No More Movember

Movember: men’s sad attempt to compete with breast cancer awareness month. If you haven’t heard of this movement it is when men grow mustaches through the month of November to raise awareness for men’s health issues. Really, the only way to know about this is to ask someone who is participating in it; and they really want you to ask. I guess it makes them feel good but I think it just makes them look stupid.

The term “Movember” was coined by a group of friends in Adelaide, Australia in 1999. Not much is known about these men except that they used the popularity of the phrase to raise money for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty. I say not much is known about these guys because their idea was stolen by a group of 30 men in Melbourne, Australia in 2003 who turned it into a very lucrative worldwide phenomenon. If you look on their website, the Movember organization will give you a very detailed history that begins in 2003 and completely leaves out the poor 1999 guys who must be pissed now, stupid or probably both. Anyway, that’s all in the past. Movember is a big business that does good things, don’t get me wrong, but most of it is a bunch of fluff.

Enough “awareness.” Movember is supposed to increase awareness for men’s health issues such as testicular and prostate cancer. To me it looks like a bunch of men, tired of being clobbered on the head with a pink hammer throughout October, trying to get attention. The problem is that in today’s “PC” world, no one wants to hear about men’s problems. So you all end up looking like members of the Village People fan club. Frankly, I’m tired of being reminded of cancer every time I watch anything or look at a person’s face. We all know too well about the disease and seeing a pink towel hang off the ass of a 300-pound offensive lineman isn’t helping.

Instead of donating to awareness, let’s donate to research. The problem with organizations like Komen and Movember is the majority of their income is spent on advertising, administration and running the organization. After all this expense, their contribution to actual research becomes minimal and secondary. Instead of having the NFL spend all the money they do on pink equipment, have them donate that cash to a lab working on treatments and cures. Instead of giving money to Movember and walking around looking you should have a warning sign in your yard for a month, give money to a hospital that specializes in treating men’s cancers. In fact, studies show that only 5% of the revenue generated from the “NFL Pink” merchandise is donated to cancer research. How abysmal. These organizations feel to me like unnecessary middlemen.

I’d like to ask men to stop defending their facial hair like it’s some beloved pet. For some people, mustaches are their adult security blankets. Members of the Boston Redsox are going to shave their beards for charity after rallying the team behind them to become World Series champions. Oh! What a sacrifice. What is next, shaving your legs for God and Country? This month I’m cutting my fingernails for charity; I was going to do it anyway but I need the attention. Larry the Cable Guy wrote a $5 Million check to a hospital in Orlando in 2010, but you didn’t hear about it. He could have gotten away with donating a lot less if he had shaved a body part, ridden a donkey in a Speedo and sent the pictures to US Weekly.

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Some women grow mustaches too; can they participate? It is supposed to be “brave” for men to wear pink in support of a cause; can’t a woman sport a stache? The DMV is full of female employees who can probably out-Movember me. The people at Movember have greatly limited their contributions by focusing their campaign only on men. Somebody, quick, get Chaz Bono on the phone.

Kidding aside, it’s time to end the cancer hierarchy. Unfortunately, everyone is aware of cancer because it affects us all in some way. I’ve had both family and friends die from it, so I’m all too aware. If people want to get together with their friends and grow mustaches that’s their business. But if you want to contribute to cancer research, cut out the middleman. It takes a little effort to find organizations that donate the majority of their contributions to research. Their names aren’t flying by on a wide receiver, but they are out there.

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27 thoughts on “No More Movember

  1. Can’t say I agree with you I’m afraid. Prostate cancer in particular is one of the less well publicised and Movember raises money not just to increase awareness but to help improve diagnostic techniques and to fund treatment and recovery programmes.
    If walking round looking like a twat for a month is going to advance the cause to the extent that it saves just one person from going through this truly awful illness, then I am that twat.

    Having said that, I enjoyed reading this post for the writing style alone.
    And should you feel swayed at all, you can donate to my own Movember campaign at
    http://mobro.co/dalecooper141

    Pleased to make your acquaintance, nice blog. Following back.

