Movember: Men's Health Month

Es probable que muchos de esos bigotes que verás este mes formen parte de una iniciativa benéfica mundial con el fin de recaudar fondos y romper el silencio que rodea alguno de los problemas de salud de los hombres. Ha llegado Movember.

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Daniel Francis

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There was a time, not too long ago, when moustaches were fashionable; from Clark Gable in the 1930s to Tom Selleck in the 1990s, Hollywood’s leading men often wore one as a representation of their virility. By the end of the century, however, they had fallen out of fashion, to the point that a man would be ridiculed if he grew one. That changed, however, in 2003, when two friends in Australia kickstarted a comeback with Movember.

FUNDRAISING

Travis Garone and Luke Slattery joked about bringing back the moustache while having a beer in a pub in Fitzroy, a trendy suburb of Melbourne, on Australia’s southeast coast. A friend’s mother was raising funds for breast cancer, and it occurred to them that they could do the same for prostate cancer. They challenged their friends to ‘grow a mo’ for ten dollars, to raise money and awareness about men’s health issues. That first year, thirty Mo Bros joined the cause.

WORLDWIDE

The initiative was formalised the following year, as it spread beyond Australia. The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia became its first official men’s health partner in 2005 and a slogan was created: “Give Prostate Cancer a Kick in the Arse.” Its official tagline then became “Changing the face of men’s health”.

A RANGE OF ACTIVITIES

Over 500 million euros have been raised to date, as the Movember Foundation supports over one thousand men’s health programmes. Besides prostate cancer, it raises awareness about testicular cancer, mental health and the effects of physical inactivity. Mo Bros are joined by Mo Sistas all over the world. While participants can find sponsors for running and other activities, growing a moustache is still the main fundraising activity.

STEPS TO FOLLOW

The 2003 rules remain the same: the Mo Bro must start on 1 November with a clean-shaven face. He must grow and groom a moustache throughout the month — no faking and no beards allowed. Conducting himself like a true gentleman, he must “use the power of the moustache to create conversation and raise funds for men’s health.”

TO EACH THEIR STYLE

While beards or goatees are not permitted, there is plenty of scope for creativity. Movember’s own style guide suggests a number of options, ranging from the thin wisp to the handlebar trucker. Each year sees ever more outrageous styles. The movement has created a moustache revolution. As for the participants, their bravery is paying off, as the stigma around men’s health issues is eroded and awareness and funding help save lives. 

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