Seeing women and femme-identifying folks embracing their body hair is so rare, were here writing an article about it. But, the pandemic has seen the body hair positivity movement slowly but surely gaining momentum. Weve seen clients coming in to eliminate all their body hair from a very early age as they felt more comfortable that way. The pandemic allowed them to get comfortable with the idea of growing it out and now theyre able to accept and celebrate the natural way of things, explains Amyn Manji, director of Zah Salon Spa India.Image source: Instagram.com/_chhavisnookLockdown aka the beginning of a grooming hiatusIn 2020, the world embarked on a grooming hiatus together. Without salons being operational, people contemplated waxing strips and razors only to shrug them off because wellwe were in the middle of a pandemic after all. The lockdown gave us space from one another and the outside world, explains Sonia Thakur Desai, a UK-based freelance creative and theatre-maker. It relieved some of that external pressure to look a certain way and gave us space to explore what we really liked for ourselves both regarding body hair and otherwise, she adds. For example, in lockdown, the drama graduate gave up wearing bras and found herself more comfortable and happier. As things have opened up now, Ive tried to continue this for myself because why should I put myself through that discomfort? Theres still a lot of unlearning we need to do collectively as a society and that being said, a lot of responsibility lies on the big corporations. Theyre the ones selling a specific image of beauty and capitalising on peoples insecurities, she adds.Image source: Instagram.com/marloesdeveeSocial media is challenging the stigma around body hairQuestioning our body hair freedom makes sense. Thanks to the multiple lockdowns, most of us have realised that we remove our hair due to social pressure and stereotypes rather than it being a necessity. The beauty industry has contributed to this pressure. Were often sold the idea that body hair removal is an important part of beauty which leads to us growing up and mimicking what we see on TV or in magazines. Just think about how many hair removal advertisements youve seen where by just shaving their legs, women feel their confidence surging. What ideas about beauty are we putting out in the world? Today, this thought of body hair being abnormal is being strongly challenged on social media through movements called #JanuHairy.Laura Jackson, the founder of Januhairy.Image source: Instagram.com/JanuhairyWhat is this? A 2018 movement kickstarted by Laura Jackson, a 21-year-old student at Exeter University in the UK aimed to raise money for Body Gossip, a non-profit that promotes body acceptance by encouraging individuals to embrace their body hair. Today this campaign has over 12,000 posts on Instagram where people are sharing their experiences with their body hair and just having a conversation about itit isnt at all a prickly topic, you see? Pun intended. I wanted to take part in #JanuHairy because neither did I like the shame I held because of my body hair nor did I appreciate the energy it absorbed from me. I wanted to feel comfortable in my natural state, explains Desai. As a South Asian person having coarse black hair that on one hand I was complimented on when it was on my head but ridiculed if it were anywhere else. And so I was aware that the reason I was removing my hair wasnt for me but because of societal pressures so I wanted to challenge myself to overcome these pressures and explore what I actually liked for my own body whether that was keeping my hair or removing it, she describes.Sonia Thakur Desai (pictured above) talks about the societal pressure to remove body hair.The stark realisation that hygiene has nothing to do with hair removalA lot of people claim they shave for hygiene reasons but there is nothing about body hair that is unhygienic! That is a myth were conditioned into believing explains Desai. She adds, Pubic hair serves as a protective function to stop bacteria entering the genitals and prevent infection. If there was anything unsanitary then there wouldnt be such a double standard in terms of it being acceptable for men to have body hair. Manji agrees, There is no direct link between the two. The key benefit is that it gives your skin a smoother base by exfoliating it. However, this is nothing that can't be achieved with a good physical scrub in the salon, or at home.The decision to remove body hair or not to remove them is a personal choice. Her Circle believes in celebrating every womans choices.