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Movember: for a cause, or for applause?

The hairiest month of the year is now upon us. Brace yourselves as men’s photos showing off all sorts of bearded glory fill everyone’s Instagram feeds, Facebook profiles, and Twitter timelines. Ah, Movember, that annual event where the Y-chromosomes spike up their testosterones to look like Ron Burgundy. The sheer amount of chaps participating in this movement is quite astonishing, so it makes you think: do all of these whiskered creatures actually know what Movember stands for?

Movember is a blend of “mo” from moustache and “vember” from November that started in Australia as a way to raise awareness of men’s issues such as depression, prostate cancer, and other health problems that people rarely talk about. The Movember Foundation has been widely successful with this campaign, making it a global trend that just gets bigger and bigger. But, just like a good indie song that goes mainstream, this advocacy seems to lose its essence with every year that passes by.

I asked my friend’s 17 year old brother who’s growing a moustache for Movember if he knew what it was all about, and he looked at me like I’m a probing mother asking about his sex life. After his short, defensive glare, he said tiringly: “Yes, it’s about prostate cancer awareness.” Again I asked if he and his friends would actually talk about prostate cancer, and of course he said no since it’s “obviously self-explanatory”.

I’m not saying that this 17 year old punk represents the whole male kingdom but it does go to show that maybe this advocacy has lost its soul. We can be certain that most men joining the bandwagon know that it’s for men’s health issues, but what’s the use of growing hair around your mouth when you don’t even use your mouth to actually talk about the concerns that are supposed to be the foundations of this movement? It’s like randomly buying a “Save the Earth!” shirt just to give an illusion that you’re doing something substantial for the environment. It’s too convenient it’s almost pointless.

So, to my beloved blokes, before you let your mouth brows flourish, think well and hard about what you can truly do for this cause. At the very least, educate yourself on the topic before you flood social media with your facial fur; if not, chances are, you’ll simply look like a mutation of a Hasidic Jew and a hipster.

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