What IS Movember? Have you heard ‘Movember’ tossed around, but don’t know what it means? Keep reading to see if you’re ready to join the cause.
If you’ve been wondering what the hell “Movember” means, you’re not alone. I get asked, “What is Movember?” a lot by both men and women. You hear men talking about what they’re going to do for “Movember,” or women at work asking their male colleagues how they’re going to demonstrate their support for “Movember.” What’s up with that? What IS Movember, for crying out loud?
Here’s the deal: Movember is a combination of the UK and Australian nickname for mustache (Mo), and the month of November. The resulting “Movember” is the time when men grow mustaches to raise awareness for men’s health.
There is a particular focus on men’s cancers, like prostate and testicular cancer, as well as mental health issues like depression. The noble goal of Movember supporters is to “change the face of men’s health.” And as we all know, nothing changes a guy’s face like a big-ass mustache.
Supporters want men to join the Movember Foundation and take part in the cause by becoming a “Mo-Bro.” Meaning a guy who grows a mustache to show support.
How Movember Got its MojoLet me take you back to Australia, circa 2003. A group of about 30 friends thought it would be great fun to all grow mustaches at the same time. Jolly good, clean fun!
When they found how much they enjoyed the experience, they decided to encourage other men to join them. Somebody thought a good incentive would be to raise awareness for prostate cancer.
By the next year, 450 mustache-growing participants raised an impressive $43,000 for men’s health issues. At this point, they knew they were onto something. But nobody had any idea of the enormity of what lay ahead.
Now let’s move forward in time, shall we? By 2012 Movember had become an international event involving hundreds of thousands of men in 21 countries. In the 9 years since 2003, they had raised over $100 million in support of men’s health.
Today the Movember Foundation has well over 5 million “Mo Bros” (as participants are called) from around the world. And they have raised nearly one billion dollars since 2003. See what can come from good, clean fun?
It should be pointed out that the Movember folks are purists and insist on being “all about the mustache and only the mustache,” according to Movember Foundation’s Mark Hedstrom, US Director. Meaning no beards allowed.
Should You Participate in Movember?Only you can answer that question, but rest assured, Movember is a very worthy cause. The incidence of men getting prostate cancer is as high as women getting breast cancer. As you may know, the National Breast Cancer Foundation has done an excellent job of raising awareness for this dreaded women’s disease. But until Movember, there has been no such movement for prostate cancer.
About one man in seven will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, and about one man in 40 will die from it. It is the second leading cause of cancer death among US men, just behind lung cancer.
Testicular cancer is far less common, with about one of every 260 men getting it in their lifetime. It is most commonly diagnosed among men between 20 and 34.
In addition to men’s cancer issues, Movember has recently focused attention on men’s mental health issues. In particular, men’s suicides and depression, which are closely linked. Worldwide, one man commits suicide every minute. That’s nearly 1500 each day. In fact, 3 out of every 4 suicides are men.
If you do decide to participate and become a Mo-Bro, you will be growing a mustache that is a “ribbon” demonstrating your support for men’s health. To join, visit the Movember Foundation website.
To kick things off, you should shave one last time on October 31st and begin growing your mustache, and only a mustache, on November 1st. You are not allowed to shave again until December 1st.
What is No-Shave November?Now that we’ve answered the whole what is Movember question, it’s time to cover the rest of the face. No-Shave November is another organization with similar goals, although they’re a lot more relaxed about rules. This group is all about not shaving during November. Period. It asks men to stop shaving, “as a unique way to grow cancer awareness,” according to their website. This group encourages men to donate to the American Cancer Society with the money they would have spent on shaving.
Participants can grow mustaches or beards without fear of anonymous threats, heavy phone breathing or sudden hang-ups. They also encourage women to skip shaving their legs in November and donate the money saved to the ACS.
The No-Shave November folks are less about men’s cancer health and more about raising awareness for cancer in general. So hairy legs and faces are the badges of support for cancer awareness. Go here if you’d like to participate in the No-Shave November movement.
Hopefully I’ve been able to shed some light on this, answer, “What is Movember?” and explain what the movement is all about. Growing a mustache is great fun, but we can’t forget why men do this each November. Awareness of men’s health issues, especially cancers and mental health, is essential to move the ball down the road toward a cure.
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