be peaks and troughs, moments where I will feel awkward, but it's exciting to see where it takes me," the third-year drama student said.

"I forget to shave quite often. But I'm looking forward to doing something actively instead of passively."

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Media captionCan attitudes towards body hair be sexist for both men and women?

Roisin McCay-Hine, 21, from Fowey, Cornwall, said she was initially nervous about taking part.

"It made me feel uncomfortable," the second-year English literature and drama student said.

"I nearly didn't sign up because I was so nervous about drawing negative attention to myself.

"But that is exactly the problem, which is why I decided to challenge myself into getting over it."

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