By Aalia Khan
Movember took the world by ‘hair’ and it is the only month in which men can allow their facial hair to grow at its pleasure without receiving angst and torment from their leading ladies.
Movember is an annual event during the month of November in which men across the world will sport a moustache in order to raise awareness for men’s health related issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.
The Movember Foundation began in 2003 and is the leading global organsation committed to changing the face of men’s health. The foundation ‘Challenges men to grow a moustache throughout Movember to spark conversation and raise funds.’
Jonathan Sim, Head of Communities at the Movember Foundation said “At the Movember Foundation we are committed to raising awareness and funds for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health. With men dying four years earlier than women, it’s hugely important for men to be more aware of their health, talking through it and having shoulder-to-shoulder conversations about the issues that affect them.”
Men who partake in movember are called Mo bros; however movember is not just for men. Women who support men’s health, known as Mo Sistas, are an important part of movember’s success. They get involved in the same way as men, except they don’t need to grow a moustache. They simply get involved by signing, getting the men in their lives to participate, donating, fundraising and planning events.
Mo Bros become “Walking, talking billboards for men’s health. Mo Sistas sign up and commit to supporting the men in their lives while helping to promote men’s health at home, in the workplace and within their community” Says Sim.
Movember has become a well known, fun month across the globe and people eagerly look forward to seeing the appearance of men changing with the simple process of facial hair growth. Many men have taken on the challenge and as movember has now come to an end we looked at why they did so:
Alex Merry, TEDxClapham Curator from London said that his reason for taking on the challenge was because “I took part because of family members that have been affected and because I like the charity’s unique approach.” Alex praised the Movember foundation and all the work they have done “What the founders have achieved since they started Movember is truly unbelievable and the awareness that has been created has genuinely saved lives and I’ve been lucky enough to speak to a couple of those people first hand.”
Wibsey Labour Councillor Ralph Berry also took part in movember, but unfortunately had to shave it off midway as it was causing him some discomfort. He said the reason why he had decided to partake was because “Many men are not very good at talking about their own health and movember is about using a bit of humour and fun as a way to raise money for research and raising awareness about men’s health.” Cllr Berry said men were too afraid to speak about issues they may be facing and feel that “It’s a bit delicate because it’s down there and they’re a bit shy”; therefore it was good to see a moustache on a billboard and remind people about movember and the reasons behind it.
Student Aqeel Ashraf decided to support the mo as he has “Never had facial hair before” so thought he’d “Give it a shot.
Cllr Berry said his daughter “Was not impressed” with the tash. Aqeel and Ibrahim also said their families did not like their look with a moustache. Alex, however, said he and his friends like to make movember competitive to see who can get the most donations for their mo’s.
Many celebrities and familiar faces have also joined the Movember movement. These include; Stephen Fry, Professor Green, Theo Walcott, Chris Evans, Jo Brand, Michael Owen, Natalie Pinkham and the list goes on.
There are official Movember campaigns in 21 countries and to date over 4 million participants have signed up at Movember.com, raising £345m globally. The Movember Foundation has now funded over 800 programmes around the world.
Sarah Coghlan, UK Country Director for Movember said “Our vision is to have an everlasting impact on men’s health, and the Movember moustache puts a fun twist on this serious issue. We encourage Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to sign up at Movember.com, grow and support awesome moustaches, and raise crucial awareness and funds.”
So will they be keeping the tash?
Aqeel – “No, as I have to get rid of it for my brother’s engagement.”
Alex – “Absolutely not, my mother would ever allow it. It will return again next year.”
Ibrahim – “If it was up to me I would keep it, but sadly others don’t like it so it will be coming off.”
Cllr Berry – “I would consider doing it again but I think I’d probably want to be part of a bigger group doing it as I did it as a solo thing.”
Let’s see if the tashes get bigger and better come next movember.