As Autumn comes to an end and the nights become longer for the winter period, men around the world count down the final days of October in preparation for the manliest of all months, Movember. Beards will be shaved, money will be raised and girlfriends will be just a little bit pissed off.
For anybody who doesn’t know, Movember is a charity set up to raise money for testicular and prostate cancer awareness, by promoting participants to grow their finest moustache throughout November. Men gain sponsorship through grooming and tending to their facial artwork, encouraging friends and family to donate money throughout the month in honour of their masculine endeavour.
Moustaches of all shapes and sizes are encouraged, whether it be the gentlemanly handlebar or the well-groomed bat-wing; the main aim is raising money for a worthwhile cause. The success of Movember stems from man’s intrinsic need to be better than everyone else; invaluable but ultimately irredeemable “man points” are awarded from fellow men to those seen to have facial hair worthy of accolade. Growing a full moustache from nothing in just a month personifies all that is manly, combining two of men’s three favourite things: competition and being manlier than your mates.
For some (like me) however, Movember can be a month of frustration. Whilst others around you grow majestic constructions of masculinity, above your lips is a pathetic, wispy assortment of curly hairs. Alas, the genetic pool cannot be so kind to everyone, as my current moustache-growing potential is around that of a pre-pubescent fourteen year old boy. I, however, remain hopeful that one day my Movember will come.
The origins of Movember are obscure; it started as far back as 2003 in Australia when two mates had the idea of growing moustaches for charity. According to the official site: “The two friends decided to talk their mates into growing a Mo. Inspired by a friend’s mother who was fundraising for breast cancer, they decided to make the campaign about men’s health and prostate cancer. They designed rules and guidelines for Movember (which are still in place today) and agreed to charge ten dollars to grow a Mo.”
The success of the charity continues to grow dramatically from the 30 men that participated in 2003; the 10-year anniversary will see Movember aim to top the massive £92million it raised in 2012. Since the addition of a strong online presence, Movember has added further dimensions to its cause. It now allows people to become heavily involved via the website, letting interested parties browse through “Mo Space” and find worthy moustaches they might like to donate to.
The further expansion of the website and its promotion is what has allowed Movember to become huge. Although it was just a novel idea at first, the exposure to social media means the cause becomes drastically bigger each year. The charity now encourages schools and campuses to sign up and get people within both to compete against each other in raising the most money possible, by growing the finest moustache possible.
The huge impact of Movember has also seen the charity expand its reach beyond just testicular and prostate cancer. The site now actively promotes the fight against mental health (especially among men) as well as being one of the few leading lights in men’s health charities.
Long may the success of Movember continue; the promotion of facial hair for a worthwhile cause is a fantastic way of enthusing millions of people to not only raise and give money to charity, but to take men’s health problems seriously. The fact it allows men to champion their own masculinity in a positive way is an added bonus, and until somebody invents “Cocktober”, Movember will be the ultimate way to prove you’re a man for a good cause.