Let’s be honest, moustaches are not cool. According to StatsSA, 99.3% of men in South Africa cannot pull off a ‘mo (okay, StatsSA didn’t say that. But I wish they had). It’s a very rare individual that can carry a ‘stache with flair and panaché. This means that — quite obviously — Movember is not about the moustache. It’s got to be about #MoreThanAMo.
Movember’s great plan is to create awareness around cancers that generally affect men more than women — testicular and prostate cancer predominantly. Men grow their ‘staches as part of this awareness campaign. Here’s how the official Movember site puts it:
Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November and through their actions and words raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.
But my question is this: what exactly do we mean when we talk about “awareness”? Is it just telling people why you’re growing the moustache? Or just telling them about the loved one you or a friend lost to cancer? Because if it is, that’s not enough. At least, I don’t think so.
If we’re going to create genuine awareness around what is a crucial issue affecting men today, then we actually need to get men aware about how healthy they actually are. Essentially GET CHECKED! There is no good in being aware of all the stats and figures around cancer but not actually getting to a doctor to get checked. There is no good in talking about why you have a moustache when you haven’t even had a physical exam to check if you’re clear.
A ‘mo is not enough — and neither is a conversation that doesn’t lead to a cancer check.
My brother, Andrew, and I are teaming up this year and have created a Movember team and we’d like you to join. There’s an option to donate to our team — we’ve raised R2000 so far — but that’s not our priority. We’d like a committment. We want everyone in our team to get a cancer check done before the end of November (or the end of December, at the latest). It’s a call to action. Once you’ve done the test, go to the group and write us a short message saying where and when. That’s all we ask — and it’s not a big ask at all.
So this Movember, please — pretty please — don’t let a ‘stache be the start and end point of our cancer awareness. Get checked.