  2. Nice Post! You do make some valid points and I agree with SOME. I think we should remember the #Movember campaign last year raised $21 MILLION Dollars. This year, so far, #Movember is at almost $16.5 Million Dollars, so hopefully this year will surpass 2012!
    Yes, it would be nice if people would donate on their own free will, but maybe the #Movember campaign reaches a group that normally wouldn’t donate. So what if it takes a group of hairy lipped men walking around for a month? But what do I know? Im just one of those stupid hairy lipped men running around this month. lol Anyways, Nice post Thomas, enjoyed reading it!
    PS Help a brother out!
    https://www.movember.com/us/donate/payment/member_id/8054033/

  3. I understand your point about donating to research over awareness. But I think that Movember is a powerful and important thing because it also raises awareness about men’s mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. I think that’s a really helpful thing. Most of the men I know would never admit they might have problems with their mental health.
    Interesting stuff about the back story in Adelaide!
    Also, thanks so much for taking the time to follow my blog. I really appreciate it!
    Best, annierose.

    • Thanks to you too. We should be raising awareness about those issues all year for both sexes. I suffer from both. Maybe that’s what we should be advertising about over the other diseases. Good point.

  4. Interesting write. There are so many diseases and disorders out there…so many charities and organizations…so many things wrong about humanity that we have to fix. We all go through different things in life and what is personal to you in your way is completely oblivious to another. I can’t argue with you when you say that it’s imperative to put money into research rather than awareness. But like I said, it’s a personal thing. People donate their money to whatever charity or research they have an affinity with. My family has a horrible cancer history; many of the men in my family have died from it. Do I have a problem seeing NFL players in pink? No. Matter of fact, it’s reassuring to me. Research is for the future. It’s our ultimate goal. However, it isn’t going to help someone on their death bed right at that moment, but some kind of emotional support will do.
    Your thoughts on this matter made me think about a lot of stuff. Thanks for following my blog! I sure will follow yours. 🙂

  5. Pingback: No More Movember | Actively Expressive

  6. I like your message here and appreciate the spirit in which it was written, but I have to say I love the creative ways that organizations shed light on issues. Yes, we get pounded with it constantly, but in some ways I think we deserve it. After all, it’s the man-made crap that causes most of the cancer, so now we have to buck up and support finding a cure. Might as well have fun while we’re at it. (Also, I’m from Portland and I see those ridiculous mustaches every day, so it really doesn’t make a difference to me, LOL.)

  7. I don’t mind the mustaches so much and thinks it’s a good cause, people are talking about it, but I do agree with George, a lot of dudes look like out of work film actors 🙂

  8. Weirdly, I know a heck of a lot of men who already have mustaches, so no one would be aware of their raising awareness. Facial hair, more prominently handlebar mustaches, have been on a lot media/graphics these days… I’ve seen it on t-shirts, flasks and (strangely) teenaged girl’s earrings. Every time I think of prostate cancer, I think of Ronald Reagan. Anyone who can guess why gets a dollar.

  9. I couldn’t agree with you more. Add to this list the endless runs and walks for some cause or other, charity balls and the like. I support many causes, but prefer to do so in a way that is meaningful (dollars that actually go toward doing something, not websites and tee shirts). I think before a guy can sport a Movember stache, he should have a doctor’s note saying he actually had a prostate and testicular exam and was screened for mental health issues. Put your body where your stache is!

  10. Personally, I don’t think certain “gender specified” cancers should have their own awareness month. Why not have a month that provides awareness to all cancers? My granddad died 5 years ago of lung cancer so the subject is one that is close to me, but it doesn’t have its own month, does it?

    As for growing a moustache, I have a permanent beard and have done for the past 3 years so growing a moustache isn’t really an option for me anymore, it’s just there. I do, however, donate to cancer charities by buying the badges and shopping in charity shops. A man shouldn’t have to grow a moustache to make people aware of such a nasty illness.

    (I’m aware that this whole comment is a load of blabbering.)

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