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Behind the Mo': Shaving off the fluff to grow awareness for Movember (and beyond)


Poster for Movember

Welcome to the month of November, or as it's globally recognized - Movember. Those of us that can grow a Mo' here at ShareWares are already doing it, are you?


This annual event is more than just a trend of growing mustaches. It's a powerful movement that shines a spotlight on men's health. The concept of Movember is simple but profound - encouraging men to grow a mustache throughout November, thereby sparking conversations and raising awareness about men's mental and physical health issues. For ShareWares, there's more to it than just that.


The primary purpose of this blog post might be to guide you through the heart of Movember, but we hope that it also shines a light on how the issues it raises affects the worlds waste crisis. Do you also sometimes think that the state of the world represents that state of what's happening inside of many of us? Garbage inside, creates garbage outside.


Let's be honest, no one lives in a vacuum. It sucks (we'll let you decide whether that was a pun or not). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the idiom, 'in a vacuum', as: "separated from outside events or influences". We here at ShareWares believe that it all starts with an internal change before the external changes can follow. Firstly, with ourselves, then our communities, on to our neighborhoods, then our cities and eventually, beyond. This might sounds radical, because it is! Aren't you tired of the status quo churning inside yourself? "Why is the world such a mess? Why am I such a mess? What do I do about it? Where do I even start?!" The answers to some of our questions might be simple, but they are very rarely easy, and convenience is king to so many of us. Just as there's nothing more convenient than using disposables, it's way more convenient to ignore issues of mental, physical and environmental health. But they ultimately end up creating waste inside us and waste all around us. Turning inwards and looking at yourself can be legitimately terrifying, so we're inviting you to come along side us as we navigate these questions and answers, together.


We're not here to preach or push our agendas down anyone's throats. We're all perfectly imperfect, and that's great! So, whether you're planning on sporting a Mo' or not, we want to provide you with all the necessary information to be able effectively participate in Movember. With all this in mind, let's embark on this journey together, learning about Movember, understanding its significance, and exploring ways to amplify its impact. Whether you're new to the concept or a seasoned Movember participant, we believe this guide will offer you valuable insights to enhance your Movember experience (and beyond).

 

What is Movember?

As we delve into the heart of Movember, it's essential to start at the beginning. The Movember movement is a phenomenal global campaign that has its roots in Melbourne, Australia. It was started in 2003 by two friends, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, who were inspired to bring back the trend of growing mustaches. However, they didn't stop there; they decided to use this facial hair fashion statement to spark conversations about men's health issues.


The name 'Movember' is a fusion of 'Moustache' and 'November', symbolizing the month-long commitment of growing a mustache during November. The initial objective was modest - to get participants (known as Mo Bros) to grow a mustache with the goal of generating conversations about men's health. But since then, the Movember Foundation has grown exponentially and now operates in over 20 countries worldwide.


Movember's mission goes beyond just growing mustaches. The movement aims to raise awareness and crucial funds for men's health issues and their focus has broadened to four key men’s health issues: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity. According to the World Health Organization, approximately one in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Additionally, men account for 75% of suicides globally, underscoring the urgency of addressing men's mental health. Movember strives to change these statistics by funding innovative research, supporting mental health programs, and fostering an environment where men's health issues can be openly discussed.


The iconic mustache plays a vital role in this movement. It serves as a visual symbol of support for the cause, transforming the growers into walking billboards for men's health. When someone sports a fresh mustache in November, it sparks curiosity, leading to conversations about the significance of the mustache and, by extension, men's health issues. This carefully crafted strategy of using a simple yet bold symbol has proven effective in breaking the ice and starting critical dialogues about men's health.


The Movember movement, therefore, is not just an annual beard-growing festival. It's a powerful agent of change that leverages the power of community engagement to bring men's health issues into the spotlight. And at its core, it's about making a difference, one mustache at a time.

 
Men's faces for Movember

The Issue of Men's Health

Peeling back the layers of Movember, we find that it's far more than a playful campaign involving mustaches. The core of Movember lies in its role as a beacon for men's health awareness.


My Brain Sucks

It's crucial to recognize that mental health issues among men are widespread and often under-discussed. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men died by suicide at a rate 3.63 times higher than women in 2019. Movember acts as a catalyst, encouraging men to openly discuss their mental health concerns and seek help if needed.


