How many of you have heard of Movember? No, not ‘no-shave-november,’ Movember. The purpose of it is to grow a moustache and raise money for prostate cancer research. Individuals who simply grow a moustache because ‘it’s no-shave-November’ completely miss the point.
According to the Movember website, the movement began in Australia in 2003, when a group of friends challenged each other to bring the moustache back into fashion. By 2006, they had created a foundation and had turned the challenge into something that backed a cause — men’s health.
Movember’s Australian origin was probably the best thing that could have happened to the movement due to the sheer number of backpackers that travel the country every year. Young travellers partake while abroad and bring the idea home. In 2007, the participating countries included Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, UK, and USA. Last year, there were over 20 countries involved on every continent around the world and, as the website says, “the Movember Foundation was ranked 72nd out of the top 500 NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in the world.”
As of 2014, Movember has raised over $677 million worldwide and funded over 800 men’s health projects. There are corporations donating time, money, and logos to sponsor the movement. Most importantly, there are people, like myself, willing to look like 1970s porn actors for a month to raise some money for a good cause.
Unfortunately, there is a growing group of men who think that November is a good excuse to simply grow facial hair rather than to support the cause that Movember showcases. I’ll admit that Movember is a contributing factor to the increased acceptance of facial hair in the social zeitgeist, and I recently started sporting a beard that I’m actually enjoying.
But, the idea behind Movember is not to grow a trendy beard just to feel included. We should be growing a ‘mo to raise money and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer research, and to create a conversation about men’s health. To me, the guys who stop shaving for no reason are like those people who give away free cookies during girl guide cookie month. Sure, you get free cookies, but ultimately the idea takes away from the people who sell cookies for a cause.
Maybe you want to join in because your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate is participating, I get it. Well then, be like Yoda: “Do, or do not.” Join the cause and visit to the Movember website to sign up. Ask your friends, your parents, your workplace, and your profs if you’re feeling gutsy enough, for a small donation, and perhaps donate $20 yourself! Don’t worry, you’ll still afford a ticket to Star Wars by December.
When it comes down to it, the people that just grow facial hair in November because it’s ‘cool’ take away from those of us who really want to make an effort to actually partake in such a strong movement. They cheapen the efforts we put in, and raise the ambivalence level of the general public.