Have you noticed that each November, there seems to be a little more facial hair around? Maybe a typically clean shaven co-worker starts showing up to work looking like Grizzly Adams? Or perhaps you’ve noticed a friend suddenly sporting a handlebar mustache? It’s no coincidence; your friends are likely taking part in No-Shave November or Movember.
While both involve growing facial hair for the entire month of November, No-Shave November and Movember are actually a little different from one another. So, what is No-Shave November? What is Movember? And how can you get involved in the hairy fun? Let’s find out!
Origins of No-Shave November and Movember
Throughout history, and for various reasons, there have been examples of men growing beards or facial hair for set periods of time.
In ancient Greece, it was believed that a proper education included imitating those most knowledgeable. Of course, it was the gods that possessed more wisdom than anyone else. So each year, for thirty days, young scholars would emulate the gods in as many ways possible, including growing beards.
More recently, Karl Marx was said to called for a beard growing month as a way to upset the factory owning bourgeoisie. Apparently, he thought the ruling class would be angered by their employees suddenly growing out facial hair. This plan never managed to gain much steam.
However, while there are definitely some historical precedents, the campaigns now known as No-Shave November and Movember are actually entirely modern concepts.
What is No-Shave November?
No-Shave November was a Facebook campaign started in 2009 by the sons and daughters of a father who had passed away from colon cancer. The idea was simple: grow a beard to raise awareness about cancer.
This grassroots movement quickly caught on, eventually garnering the attention of the American Cancer Society, which is now a partner.
Today, No-Shave November is an organization that encourages people to forgo shaving for the month of November. This includes both men and women.
How does all this hair help cancer? Well, in addition to general cancer awareness, at the end of the month, No-Shave November asks participants to donate all the money they saved on razors, shaving cream, and other grooming products to the American Cancer Society. Not a bad deal!
What is Movember?
Movember is similar to No-Shave November, and actually predates it be a few years. Movember began back in 2003. A group of men in Melbourne, Australia, decided they would each grow a mustache for 30 days in order to raise awareness for prostate cancer and depression in men. The group would go on to found the Movember Foundation charity.
The idea behind Movember is also pretty simple. Grow a mustache (and a mustache only). When people ask you about it, you can use it as an opportunity to have a conversation about men’s health issues, like prostate cancer. People are also encouraged to donate to charities that help.
Movember is a portmanteau of the Australian-English diminutive word for mustache, “mo”, and “November”. The organization has campaigns in 21 countries, and has expanded to also include men’s mental health and men’s fitness.
How Can I Participate?
The best part about No-Shave November and Movember is that it is actually easier to participate than not to. I mean, does anyone really like shaving? It’s painful, time consuming, and generally just a hassle.
If you do plan to partake in either, it is best to start of with a nice, clean shaven face for the 1st of the month. For those growing a mustache, remember to use your new furry friend as an opportunity to talk about men’s health. You can also raise funds, too. Just make sure to keep that mustache on point.
For No-Shave November, let that body hair grow everywhere. Put those grooming materials away for the month, and channel your inner mountain man. Any money you save by not shaving can then be donated to charity. It might not seem like much, but imagine if everyone did it? Sometimes, a little can go a long way.
But what if you can’t grow facial hair? That is totally okay. Not all beards are created equal. Grow what you can, and embrace your patchy, unique beard or moustache.
Why Is Prostate Cancer Awareness Important?
Did you know that prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancers in the U.S.? It is estimated that 14% of all new cancer cases are prostate cancer. It is also estimated that 29,000 people will die of prostate cancer this year, or about 5% of all cancer deaths.
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. About 1 man in 9 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but if caught early, is usually treatable. That is why it is so important for older men to know the facts and get checked routinely.
Why Is Cancer Awareness In General Important?
According to the American Cancer Society, in 2018 in the U.S., there will be an estimated 1,735,350 new cancer cases and 609,640 cancer deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists cancer as the second-leading cause of death in the U.S, behind heart disease.
Clearly, cancer remains a major issue in the U.S. The good news is that cancer treatments are getting better each day, thanks largely to money raised for cancer research. This November, consider growing some facial hair for cancer. You’ll help others, feel good about yourself, and look pretty dang cool.
Mark Heald is an Associate Product Manager and Sporcle Admin. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and bemoaning the fact the Sonics left Seattle.