I mustache you a question: Does Movember raise awareness?
Remember, remember, the fifth of Movember... Wait, that’s not how the rhyme goes. It seems that few people have heard of the cause being championed by many men this month, but luckily, it’s starting to catch on.
The premise is pretty basic: Begin clean-shaven on Nov. 1, and grow out your mustache in order to raise awareness for men’s health issues, such as pancreatic and testicular cancer. No other facial hair besides the mustache is acceptable.
This is in stark contrast to the more popular “No Shave November,” wherein guys compete to see who can grow out the most hobo-like beard in a shameless, albeit good-humored, display of laziness.
So is Movember an effective campaign? It’s hard to put aside the fact that awareness months of all types have come under fire in recent years for doing more to tell us what we already know, instead of actually offering tangible and constructive solutions. Even as a participant in Movember, I had not even heard of it until a week before it began this year.
I used to have a passable beard, but now whenever people see me, I inevitably hear, “Hey, isn’t it No Shave November?” I calmly explain that there’s also this thing called Movember; it’s for men’s health issues, and comedian and Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman has an informative video about it.
I suppose, in a sense, that I am raising awareness for — if not necessarily prostate and testicular cancer — an event centered on the diseases.
But I’ll admit that I could probably be doing more than simply growing out a mustache for a month to raise awareness for men’s health. I just have no clue what that is. Frankly, when December rolls around, I’ll likely go back to rocking the full beard in order to keep my face warm during the winter, even if it means looking like Zach Galifianakis.
I really have no response to those who call for me to take action rather than merely spread the word. Except, in this instance, I think people clearly are unaware that men’s health issues demand just as much concern as women’s do.
This may seem slightly off-putting — even sexist at first — but equality works both ways. I know men have always had it easier than women throughout history, but nowadays it seems like you can’t even talk about how something might affect men negatively without raising all kinds of ire.
While guys can certainly man up and wear pink in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a slightly taller order for most women to sport a mustache in November — although false ones could be appropriate substitutes.
Ultimately, I’m happy with my decision to go the Movember route instead of No Shave. It piques people’s interest and gets them thinking, which is better than leaving them ignorant — a surefire way to get nowhere. The novelty alone is enough to make an impression.
At the end of the day, if nothing else, you can grow out your mustache — or wear a falsie if you’re one of the many people who just can’t — in order to stand in support of a family member, friend, classmate, or the countless strangers who have struggled with and fought against cancer and other diseases.
Who knows, maybe a little facial hair will go (or grow) a long way.