By now I’m sure some (or most) of you have heard of this seemingly ridiculous annual event called No Shave November, or for those who can only grow a mustache, Movember. For those of you who are new to this annual event, I will summarize: It is a month-long event involving the growing of facial hair during the month of November. However, many people are unaware of the underlying cause or history behind this month of dedicated hair growth. So take a seat, put down those razors, and get ready for some No Shave November education!
It’s important to first establish that No Shave November and Movember are two separate events, fighting for a similar cause. Movember specifically aims to raise awareness and money for testicular and prostate cancer research, while No Shave November aims to raise awareness for cancer as a whole. Both of these events also represent non-profit charity organizations whose ultimate goal is to raise awareness about men’s health issues.
It is highly debated when No Shave November actually started, some argue it dates back as far as the ancient Greeks and others say it was a month created by unemployed, college hipsters who simply didn’t want to shave. In fact, we do know that the famous philosopher Plato actually came up with the idea that there should be a period of time where men cultivate their beards and are not allowed to shave. He didn’t actually come up with No Shave November because November didn’t exist in ancient Greece. However, the basic idea was that young men should imitate their leaders, who were all bearded, so they set aside a period of 30 days for the young Athenians to accomplish this. Today the No Shave November organization is backed by the American Cancer Society and is still growing with supporters internationally.
Fast forward to 2003 in Melbourne, Australia and an organization called Movember is born out of a bar conversation and composed of 30 initial members. Their goal was to raise awareness for men’s health by turning November into an awareness month similar to what is done in October for breast cancer. Movember’s slogan is “changing the face of men’s health” because the goal is to have men sign up online and grow their mustaches throughout the month of November. By 2012 Movember had grown to 1,127,152 members with $147 million in funds raised. According to the Movember website, 83.1% of the funds they receive go directly to Men’s Health programs with only 2.2% going to administrative costs. The 83.1% of funds is split between three foundations which include the LIVESTRONG Foundation, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and the Movember Foundation. The foundations focus on awareness and education, living with and beyond cancer, and research.
Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure: Movember and No Shave November have been popularized thanks in part to social media and bloggers. It has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon with no international boundaries, being celebrated everywhere from Australia to El Salvador.
In the US, 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime making it the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men after skin cancer. To put this into perspective, 238,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013 and 30,000 of those will die from the disease, and that’s just in the U.S.!
Additionally, Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men between the ages of 15 and 35. It is a highly treatable form of cancer with a good cure rate (95%) if found early and treated. However, 7,920 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2013 leading to 370 deaths.
Men’s mental health is another issue often overlooked due to the associated stigma of embarrassment and shame often preventing them from seeking help and taking action. Over 6 million men (7% of the population) are diagnosed with depression each year. When left untreated, depression is one of the most common manifestations of mental illness.
Despite these figures, the level of awareness, understanding and support significantly lag behind that of women’s health issues. No Shave November is wroking to change this.
Whether or not you choose to participate in No Shave November or Movember is entirely up to you. Really there aren’t any formal rules for participants to follow, except that you shouldn’t shave. What is important is that it is helping to raise awareness and money for men’s health issues. Personally, I am participating in No Shave November, even though my facial hair is less than lush.
If you would like more information on Movember or No Shave November, check out the links below. If you plan on joining in let us know on one of our social media outlets or leave use a comment!
**BioDerm Inc. and its associates do not endorse the organizations linked websites, and we do not endorse the views they express. The information appearing in this blog is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or ethics-related advice to any individual or entity. We urge you to use your own discretion before taking any action based on information appearing in this blog post or any site to which it may be linked.**