Whenever the month of November rolls around, you will inevitably notice some major changes in the familiar facial hair choices some people make. Whether that change is the absence of a beard or the growth of a new one, men around the world have started to participate in the annual event, No Shave November or Movember.
For those who have not heard of the event, Movember is a month-long process where men choose to grow out their facial hair. To most people, this event functions as an excuse to grow a beard/not shave, but this event has an important history that needs to be recognized. The term Movember was originally conceived by a group of men in Adelaide, Australia. Conceived one night in a pub, the goal of the event was to grow beards and sell T shirts in an effort to raise money for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This initial fundraiser led to the creation of a 2004 event in Melbourne. This specific event chose to focus on issues like prostate cancer and undiagnosed depression in men.
The rousing success of this event eventually led to the creation of the Movember Foundation charity and the establishment of Movember events across the globe. From contests like The Moscars, to the crowning of the International Man Of Movember the movement has gained a massive following. For those looking to participate, the process is quite easy.
For some, the event starts the night of Halloween.
Having already accumulated an impressive beard, they want to start the month off with a clean face. For others, the period of growth starts the morning of November first. These participants are usually seasoned beard growers capable of producing a full set of facial hair in a few weeks. For those not blessed with the best beard genetics, the event might start a few weeks earlier to provide a less scruffy growth. The date a participant chooses to start the growth process is ultimately not important. What does matter is the change in appearance will inevitably draw attention that can be redirected towards the issues that men face every day.
While we may not be a marginalized group, men across the world still experience the issue of societally enforced silence regarding invisible health issues.
By drastically changing our outward appearances, the hope is that we can draw attention to problems we are supposed to hide away. With that in mind, the next time you see my disgusting, patchy beard around campus I hope that you think of a prostate and all the terrible conditions that could be affecting it. If you want to donate money to Movember based charities, I recommend the Movember Foundation. If you cannot donate, please spread awareness of the event however you can.