On the heels of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there’s a new health awareness campaign in town. One that raises awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, using one of the most recognizable symbols of masculinity – the moustache.
Rather than asking men to walk or run for a cause, Movember – a combination of moustache and November – asks men to grow for a cause.
Currently in its its eighth year, Movember has raised more than $174 million worldwide for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Movember’s education and research programs.
Movember’s official U.S. site gives some grim statistics about men’s health. Did you know that the life expectancy of men is lower than that of women? Or that one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer? Or that men are less likely to seek medical help from a doctor than women are?
“Movember aims to change the face of men’s health and reverse this way of thinking by putting a fun twist on this serious issue. Using the moustache as a catalyst, we want to bring about change and give men the opportunity and confidence to talk about their health more openly,” the site says.
And fun it certainly is. Moustache growers call themselves ‘Mo Bros,’ and their “lip eyebrows” can be found everywhere from a gallery of user-submitted moustache photos to dozens of YouTube videos. You can even purchase moustached-themed products including T-shirts, cuff links and necklaces, and proceeds will go to Movember charities.
This video was produced by istock.com They are one of many resources online where you can learn more about the movement and donate to it if you wish.
Movember advocates hope that, in the same way that the ubiquity of breast cancer awareness campaigns has made talking about that disease easier for people, the laughter and sense of camaraderie that Movember inspires will make men feel more comfortable talking about problems like prostate cancer, and that, in turn, many more men will get screened for that disease and others.
As the video below demonstrates, Movember organizers also encourage women (also known as “Mo Sistas”) to get involved by encouraging the men in their life to be healthy and get annual checkups.
Movember is a fun and interesting way to raise awareness of men’s health issues, erase the stigma around them, and make them easier to talk about. You can get involved by growing a ‘stache (or supporting someone who is doing so) and telling people why you’re doing it, or by donating money to the cause through one of the websites listed above. Or you can just watch these fun videos. Without realizing it, you’re raising your own awareness of men’s cancers and other health problems, while enjoying some moustachioed ridiculousness.