If you notice the people around you looking a little hairier this November, there’s a good reason for it! All across the world, people take part in an annual event dubbed “Movember” by growing a mustache.
But what is Movember, and what exactly does it support? We’ve got everything you need to know about the event.
What Are the Origins of Movember?
Movember may be a global event, but it got its start as an idea tossed around between two friends in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003. At the time, the mustache had faded from popularity as a fashion choice.
Travis Garone and Luke Slattery initially thought of growing out their mustaches as a joke but were quickly inspired by how a friend’s mom was fundraising for breast cancer. Breast cancer awareness was booming, thanks to some intelligent fundraising campaigns.
Garone and Slattery wanted to see if they could bring the same attention to less openly discussed issues, specifically men’s health (issues that impact those assigned male at birth). It was such a success that it grew from just 30 original participants (affectionally nicknamed the “Mo Bros”) to more than six million worldwide.
Since its inception, Movember has raised over 500 million dollars and funded more than 1,000 programs focusing on mental health, prostate and testicular health, and physical inactivity — all by just encouraging people to grow out their facial hair! Check out their website for a more in-depth retelling of their origin story and to learn more about Movember.
What Are the “Rules” of Movember?
The original five rules by Garone and Slattery in 2003 are still in place today. While the rules aren’t complicated, they are essential to making the month a success!
- Rule One: You can’t get a headstart. Even if you already have the most glorious beard or mustache on the planet, everyone participating in Movember should shave it all off on November 1st. Yes, all of it.
- Rule Two: Once your face is bare and the month has begun, start growing and grooming your mustache. Trimming it up is okay! Movember isn’t like No-Shave November, where the goal is to get as hairy as possible. You want your mustache to be a conversation starter, and a great way to make that happen is to keep it looking fresh.
- Rule Three: No cheating, though — beards, goatees, van dykes, soul patches, etc., don’t count. And, although we can’t believe it has to be said, no fake mustaches are allowed. No one is expecting a perfect mustache in a month!
- Rule Four: Use your mustache to talk to the people around you about the importance of the Movember movement. Your mustache is a fundraising tool, so don’t be afraid to ask people to donate to the cause! Understanding where the money goes (which we’ll get into next) is a good idea, so you’re ready to explain.
- Rule Five: And finally, while participating in Movember, remember that you represent the movement! Act accordingly. While the rules state that you need to “be a gentleman,” we prefer to say that you should just treat others like you’d like to be treated.
Here in the United States, the month of November is about more than just throwing out your razors. Thanksgiving also falls during this month, giving you plenty of opportunities to discuss the importance of men’s health issues.
What Does “Men’s Health” Really Mean?
Movember may be fun, but the reason it exists is far more serious. Although the term “men’s health” may be outdated, the health issues that impact people who were assigned male at birth have unfortunately not changed all that much.
The Movember Foundation chose to address four of them specifically. The goal is to help AMAB people live healthier, longer lives.
Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention
Mental health is becoming less and less stigmatized, but it is still so prevalent that it will likely impact everyone at some point in their lives. Although certain populations like those who identify as LGBTQIA+ are at an increased risk, mental health doesn’t discriminate.
Any money and awareness garnered from Movember continue to reduce the stigma around seeking help for mental health. Until we can be open and vulnerable about our struggles, no matter who we are or what we look like, we still have a lot of work to do.
Mental health issues can be mild or far more significant and can even lead to suicidal ideation (thoughts of suicide) or suicide attempts. However, not everyone going through those struggles will be obvious. The Movember Foundation uses the acronym “ALEC” as a way to help identify people who may need help:
- A Is for “Ask.” Ask the people in your life if you notice anything “off” or different. They may say they’re “fine,” but trust your instinct.
- L Is for “Listen.” If they open up to you, be quiet and listen. It’s not your responsibility to fix their problems, but asking follow-up questions can help them know you’re listening.
- E Is for “Encourage Action.” Although you don’t need to have all the answers, help them do a little brainstorming. Even encouraging them to make small changes, like eating better or going for a walk, can make a big difference.
- C Is for “Check-In.” Getting your people to open up is a big part of the battle, but checking in is equally important. It doesn’t have to be in person, though. Send a text message, make a phone call, or even send them a card.
Prostate Cancer Awareness
At GIDDI, we’re focused on prostate health. Movember’s ability to garner attention for one of the most significant health issues to affect the prostate — prostate cancer — is one of the top reasons we’re such big supporters.
We encourage everyone to pay close attention to their prostate health while using our prostate massagers because over 268,000 new prostate cancer cases are diagnosed yearly. That makes prostate cancer one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States.
If you don’t know much about your prostate, it is a walnut-sized gland located below your bladder and in front of your rectum. It is a significant component of the reproductive system, as it is in charge of producing some of the fluid that makes up semen. But it’s also known as the “P-spot,” an area we focus on for sexual health and wellness.
Prostate cancer research has come a long way, but there still isn’t a cure. However, early detection can significantly increase your odds of survival.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation, where a lot of the money earned from Movember goes, is one of the organizations furthering the research.
Testicular Cancer Awareness
Although the numbers are much smaller than other cancers, an estimated 10,000 people will develop testicular cancer yearly. People often ignore the early signs of testicular cancer, like small bumps or nodules or an overall feeling of heaviness in the scrotum. Bringing awareness to testicular cancer helps educate other people, so they can seek treatment sooner and hopefully have better outcomes.
An unfortunate fact about testicular cancer is that it's the number one cancer among younger people with testicles. For that reason, it’s smart to get hands-on with your testicles. Although everyone’s testicles are different sizes and shapes, checking them regularly and knowing what’s normal for you can help you catch changes early and seek medical attention sooner.
A recent addition to the Movember campaign is the focus on physical inactivity. Being active is one of the best ways to support your health, regardless of your body type.
Getting active a few times a week can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other potentially dangerous health conditions.
Because the heart of Movember is about being a good “bro,” physical activity can be even more fun when you do it as a group. Sign up for a fun run or a 5K, go for a long bike ride, or check out that new rock climbing gym. Try to think outside of gender norms, too — enjoy what you enjoy without judgment as long as it gets your body up and moving.
The CDC recommends 150 minutes a week of moderately intense activity, but you don’t have to jump right in! Starting slow can get you just as motivated without feeling nearly as sore.
To Wrap Up
At GIDDI, we’re more than just an award-winning prostate massager company. While we’re known for our designs (like the Vulcan vibrating prostate plug or our best-in-class Thor Master Bundle), we’re just as focused on helping you keep your prostate healthy.
We strongly support Movember and hope you take the opportunity not just to rock a sweet stache but also to spark conversation about the issues that impact people with prostates all year round.
Movember | About Us | Our Story
Mental Health | Los Angeles LGBT Center
Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer | American Cancer Society