The societal factors contributing to men's mental health struggles are varied and complex. Traditional gender norms often pressure men to suppress their emotions, leading to an isolation that can exacerbate mental health issues. Additionally, men can face unique workplace stressors, such as the perceived need to provide financially for their families. This societal pressure and stress can contribute to conditions like depression and anxiety. Herein lies the importance of Movember; it not only ignites conversations but also challenges these harmful societal norms, advocating for a society that supports mental wellbeing for everyone, especially men.


Movember has been instrumental in breaking down stigmas associated with men's mental health. Its widespread visibility and the solidarity shown by participants have fostered a sense of community, making it easier for individuals to share their experiences and seek support. This is evident from the funds raised by the Movember movement, which have supported over 1,250 men’s health projects worldwide. The power of Movember lies not just in the mustache, but in the conversations it sparks and the lives it impacts.


To sum up, Movember plays a crucial role in shining a spotlight on men's mental health issues. By encouraging open dialogue and challenging societal norms, it helps to break down stigmas and foster a supportive community. The mustaches grown during November are symbols of the change we want to see in the world - a world where men's mental health is prioritized, discussed, and supported.


What About the Physical Stuff?

In addition to mental health, Movember also places a significant emphasis on physical health issues that disproportionately affect men. These include prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and physical inactivity. Prostate Cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death among men. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. It's an issue that affects men worldwide, and Movember plays a critical role in raising awareness about this disease. The funds raised by the Movember Foundation go towards research into early detection methods, improved treatments, and support for those living with prostate cancer. By growing a mustache in November, you're helping to put a spotlight on this prevalent issue, encouraging more men to get regular check-ups and understand their risk. Testicular Cancer is another health issue that Movember seeks to address. Although it's not as common as prostate cancer, it's the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men aged 15-34 years. Early detection is key to successful treatment, which makes awareness incredibly important. Movember encourages men to learn how to do a testicular self-exam and to regularly check themselves. The aim is to ensure that men are proactive about their health and seek medical help if they notice any changes. Physical Inactivity is another crucial area of focus for Movember. Regular exercise plays a vital role in preventing a variety of health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. However, many men struggle to maintain an active lifestyle due to various reasons, such as lack of time, motivation, or understanding of the benefits of physical activity. Movember addresses this issue by promoting physical activity as a way to improve mental health, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and enhance overall quality of life. They run campaigns like "Move for Movember," encouraging participants to commit to walking or running a certain distance throughout the month. In conclusion, Movember is about more than just growing mustaches. It's also about encouraging men to take charge of their physical health. By raising awareness about prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and the importance of physical activity, Movember is helping to create a world where men live happier, healthier, and longer lives.

 
Men's faces for Movember

Shaving off the Fluff

Movember is more than just a month-long event of mustache growth—it's a movement. But, like any other movement, it relies on effective promotion to spread its message and reach new supporters. So, how exactly can we 'shave off the fluff' and focus on promoting the core values effectively?


Leveraging Social Media and Community Engagement

Social media platforms have become powerful tools for spreading messages far and wide. Using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media platform you're comfortable with, can significantly boost your Movember campaign. Share your mustache progress pictures, facts about men's health, or personal stories related to the cause. Remember, hashtags like #Movember can help increase visibility. Start a conversation, reply to comments, and engage with your audience—it's all about making connections and sparking interest.


The Power of Storytelling and Personal Connections

While it's essential to share facts and figures about men's health issues, nothing resonates more with people than personal stories. Whether it's your own experience, a friend's journey, or a story from a fellow Movember participant, sharing these narratives helps humanize the cause. It brings forth the reality that these are not distant problems but issues that affect men around us every day. This empathetic approach can inspire others to join the cause and start conversations about men's mental health in their circles.


Creativity Meets Core Values

While promoting any cause, creativity is your best friend. For Movember, perhaps you could host a virtual mustache contest or organize a local Mo-run. Maybe you could create a unique Movember-themed filter or sticker for social media. The sky is the limit, but remember not to lose sight of the core values of the cause: promoting personal health, fostering open conversations about the issues we face, and challenging societal norms. Your innovative ideas should enhance a message, not distract from it.


Promoting Movember effectively requires a fine balance of strategic use of social media, meaningful storytelling, and creative campaigns—all while staying true to the cause's essence. As we move into this November, let's shave off the fluff and focus on what truly matters: empower people to unlock united thriving sustainable communities.

 
Men's faces for Movember

How to Participate in Movember

Now that we've explored the background, significance, and promotion of Movember, you might be wondering how you can get involved in this powerful movement. Well, participating in Movember is easier than you might think and can make a real difference in raising awareness for men's mental health issues. Here's how you can take part.


