When the Movember Charity event began its humble and ambitious mission, very few people would have guessed that it would become the worldwide phenomenon that it has evolved into today. As a charity (and charity event) that bills itself as trying to “change the face of men’s health” –no doubt pun intended—it has taken on a life of its own. First of all, to put it bluntly, moustaches have been out of fashion, at least in the Western world for going on about 20 years now. As Freddy Mercury passed away and Magnum PI got canceled, the hairy lip people of the world started going the way of the dodo making ways for increasing amounts of man-scaping. That is, until they had a reason to do otherwise: the list of participating countries has grown to 11 and the lip caterpillar has rebounded bushier then ever-before.
So what is this Movember thing exactly, you may be asking yourself. It is basically a month of foregoing razors in support of men’s health overall. Think of it as the testosterone-laden response to the pink of October’s Breast Cancer awareness. Originally rumored to have started in a bar in Southern Australia as early as 1999, the eventual charity that would grow to what we now know it as would start by 2004, but the gist remains the same: it is a time for men to stop shaving in order to either raise money for a men’s health related charity, to promote awareness of men’s health issues, or in solidarity with those who do. The notion is, though that it does not matter why you do it, but rather that you do it.
The reality is that men, particularly, are an at-risk group for many health issues as they get older. On average, men die five years younger than women do, due in no small part to the fact that 24% of men are less likely to go to the doctor compared to women.
Additionally, the suicide rate is four times higher for men than women. By most accounts, that qualifies them as an at-risk group in need of some support.
The basics of the rules follow a 5-step plan that is available on their site. In it’s simplest form though, you basically declare your intention to grow and groom as you see fit for 30 days, without connecting to either the sideburns or chin grown, that’s about it (the rules also say something about conducting yourself as a gentleman, though I am not sure they mean it). And, while often it’s the funds raised by a charity that are most remembered, they cite the awareness raised through the power of the moustache is equally important. The growth of a new moustache prompts a conversation, which in turn generates awareness and educates people on the health issues that men face. Awareness and education then prompts people to take action and change behavior, which will of course lead to changing and saving lives today.
Since its humble beginnings in Melbourne, Australia, Movember has grown to become a truly global movement inspiring more than 3 Million (of what they call) Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to participate across 21 countries worldwide. Movember is also aware of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas supporting the campaign and men’s health causes in other parts of the world, from Moscow to Rio de Janeiro, and everywhere in between. In 2012, for example, over 1.1 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world joined the movement, raising a total of USD 147 million. So, get together with your boys and throw out the razors for a month; things are going to get hairy!
Movember takes place throughout the month of November. Show your solidarity by growing a moustache for charity and visit movember.com for more information.