TEN years ago two blokes enjoying a beer in a Melbourne pub, joked about bringing back a cultural icon of the 70s – the moustache.
Yeah you know what it is. You’ve probably even tried to grow one and couldn’t stand the time it took to do so – so gave in, whipped out the razor and dreamt only of being an iconic porn star. Or perhaps, a famous cricketer. Or even a reminiscent image of your Grandpa.
From humble beginnings in 2003, Movember has grown from a joke to a challenge, to a global philanthropic movement for men’s health. The modern moustache isn’t reserved for hipsters and sports stars; it’s a force for good that raised $124 million last year, across 14 countries, for prostate cancer and male mental health.
Founders Travis Garone and Luke Slattery are two men on a mission – to cultivate facial hair and men’s wellbeing in the month of November.
“We were having beers and we stumbled across this idea, it was a joke and going to be fun. The appeal of Movember to most guys is to have a good excuse to grow facial hair – be a bit disruptive, maybe upset the boss. Once you start wearing it, it’s a catalyst for conversation.”
Beyond the campaign’s obvious fun side, there’s a powerful call-to-action behind every hairy upper lip that benefits partners such as the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and national depression initiative beyondblue.
In 10 years Movember has raised $302 million towards these two causes, drawing its initial inspiration from the power and success of the breast cancer awareness movement. This is a time to ask your mates how they’re going – stop the jokes for a minute and inquire about your buddies, ask them about their health and tell people what you’re going through mentally and physically. By talking about things, you’d be surprised how you can help. And although your mate might be looking at the ‘growth’ on your upper lip, it sits as sort of an ice-breaker for the conversation.
On the serious side, the men’s health message is getting through. Movember’s statistics are not insignificant:
– 80 per cent of Movember bros (and Mo sisters) visited a doctor in the last 12 months;
– 71 per cent discussed men’s health during Movember;
– 46 per cent researched their health during Movember;
– 43 per cent reported they felt more educated and aware about health risks;
– 100 per cent resembled Allan Border
For a fashion trend that by 2003 had gone completely out of fashion, the moustache has made a serious comeback. And Mr Garone says there’s nothing wrong with looking like a World Series cricket relic for a month – as long as your clear it with your partner.
“One of the pleasures in Movember is being able to go out and have wines with Dennis Lillee, Max Walker, guys from the golden age of cricket – those guys are Aussie legends and moustache icons. It doesn’t get better than that,” he said.
“The girls are really behind it – every girl I know just knows we’re a bunch of guys having fun and raising money. These days, most of my buddies who are single with moustaches have a great time during Movember.”
If you’re interested in supporting Movember you can sign up here. Please send your Twitter pics to our Twitter Page and remember to use the #movember hashtag.
Sources: AP; news.com.au; famous mo wearers.