Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Moustache Movember: Changing the Face of Men’s Health

In 2003, thirty people came together in Melbourne, Australia, with an aim to raise awareness for men’s health, an issue sadly ignored by much of society. They raised no money, but their decision to refuse to shave their top lip in an effort to bring the real issue of prostate and testicular cancer to the forefront of people’s thoughts, ignited a fire that has since spread around the globe. This of course, raises the question, how can growing a moustache make any difference? And how did this simple idea end up recruiting over a million Mo Bros to the cause? 
Founders Travis Garone and Luke Slattery thought up the idea in a bar in Melbourne, intending, as only two friends in a bar can do, to revolutionise the fashion industry and give a rebirth to the classic moustache. The idea to use this as a platform to raise awareness for men’s health was inspired by a friend’s mother who was fundraising for breast cancer at the time they hatched the plans. 

The rules were written, and have stayed unchanged for almost a decade, their faces were shaved on Movember 1st and history was made. The story of Movember can be found on the now hugely popular website, which shows the growth of the campaign of awareness. 

My personal Movember of 2012 is my second attempt, and this time round not only is the ‘tache fuller and thicker (slightly), but I am part of a team of guys all jumping aboard with excitement I rarely see in people today. I work as a police officer and eight of us from my shift have signed on for what has now become known as a challenge. The emasculating attempt to shoot hair through skin pores in our faces have left a few of us struggling to claw back our manhood, especially when the day to day job sees us go and deal with people we would like to take us seriously, a task anyone would find difficult looking at the incredible range of bristles under our noses. The disconcerting thing for the general public must be that those there to protect and uphold the law now look like mexican bandits or mafia godfathers themselves. 

The camaraderie between my group of Mo Bros is incredible, the outright bullying of those unable to grow the ‘Magnum P.I’, the appreciation of those willing to go for the riskier styles like the pencil or trucker, the support from those who sadly due to gender, are unable to join in. 

The thing that strikes me above all else is that the main purpose of this brilliant idea has clearly been achieved. People everywhere know of Movember, and thus they are aware of the men’s health issues it is there to promote. All the people I meet in my day at work who say: ‘Are you trying to do Movember?’ not only humiliate me, but also make me smile with the knowledge that today I reminded somebody of Movember and its cause. 

Movember is something that will stay with us now as long as there is a month of November in the calendar. Although the cause is worthy and commendable, it is not the reason for Movember’s global success; if truth be told, it is that secret desire in every man’s heart to want to be the guy who grows the ‘tache to top them all. Every man doing Movember has dreams of being able to slap on the styling wax in the morning and the moustache net before bed, and it is this fierce competition that drives Movember. Of course everyone knows why Movember exists, and every year tens of millions are raised by hundreds of thousands of Mo Bros across the world, but without the simple genius of the idea itself, Movember would fizzle away. 

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