Changing the face of men's health
Since 2003 men across the world have used Movember as a chance to raise awareness for cancers affecting men by growing a moustache in the month of November.
The movement started in Melbourne, Australia, more as a joke to get '80s tache-tastic fashion back on men's faces. When the founders put their beards behind raising prostate cancer awareness however, Movember soon became a global trend.
Even though the official Movember campaign has not yet spread to Luxembourg, the so-called Mo Bros can register with one of the 14 participating countries where the collected money will be given to selected cancer charities.
Nigel Sharplin from the Rugby Club Luxembourg (RCL) has been taking part in Movember for several years. “Growing the moustache is for a bit of a laugh but it also grabs people’s attention which can create conversation.”
While the event has been popular in the anglophone community Sharplin has “definitely noticed an increase in people either doing Movember or knowing about it and what it stands for. What used to be more of an expat thing has now spread to all different nationalities.”
Apart from accepting donations for their group online, the RCL together with the Walferdange rugby team will host a Movember fundraiser party on December 2 at the Tube. Sharplin is also a member of Movember groups at work that have jointly raised around 3,500 euros in the past.
While women are not encouraged to grow a moustache, the Mo Sistas are asked to win men for the cause and help the fundraising effort.
As much fun as the campaign appears to be, giving Tom Selleck fans the world over the chance to raise awareness and money for a good cause, the initiative has a serious purpose. It brings men's health issues to the public eye, which has long been considered a taboo subject.
Sharplin finds, “men’s health is definitely way behind women’s health campaigns but can only grow in strength from here.” Indeed, Breast Cancer Awareness month has been ongoing for 25 years, with Movember only hitting the eight year mark in 2011.
Hesitant men should remember that some of the most important thinkers and artists have sported impressive facial hair, including Einstein, Nietzsche and Dalí, as well as Charlie Chaplin, Gandhi and Freddie Mercury to name only a few.
While the two are not necessarily connected, November 19 also marks International Men's Day which has been observed since 1999. With support from over 60 countries and the UN the day aims to raise awareness for men's and boy's health issues, as well as promoting gender equality and positive male role models.