Movember- ‘Mo Bros and Country Gentlemen’

Posted on November 13, 2011

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Tom Selleck

Most of you are probably aware of Movember, the month-long moustache growing charity event held in November each year to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer and depression. Since its humble beginnings in Melbourne in 1999, Movember has grown into a global movement with formal campaigns in the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and Ireland. The idea is pretty straightforward; men begin Movember on the 1st of November with a clean-face and grow a moustache for the rest of the month while raising funds by seeking out sponsorship.

Movember’s rising popularity has come with its fair share of bad press, predominantly from tabloid television (e.g. Today Tonight) and satirical blogs (e.g. Things Bogans Like). I’ll admit that Things Bogans Like has a point; Movember has evolved into quite the event for Bogans and Hooray Henrys alike. However, there’s no denying Movember’s success as a health promotion campaign. In 2010, over 130 000 people registered and raised $25 million.[1] In the same year, the New York Times ranked Australia as the most generous country on earth (based on charitable behaviour including donations).[2] In a land of cashed up Bogans, campaigns like Movember should be applauded for its ability to sell a worthy cause to the masses. So quite frankly, I don’t care if Leigh Matthews (circa 1975) is once again the poster boy for masculinity.

Movember has achieved its strategic goal of creating an ‘innovative, fun and engaging campaign that raises funds and awareness globally’. So what can other charities learn from this successful model? Well let’s look at the possible motives for involvement:
1. Mos are relatively easy to grow (easier than running a marathon or baking cookies to fundraise).

2. Movember is a month-long bonding experience that promotes a sense of brotherhood (‘Mo Bros’) among fraternities such as footy clubs.

3. Movember encourages ‘healthy’ competition among ‘Mo Bros’ (from Mo growth to donations received).

4. ‘Mo Bros’ have a valid excuse to take shirtless photos of themselves and post them on social networking sites (in the same way dress-up parties allow people to wear underwear in public).

5. ‘Mo Bros’ have an excuse to hold a Mo Party and dress like a 1970’s porn star. (Urban dictionary informs me that the month ends with “participants comparing and appreciating each other’s moustaches in a manly, non gay way”).

6. Businesses like burger joint Grill’d have jumped on board and now offer ‘Mo Bros’ (who have raised at least $40) free burgers each day.

7. Women find both Mos and charity involvement very attractive. In my opinion, a moustache symbolizes several endearing qualities in a man; intelligence (e.g. Einstein, Nietzsche), creativity (e.g. Dali), humour (e.g. John Waters), charm (e.g. Clark Gable) and just good old fashioned sexy (e.g. Tom Selleck). Ok, so Mos have also been associated with fascists and porn starts but um…Magnum P.I. anyone?!

So for all you Movember haters out there, let’s put aside cultural elitism or whatever else is drawing that smarmy look on your face. And for all you ‘Mo Bros’ out there, let’s not forget about what Movember actually stands for. A Mo alone isn’t going to change habits and attitudes about men’s health so think about it, talk about it and act on it.

Obviously, I’m all for opportunities for women to get involved. Hello Decembrow!

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References
1. Movember. About Movember: About the campaign. 2011 [Accessed 13 November 2011]. Available here
2. Rampell, C. 2010. The most generous countries on Earth. The New York Times. 9 September 2010 [Accessed 13 November 2011]. Available here

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