Steps to Participate

The first step to participate in Movember is to sign up. The official Movember website is your starting point, where you can register as an individual or as part of a team. Once registered, it's time to set your fundraising goal. This can vary based on your personal comfort level and the support you expect from your network. Remember, every dollar raised goes towards supporting crucial research and initiatives aimed at improving men's health.


The next step is the most iconic element of Movember – growing a mustache! From November 1st, participants are encouraged to shave off all facial hair and start fresh. Then, throughout the month, you grow and groom your 'Mo, turning your face into a walking billboard for men's health. It's a fun way to spark conversations and get people asking about your new look.


Fundraising Activities and Initiatives

Beyond growing a mustache, there are plenty of ways to raise funds during Movember. Organizing events, either online or in person, can be a fun and engaging way to gather donations. You could host a virtual trivia night, a charity run, or even a mustache-themed bake sale. Creativity is key here, so think outside the box!


In addition, leveraging social media can help amplify your efforts. Sharing your Movember journey, including progress pictures and updates on your fundraising, can inspire others to contribute or even join the cause. Remember, it's not just about raising funds but also about raising awareness.


The Power of Individual Efforts

Lastly, it's important to emphasize the role of individual efforts in making a collective impact. Movember is powered by thousands of individuals worldwide, each contributing in their own unique way. Whether it's growing a mustache, donating, or spreading the word, every effort counts.


Your participation can help break down stigmas associated with men's mental health, encourage open conversations, and provide much-needed funding for research and support services. So remember, while one mustache might not seem like much, together we can change the face of men's health.

 
woman's faces for Movember

No Mo? No Problem!

Movember encourages men to grow mustaches as a symbol of their commitment to raising awareness about men's health issues. However, it's important to note that participation in Movember doesn't necessarily mean one has to physically grow a mustache. The essence of Movember lies in its cause - raising awareness and sparking conversations about men's health.


Mo Sistas

Women play a crucial role in the Movember movement, despite not being able to grow a mustache themselves. They are known as Mo Sistas and can participate by supporting the men in their lives to take part in Movember, raising funds, and helping to spread awareness about men's health issues. Mo Sistas can encourage the men around them to grow a mustache for the cause and to seek regular medical check-ups. They can also initiate conversations about mental health and help break down the stigma that prevents many men from talking about their struggles. In addition, women can participate in Movember by setting up fundraising initiatives, hosting events, or joining runs or walks organized by the Movember Foundation. They can use their social media platforms to share information about men's health issues and the importance of the Movember movement. In essence, while women might not be the ones growing the mustaches, they are instrumental in promoting the cause, participating in fundraising efforts, and supporting the men around them. So, even without a mustache, every woman can be a Mo Sista and make a significant impact during Movember.


Gender Norms and Stereotypes

Movember, while primarily focusing on men's health issues, also plays a significant role in promoting gender equality. The movement advocates for equal importance to be given to men's mental health, an area that has historically been overlooked or stigmatized. By raising awareness about men's mental health and encouraging open conversations, Movember is helping to balance the scales of attention given to health issues based on gender. Furthermore, the inclusion of women as Mo Sistas in the Movember movement is a powerful testament to gender equality. This inclusive approach emphasizes that men's health is not just a concern for men, but for everyone, regardless of gender. In addition, the Movember movement challenges traditional gender norms that can contribute to mental health struggles among men. These include societal pressures for men to suppress their emotions or to conform to certain 'masculine' roles. By advocating for a society where men can openly discuss their mental health and seek help without judgment, Movember is promoting a more equal and supportive environment for all genders. So, while Movember might be most recognized for its focus on men's health, it's also making significant strides towards gender equality. By promoting an inclusive, understanding, and supportive approach to men's health, Movember is helping to challenge and change outdated gender norms and stereotypes.


Alopecia and Spiritual or Religious Beliefs

Alopecia is a condition that causes hair loss and can affect participation in Movember as it may prevent individuals from growing a mustache. However, this doesn't mean that those with alopecia cannot partake in the movement. The same goes for individuals who, due to spiritual or religious beliefs, cannot grow, shave or alter their facial hair, there are other ways to participate and support the cause:

  1. Raise Awareness: Individuals can use their social media platforms or personal networks to share information about Movember and its mission. They can also discuss the importance of regular health check-ups and encourage open conversations about men's mental health.

  2. Fundraise: You can set up a fundraising page on the official Movember website or host your ownfundraising events. These funds go towards supporting men's health projects around the world.

  3. Participate in Events: Organizing or joining Movember-related events such as charity runs, walks, or virtual meetings is another great way to contribute. These events help bring people together, spread the message, and raise funds for men's health initiatives.

