Movember is an annual, month-long event involving the growing of mustaches during November to raise awareness of male cancers, including prostate cancer, and other men’s health issues.
Otherwise attractive men start to sport creepy looking upper lip growth and, even better, they document that growth on any social media platforms they can, so we all get to watch.
The past two Novembers, I’ve watched a teacher colleague at the high school where I work sprout a fine mustache, and each time I’ve wondered how this is helping the cause of men’s health. Mostly, he just gets the attention of our female students who like to laugh at him.
Writing in The Globe and Mail, Amberly Mcateer points out:
I can name about a dozen men last year who grew a mo’, bragged about their offputting ‘staches, attended Movember parties and posted countless Facebook photos of their pervy facial additions – but didn’t raise a cent. Even worse, about half of those guys didn’t know they were supposed to raise money.
Which raises the question, does asking people to do something as silly as grow hair trivialize the real, scary issues the Movember movement is trying to elevate?
This year the campaign has taken a new, ‘sexy’ twist, as the brand Just for Men is among the official sponsors in the U.S. A voice-over proclaims as the commercial opens:
Here’s to the Movember mo bros, bravely growing mustaches to change the face of men’s health. They’ve never let gray mess with their mo.
Even worse than this, it turns out that participation in awareness campaigns makes people less likely to give actual money. Studies have found that people who do a good deed will use that as an excuse to cut back on other good behavior, so if you spend November pruning your facial hair, you might not feel obligated to donate actual cash.
Mustaches are to November as pink ribbons are to October. A dear friend of mine battled breast cancer successfully a few years ago, after a double mastectomy, and she absolutely hates the notion of dedicating one month to the disease. For one thing, she is constantly reminded of the disease throughout October. In addition she points out that people should be aware of breast cancer all year long, not just for one month.
Same thing goes for men’s cancers. Why not raise awareness of these diseases all year long?
Instead of growing a mustache, here’s a list of 5 things men (and women) can do to raise awareness of men’s cancer:
1. Get Informed: Start by gaining as much knowledge as you can about the cancers that men get. Find the latest news and events about men’s cancer risks from Us Too. You’ll read all about how to prevent prostate cancer, as well as how widespread it is, what the treatment options are and where to find support and resources.
2. Spread the word: Now that you are informed, hand out leaflets, email your friends, put up posters and tell everyone you know about the dangers of prostate cancer and other men’s health issues. Increase awareness in your community. Put up SEA Blue awareness posters in your doctor’s offices, at hospitals and clinics, in grocery stores, in store fronts, at work, church and the library.
3. Join an Educational Group: ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer is a national nonprofit organization with the mission to end prostate cancer. Their mission is to lead the fight to end the disease by advancing research, encouraging action, and providing education and support to men and their families. The group also sponsors ZERO Prostate Cancer Challenge, the largest men’s health event series in America. Even better, 84 cents of every dollar donated goes to research and programs.
4. Get Active: Movember isn’t the only men’s health outfit. There are many awareness, screening and patient education events held around the country during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, annually held during the month of September. See the calendar of events to find an activity in your area where you can also raise funds to fight men’s cancer.
5. Be Media-Savvy: Contact your local radio stations to run free public service announcements. You can click here to find pre-written copy suitable for commercials. You can also set up an online In Memory Tribute Fund to commemorate a loved now who has passed away, allowing family and friends to share memories in words, pictures, music and even video.
Get active and stay active all year long!
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