By Laura Gartry
A new national campaign to raise money to fight violence against women encourages to women to go au naturale and stop shaving their legs and underarms during February.
Get Hairy February is a peer-to-peer initiative to raise money and awareness to support people affected by gendered violence, while also challenging stereotypes that women should be hair-free.
Director Alex Andrews said the campaign was not the female equivalent of Movember, which encourages men to grow moustaches for charity.
“We’re very familiar with growing hair for a cause in Australia, it is a concept we understand,” she said.
“Movember is culturally embedded now, it is seen as fun and easy.”
“But women’s hair has an inflammatory response, it’s confronting.”
“It’s acceptable for men to grow seedy moustaches in workplaces around the country, but would it be as acceptable for women to do the same with their armpit and legs hair in the warmer months of February? It’s part of creating that conversation.”
Get Hairy February is about ensuring women have the choice to shave or not to shave, which includes being able to choose not to shave without shame and stigma.
Ms Andrews said it did not seem like a “free choice” because of attitudes towards female body hair.
“It’s something you do every three days and you start to think, ‘Why I am doing this and paying for it?'” she said.
“Because in 1915, a large company ran an advertising campaign telling us that hair on a woman’s legs and underarms was ‘ugly and embarrassing’.
“The sentiment behind it … relied on women’s self-doubt as a way to sell products.”
Ms Andrews said the decision to stop shaving, which she had done since age 11, had a “radical impact” on how she saw her body.