Posted by Adam Blanch on 30 October 2015
The humble moustache – once the symbol of masculine virility and civility – has fallen a long way out of female favour in modern times. The Mo Bros are changing all that by making the hairy caterpillar the symbol for male health awareness and funding. Mo Sistas can also contribute, though not in the same hirsute way.
Men’s health has long been languishing in the back corner of public-health policy and awareness. Men are dying from preventable diseases at greater rates than women. In fact, one in two Australian men will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85, compared with one in three Australian women.
Popular presumptions that this is due to the fact that men fail to seek medical advice have since been abolished. Instead, social determinants of health and the barriers many men face are now seen as the major causes. Contributing to the deficit in men’s health are factors such as poverty, long working hours, lack of available services, public attitudes and a dearth of male-oriented programs.
The biggest problem, however, is funding, which suffers from a significant gender gap in Australia. Women’s health issues receive four times the government funding than men’s health does. Indeed, since 2003, women’s health received $833 million and men’s health less than $200 million.
The ‘cheeky’ solution
This is a problem that one group of men decided to tackle, well, face-on. In 2004, Movember was born – a new initiative to raise awareness and funds for men’s health. Now in 21 countries, the program has raised more than $580 million worldwide and provided funding for 832 men’s health programs.
The rules are simple. Men must start the month of November clean-shaven, grow a moustache for the next 30 days and raise funds for men’s health. Styles are optional – just pick your favourite lip-thatched character and copy, or simply go wild.
Goatees and beards are forbidden – the lip-tickler must be the star of the show. This is 30 days of unfettered freedom for men to indulge in their best Starsky & Hutch imitation – and all for a good cause.
So how can you help this year?
You can raise money in many ways. The Movember website will walk you through the process step by step, and workplace programs are both encouraged and supported with lots of tools and ideas. It’s a great way to bring some fun to the workplace and create a little team bonding.
Men across the world have embraced the mo, starting with 30 Mo Bros in 2003 and reaching more than four million by 2013. Women, officially known as Mo Sistas, are also a big part of the campaign’s success. They provide encouragement, logistical support and organisational oomph, and they’re a big part of the conversation about improving men’s health.
And when it’s all over, everyone celebrates at the infamous Movember Gala Partés, which can end up looking a bit like a Village People reunion.
Workplace fundraising for Movember is a win-win. Everyone has some fun, men get to go wild with their appearance and lots of money is raised to help reduce unnecessary deaths and suffering.
Will you be mo’ing it up this Movember? Why not boost office morale and get your colleagues involved? You can even organise a prize for the most flamboyant mo.