  4. Support Others: If growing a mustache isn't an option, encouraging others who can to do so is still a valuable contribution. Your support can inspire more people to join the movement and further its mission.

Movember is an inclusive movement, and everyone is welcome to participate in a way that aligns with their beliefs and circumstances. Remember, the mustache is a symbol, but the real impact comes from the actions we take to promote men's health. So, even without growing a mustache, you can still be a significant part of the Movember movement.


Talking to Kids

Starting a conversation with your children about Movember can be an excellent opportunity to educate them about the importance of health awareness, empathy, and community involvement. Here are some tips on how to approach this topic:

  1. Explain Movember in Simple Terms: Start by explaining what Movember is in a way that's easy for them to understand. You could say something like, "Movember is a special month when people grow mustaches to remind everyone about the importance of men's health."

  2. Discuss Men's Health: Use this opportunity to talk about the importance of taking care of one's health, both physical and mental. Explain that just like we go to the doctor for a fever or a broken bone, it's also important to take care of our feelings and emotions.

  3. Encourage Empathy: Discuss why it's important to support causes like Movember. Emphasize the values of empathy and understanding, explaining how these efforts help people who may be struggling with health issues feel supported and less alone.

  4. Involve Them: If age-appropriate, involve your children in Movember activities. They could draw pictures of mustaches, make a donation from their savings, or even join you in a Movember run or walk. This active participation can make the concept more tangible and engaging for them.

  5. Answer Their Questions: Children might have questions or concerns about the topics discussed. Be open to their inquiries and answer them honestly and simply. If you don't know the answer, it's okay to say so. You can always find the answer together later.

Remember, the goal is to raise their awareness and understanding of men's health issues, not to worry or scare them. Keep the conversation age-appropriate and focus on the positive aspects, such as the importance of community support and the difference that each person can make. Also, check out our blog "How to Talk to Kids About Climate Change".

 

Conclusion and Call-to-Action

We've journeyed through the world of Movember together, unmasking its origins, purpose, and profound impact on men's health. We've seen how a humble mustache can become a powerful symbol of solidarity, carrying the weight of an essential message about men's health, and particularly mental health. We've also delved into the societal factors that contribute to men's mental health struggles, shedding light on the urgent need for increased awareness and support.


The power of Movember lies not only in raising awareness but also in breaking down stigmas around men's mental health, fostering open conversations, and generating funding for research and support services. The beauty of the movement is that it enables every individual to make a difference. As we've discussed, participating involves, among other things, signing up, fundraising, organizing events, or simply spreading the word in your community. Every action counts, and each one contributes to the collective impact. These things aren't exclusive to Movemeber, and that makes them all the more powerful.


As the curtain falls on our discussion, it's time for the most crucial part - taking action. Regardless of your ability to grow a mustache, there are multiple ways you can get involved. Whether it's by hosting an event, sharing stories on social media, running a marathon, or sitting in silence to signify the silent struggle many men face, your involvement can make a real difference. Remember, the mustache is just the symbol; the true essence of Movember lies in standing up for personal health and making a positive change in society. This is one of the many ways we can move closer to living in a society where we won't have to face crises after crises.


Let's use our voices, our platforms, and our influence to spread awareness about Movember. Let that inspire and empower you to raise awareness about the other things that matter to you. Let's stand together, Mo' or no Mo', and take the steps with confidence, knowing that we're all in this together, toward a healthier 'us', a healthier tomorrow and a healthier world!


Once we take the steps to take care of ourselves, and each other, it becomes easier to inspire behavioral change and collective action that can make a low-waste living easy, affordable, accessible, and desirable.


In conclusion, Movember isn't just about growing mustaches; it's about standing together, fostering understanding, and creating a world where everyone can feel comfortable discussing their mental and physical health. Your actions can truly help change the face of how society views these and other important issues. And that's something to be truly proud of!

READY, SET, MO!

White moustache on pink background with the word movember.com
 
  • For more information about Movember and how you can participate, visit the official Movember website. Here, you'll find AMAZING resources about men's health issues, fundraising ideas, and details on how to sign up. Additionally, the site provides tools for connecting with the global Movember community, where you can share experiences and gain inspiration from others involved in the movement.

  • You can also reach out to us at Hello@ShareWares.ca and find out how you can get involved with us and your local community to be part of the trails we're blazing!

  • If you or someone you know is in crisis, we hope this resource can help. (Canada only)

  • Here is a trusted source of cancer information for those living in Canada.

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