Januhairy can relate to having tossed and turned the night before a school swimming lesson, after painstakingly yet amateurishly shaving away any tell-tale trace of body hair.
Januhairy would scrape clumsily away at my skin with a razor until it bled and rashed over, leaving angry red scratches on my knees and ankles. I was so genuinely – mortally – frightened of bearing a stubbly armpit, or worse, a stray pube making a straggly bid for freedom.
No doubt they would have recoiled in horror if you’d shown them a strip of Veet, and yet this endless, painstaking ritual of hair removal is pressed upon girls from a grimly young age.
I can laugh a bit at such self-conscious fears now, being a fairly confident adult who is kind of fine with sporting a less-than-smooth pin on a night out.
But when I was younger I wish I’d known it was okay to have a fuzzy bikini line or a mini lady ‘tache; to exhibit signs of having gone through puberty other than possessing an ample yet impossibly perky pair of knockers.
According to a 2019 report from the Mental Health Foundation, 31% of teenagers felt ‘ashamed’ in relation to their body image, with young women being most likely to feel dissatisfied with their bodies.
Such profound internal shame can have a hugely destabilising effect on a young person’s life, and can lead to mental health issues, poorer quality of life and the eschewing of sporting activities.
It is frankly bonkers the lengths we women go to, to hide the fact that we have adult body hair; splashing daft amounts of time and money plucking and shaving and waxing parts that leave us hobbling for days.
While rampant male body hair can be viewed as virile and even sexy, a hairy women is all too often perceived to be completely undesirable. And women internalise this, hating the bits of themselves that continue to bristle and flourish, shave after shave.