Is Movember raising cancer awareness?
What is Movember?
In a nutshell, Movember is a global campaign with the aim of raising awareness around men's health issues - primarily prostate cancer.
The rules are simple. Sign up to the website, start November clean-shaven and don't trim your upper lip for the whole month.
Goatees and beards aren't allowed, while you should use your new moustache as an icebreaker to talk about men's health.
Not only has Movember made the moustache fashionable once again, but it can also boast:
- Raising £346 million in a decade
- Funding 770 men's health projects
- Getting over four million people involved
- Dominating social media in the UK, US, Germany, South Africa, Australia and many, many more countries
How did Movember start?
The actual history of Movember is a great story. Started in 2003, two friends from Australia started a joke about the 'desperate' need to bring the moustache back into fashion.
Inspired by another companion's Mum's fundraising efforts for breast cancer, their enthusiasm quickly developed into full-blown campaign in its own right. Only instead of breast cancer, they decided to focus their efforts on prostate cancer.
After a quick email to gather support, two quickly became 30. This group dubbed themselves the original 'Mo Bros' and had so much fun growing their facial hair for a worthwhile cause that a year later, the Movember website and company name was officially registered.
From there, the campaign went from strength to strength, with the Mo Bros' numbers increasing to 450 in 2004 and a staggering 9,315 in 2005.
Does everyone understand what Movember is all about?
With the Movember movement crossing international borders and becoming a global hit in just a few years, it's easy to see how its message can get lost in translation.
One of the criticisms of some of the 'supporters' of the cause is that they get caught up in the excitement of growing their facial hair, posting a picture of it on social media, but never actually setting up a fundraising page.
With this in mind, it's fair to say that there will be some groups who think Movember is simply all about sprouting a fancy moustache and shouting about how great it is.
If the people behind Movember want to stay true to their values, then overcoming this issue will be their next big challenge.
Does Movember have a problem?
The problem of simply becoming a trend - rather than a cause - isn't exclusive to Movember though, as shown by the recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. While this campaign still gained fantastic media attention as a result of countless celebrities getting involved, there was some confusion among the public over what the message behind it was.
While this still led to many entertaining videos being published online, there were also concerns that people weren't donating to the ALS Association at the same time. Similarly, there were cases of people introducing their video as an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and then announcing they'd be giving their cash to a different charity.
With this year's Movember campaign is just around the corner, this could potentially affect how it is run and promoted this time around.
However, even if the lines have become a little blurred, there's still no taking away from the great work Movember continues to do. So if you're planning on supporting the cause this year, just remember what it's all about.