Movember: Creating awareness for men’s health with moustaches

(Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

The Movember Foundation began in 2003 in Australia as a way to raise awareness for prostate cancer and men’s health. Inspired by the lack of moustaches in fashion at the time, the two creators decided to make moustaches the staple of the movement, as a way to bring them back into style during the month of November, while also establishing a conversation starter for men’s health.

“[Movember] is a fun excuse to try to grow fun facial hair, not make a joke of it, but to have a laugh. That’s part of why I do it,” said Liam Dorey, a fourth-year communications and public policy major at St. Thomas University.

“I love the cause, I love raising awareness for men’s health but it’s fun at the same time which I think is super important for a charity event like this.”

Moustaches have become a staple in the month of November for men across the globe and more than anything, the statement facial hair raises awareness for men’s health.

“[The Movember Foundation] really accomplished their goal of raising awareness because as soon as you hear Movember you see people wearing moustaches and it goes hand-in-hand now,” Dorey said.

The month is also meant to raise money for research.

St. Thomas University alumnus, Nathan DeLong, started donating to the cause six years ago when his grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

When asked about how Movember has changed over the years, DeLong explained that although more people know what Movember is, it’s become more about raising awareness than raising funds.

“I’m not seeing as many people fundraise for it as I have in previous years so maybe it has become more about awareness than donations, but I realize not everyone can afford to give money and there are so many good causes out there that are seeking exactly that,” he said.

“I feel like it’s too easy for a lot of people to just grow a moustache and post about it on social media to make themselves look like heroes or that they’re doing something about it.”

Although the month has become more about spreading awareness,some students at the University of New Brunswick have created an event to raise money, while also sporting moustaches.

Justin Collett is currently working on growing his moustache for Movember.(Submitted)

Justin Collett is a fourth-year geomatics engineering major at the University of New Brunswick and he is also the senior advisor of the Engineering Undergrad Society’s Movember event.

“I’m looking to facilitate mental health advocacy within the engineering faculty,” he said.

“Mainly because I think men’s health is an important issue, and it ties into mental health advocacy which I believe to be under-represented in engineering student’s lives.”

At the end of the month, UNB students and faculty will make donations to vote for the best moustache grown by the participants, as a way to challenge people to create awareness but also reach their end goal of raising money to donate.

The goal of the Movember Foundation is to prevent men from dying too young while creating a conversation about men’s health, as it can sometimes be a difficult subject to discuss.

Liam Dorey is currently growing out his moustache to raise awareness for men’s health during the month of Movember. (Cassidy Chisholm/AQ)

“I find that there’s a huge stigma around men’s health and not a lot of guys want to talk about it, whether that’s mental health or physical health so I think that it’s super important [to talk about],” Dorey said.

The foundation focuses primarily on prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental illness which can be difficult subjects to discuss for men.

“I don’t know if this goes for all across the world, but especially for Canada, men in general aren’t really raised to talk about stuff like that, especially with prostate cancer, like that’s a kind of a touchy subject for some men,” Dorey said.

“It’s super important and really, when you get down to it, it’s not that embarrassing.”

Movember creates an opportunity for all men to easily participate, which has caused the month to become a worldwide phenomenon.

“I think the moustaches are just a fun way to really express awareness because I think there’s nothing really more expressive than this thing on my face,” Dorey said, referring to his mustache.