It’s that time of year again – Movember is almost over. As moustaches take over social media, and our lives, we have to ask: what’s this all about?
Movember started in 2003 when Travis Garone and Luke Slattery decided to bring back the mo as a way to fundraise for prostate cancer. From there it has grown into a global movement raising awareness and funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s mental health.
Is there a Health crisis and what does it involve?
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for kiwi men. Globally, it kills 45 men every hour. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men under the age of 40, and yet 70% of men never have or don’t regularly check their testicles. Globally, a man dies from suicide every minute.
Is Movember effective?
One of the main critiques of Movember is that it isn’t inclusive and that promoting an awareness of men’s health through stereotypes of manliness is problematic and could potentially reinforce some of the damaging aspects of masculinity, or toxic masculinity, that the movement refers to. Another issue is that the movement uses entirely gender normative language, and using the moustache as an emblem of masculinity forces people to use a secondary sex trait as a way of evaluating how much of a man they are.
However, while there are some problems within the movement, its funds have made a real impact on prostate cancer research and treatment, as well as men’s health. While there is definitely room to improve, there can be no denying that the movement is well intentioned and has had positive effects.
How should we approach Men’s Health?
The first step is to start talking about it. We need to talk about men’s health and encourage an atmosphere where men can be unwell and not lose their status of “man”. Let go of the “she’ll be right” attitude and take responsibility for your health instead.
Get regular check-ups and establish a relationship of trust with your doctor. Prevention and early detection are hugely important to maintaining good health. People need to have a plan B for when plan A fails.