Last November, my Facebook page was flooded with weekly mustache updates and fundraising pitches. I’ve never rolled my eyes so much in one month.
Movember is a fundraising campaign that asks men, and men only (more on that later), to not shave during the month of November in order to raise money and awareness for men’s health generally and prostate and testicular cancer specifically.
Big NGOs and Big Medicine have seen how much money cancer sensationalism raises and instead of focusing on overall body health and awareness, Movember is jumping on the commercial cancer bandwagon, yellow bracelets and all.
So in preparation for my least favorite fundraising campaign of the year, here are the top 5 reasons to blow off Movember.
1. Much of the money goes to funding early prostate screenings (through either actually paying for the screening, funding the research behind the screening, or public health campaign so men will go get the screening) and, guess what, guys? The screening sucks! Current recommendations are against screening because of the risk of overdiagnosis.
In other words, most medical experts believe that too many people will be falsely diagnosed leading to invasive procedures and surgery with potential complications to make screening worthwhile.
2. In case ladies were at all confused if they could join in the fun, there’s no shortage of charming men to let you know that in fact, you cannot. Because women with facial hair are the grossest. Way grosser than prostate cancer.
3. So how do women get to play the cancer awareness game? Oh, right.
4. Pink Ribbons Inc. isn’t Movember’s fault, but they could learn from it and they aren’t. Our health and wellness movements aren’t bettered by washing cancer in hyper-gender activity. Girls wearing pink and boys growing mustaches doesn’t make anyone any healthier.
5. A real life problem in men’s health is that men are taught from a very young age to "tough it out," so we see men wait longer to seek health treatment when they need it. It seems like growing a mustache plays into the same dynamic that causes that problem in the first place. What are they asking here? Do this thing with your body that you have no control over and that will show how manly you are. Wait, what?
A friend remarked recently that Men’s Health Month is about as needed as White History Month. Isn’t every month men’s health month? But men ought to have the same attention and resources drawn to their wellness and their health needs deserve to be taken more seriously than this.