The time of the month for Men has passed. Where the moustaches have finished blossoming (or not) everywhere and student bars become home to men admiring each other’s ‘Mo’ attempts. But is growing a Mo really about raising money and awareness, or is it just a competition which allows its contenders to revel in one’s masculinity?
Eleven years ago in a Melbourne pub, two young men decided over a beer that the moustache deserved a comeback. They persuaded thirty of their friends to grow a Mo for charity for ten dollars a go.
That first November in 2003, they raised nothing but they tried again the following year and raised the British equivalent of £32,000. Not bad for a thirty day stint. Movember now operates in over twenty one countries and over twenty million was raised last year in the UK alone.
Natasha Hill, of Cancer Research UK, said, “They found a way to appeal to men in a way that other campaigns just don’t – with banter.” You can’t argue with that logic.
I’m not going to delve into the whole ‘Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars’ debate but it is an accepted truth that men work differently to women. They love a good ‘bromance,’ they like to be the hero and it provides a good laugh between mates – because as we’ve all seen, the Mo doesn’t suit everyone!
Whilst some men ooze sex appeal and work the rough diamond image, others don’t seem quite as capable at pulling off the same look. It’s led to some critics (mainly women) labelling the creators of Movember as the guys who ‘have been making men ugly since 2003.’
Admittedly, this does seem very harsh. Where are your hearts, girls? I’m sure that the male population were not thrilled with all the no make-up selfies that circulated social media last year but you didn’t see them complaining, did you? Well actually, yes you did so I suppose we are even.
Justin Coghlan, head of Movember in Europe, and one of the original band of Melbourne ‘MoBros’, explained, “It’s a fun thing to do with your friends and it sparks conversations with complete strangers too. It’s all about guys coming together, but for a serious reason.”
He is correct too. Prostate cancer is a serious illness. Each year over forty thousand men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK and it accounts for thirteen percent of all male deaths from cancer in the country. Shockingly, every hour one man dies from this form of cancer and one in eight men are diagnosed with the illness at some point in their lives.
But there is a growing concern that lots of guys are just doing it because it is trending. Beards are the ‘in thing’ at the moment and guys adorning a well grown beard can be found surrounded by hordes of hot-blooded females.
Keir Durrant, 20, a second year Computer Game Programming student at DMU said, “Some people just hop on the band wagon because everyone else is doing it, without donating or knowing what it is for. Whereas others do it and donate.”
Both my Ex’s joined in with Movember but for different reasons. My first boyfriend grew a Mo and he did it properly – via the official website to raise money. For the past two years he could be seen modelling his Mo without his trademark beard, during what has also been nicknamed ‘Moustache Month.’
That’s where the penny should drop really: Moustache month. Not beard month. Not moustache and beard month. I don’t care how bushy your beard is; it is cheating and it does not count! My other Ex claimed he was growing a Mo, except he wasn’t.
He just didn’t shave and enjoyed being part of the ever growing beard crew. When I tackled him on the subject, he said it still counted. I then asked if he was raising money and donating; he didn’t have anything to say after that. I did have a moan at the time and I’ll do it again!
Don’t get me wrong; I am a lover of beards. However, that completely ignores what Movember is all about. It is not about looking manly and appealing to beard lovers like myself. It is about raising awareness for Prostate Cancer and, by cheapening the cause with a full on beard, it makes the whole idea less effective.
Niall Quinn, 19, a first year Advertising and Marketing student at DMU, said: “Movember is a great way to raise money for charity because men do not feel as comfortable as women talking about and addressing health problems. The charity aims to “change the face of men’s health” and growing a moustache for the month is like No Bra day for Breast Cancer.”
Whatever side of the fence you sit on, one thing is certain: figures don’t lie. Love it or loathe it, Movember is making a difference and it is raising money. ‘MoBros’ are popping up everywhere and men are becoming more forthcoming with their health issues, which can only be a good thing.
The Movember website sums up the cause perfectly: ‘Movember is more than just an excuse to grow a fine piece of ‘moustachery;’ it’s about having conversations while raising funds and awareness, it’s about having fun and doing good.’
So that being said, good work boys. Well done to those that ditched the beard, started a page and did not cheat. This is a battle worth fighting properly.