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The changing of the leaves not only signifies that fall is here, but also that beard-growing season is upon us. You’ve probably heard of Movember or one of the other iterations like Novembeard or No Shave November, but we often get distracted by the healthy competition of the event, and forget why it all matters. Sure, we all notice the somewhat awkward initial stages for new growers and are amazed by the full on facial forest of others, but Movember has given us the platform to talk about men’s health, as well as raise awareness and funds for an important cause. So, lets take a closer look at why gentlemen are putting down their razors.
In the mid-to-late 19th century men actually grew mustaches in the month of November to show that they were old enough to vote. Even Honest Abe was influenced during the election to grow a beard to positively influence the appearance and status it presented to voters. But, it wasn’t until 2003 that the November practice of mustache growing gained a purpose.
Over a casual beer, two Aussie friends Travis Garone and Luke Slattery brewed up the idea to bring back the “Mo," a grooming trend that has long since seen its day. Inspired by a friend’s mom raising funds for breast cancer, they decided to shift the focus to men’s health and prostate cancer. After successfully convincing a group of thirty bros to take on the challenge, they decided to make things official and formalize the concept.
More than a decade later this fun idea has become a highly profitable global phenomenon attracting over five million participants raising $710M and funding over 1,200 projects. The program has since been broadened beyond prostate cancer to include men’s health issues: testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.
In 2015, in the US alone, $16 million was raised to support Movember. With 21 participating countries, including Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Sweden and Spain, the total global impact was over $61 million.
While there may be different rules for Movember or No Shave November, the important thing is that both are continuing the conversation and education for men’s health issues. So, as your moustache takes shape, let’s remember why it all matters and continue the conversation.
Let’s change the face of men’s health together! Sign up to support or donate at movember.com. Share your Movember moments with #clifforiginal.