Bro, grow your mo
October has come to an end, and with it another successful campaign to increase awareness and support of breast cancer research. But what about male cancers?
The 11th month of the year is all about prostate cancer awareness, and if you support raising awareness and funds, then the only name you should be using for it is “Movember.”
Why “Mo-vember”? For the simple fact that “mo” is slang for mustache in Australia, which is where for the first time in 2003, the creators of the Movember Foundation used their love of “mos” to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer research.
The creators of Movember are geniuses. If younger people are not charity-minded, it is in part due to the fact that charities tend to avoid targeting them.
The Movember campaign especially appeals to university students, people who don’t mind being the center of attention and have no issue laughing at themselves.
There is certainly no shortage of students like that here at Laurier.
One of the most prevalent Movember teams at Laurier is team Stashmo.
Will Jardine, a third year political science and sociology student founded team Stashmo early this month, inviting friends and family to participate in the awareness-raising act of not shaving.
You cannot escape the fact that men with mustaches attract a lot of attention and team Stashmo has capitalized on this.
“I have had a lot of family and friends asking me about it, even a few people on the street” said Jardine.
Mike Greenway’s experience has been similar.
“A lot of friends are asking me about it, I have personally informed close to 20 people.”
Generally speaking, only a lucky few can actually pull off a mustache without looking a little silly.
These days, with the exception of the 50-plus crowd, mustaches are rarely seen in a serious light.
Laurier’s mo bros have wholeheartedly embraced the lighter side of their charitable endeavours.
“I have always considered myself someone who likes to participate in random causes.” Greenway declared, “And I like to make fun of myself in the process so this is perfect for me.”
The mo has always been around, but in recent years is has come to be very much associated with the ‘80s, a time when the stash was as masculine as it was stylish.
Today, the mo has come to signify many things: a general lack of hygiene, a stellar sense of humour, a ridiculously high level of self-confidence or a job in the entertainment adult industry.
This year marks an explosion in Movember awareness and involvement around the world, meaning the mustache is going through a rebirth.
It seems that Canadians are especially enthusiastic about bringing back the stash in the name of fighting cancer.
As of 11:00 p.m. on Movember 10, Canada had raised $2,202,609 (CAD) and was ranked second internationally. We currently have 29,985 mo bros and mo sistas.
When compared to the $4,456,506 raised by the 112,897 Australians, on person-to-person basis, Canadians are donating more.
Canada’s increased involvement in Movember can already be seen on the faces of Laurier’s young men.
This visual affirmation of students supporting prostate cancer is only going to become more noticeable as Movember roles on.
The sudden increase in awareness on campus can be attributed to men like those of team Stashmo.
According to Jardine, he learned about Movember by chance. “One night I was just sitting there, wasting time on YouTube, and then I just happened to come by this video of Movember Canada.”
John Kennedy was one of the first to back Jardine in his attempts to get friends to throw away their razors. “I had vaguely heard about it a few years ago and this year Will and I just decided to run with it. Our house did ‘no shave November’ last year, so we wanted to top it.”
Movember is about much more than having fun with facial hair for team Stashmo. “Women talk about health issues with other women, where as men want to come across as strong,” said Greenway. “I think we avoid confronting our issues because we think it makes us look weak, but it ultimately makes us look stupid.”
The campaign to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer has significantly increased understanding and support from the public. Hopefully Movember will help spread necessary information about the cancer that affects so many men.
“I think breast cancer gets a lot of attention, and prostate cancer could definitely use some more,” said Kennedy.
Mustaches have come to occupy a unique place in our society as a sort of facial joke. I mean, let’s face it (no pun intended), mustaches are pretty hilarious, especially when the owners get creative.
Matt Giilck, one of Laurier’s mo bros, agrees that mustaches tend to be unusual.
“Its just out of the ordinary for most people in their 20s and the more ridiculous it is, the easier it is for people to notice you.”
Needless to say, Movember has filled a unique niche; it appeals to a younger crowd, it is fun, it is important and it takes advantage of a highly recognizable physical feature.
Through filling this niche, Movember is helping to make prostate cancer a topic of discussion, a very important first step in spreading awareness.
The importance of this cannot be emphasized enough.
“There should be more information about prostate cancer prevention,” said Jardine. “It’s kind of a social taboo. More awareness and more efforts like this are needed because [death] from prostate cancer is pretty preventable if it is caught in the early stages.”
Jardine was also adamant about men not shying away from getting tested for prostate cancer.
“It’s an easy procedure and sure it’s not fun, but really, do you want to gamble like that?”
The funds raised globally by Movember go towards increasing awareness, education and support for those affected by prostate cancer.
The facts about prostate cancer are shocking. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is the most common cancer to afflict Canadian men and 4,400 men will die of the disease this year alone.
Perhaps most importantly, money will be spent on research about preventing and finding a cure for prostate cancer.
In a year that has painted a less-than-hopeful picture of charity and charitable organizations here at Laurier, the men behind Movember have offered a refreshing reminder of how much can be achieved when benefiting the cause remains the focus.
Donate and follow the facial progress of team Stashm through their photo blog