SPREADING AWARENESS FOR MEN’S HEALTH
By James Stemple, Staff Writer
November brings thoughts of family, tradition, holidays, and daylight savings. All that and the lack of shaving.
You’ve probably heard the term “No Shave November” thrown around before—maybe as a joke or an excuse not to shave. But if you delve further into the event, it actually gets quite deep.
The concept comes from growing awareness for health issues that impact men—prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and the like.
There seems to be two main foundations that helm the ship: Movember, an Australia-based international non-profit charity formed in 2004 and focused on growing mustaches to help raise awareness for these issues, and No-Shave November, a web-based charity formed in 2009 with the goal of letting all your facial hair grow out and donating the money you would have spent on shaving.
Movember encourages men to stay aware of their family history and to stay more active. Their site states that men “die on average six years earlier than women.”
Although these are two charities working towards the same goal, the process remains the same. You start with a clean shave on Oct. 31 and let the hair grow all November. And although Movember has a focus on mustaches, all hair is acceptable.
Yes, all hair—women are encouraged to join in as well—the No-Shave November website says to “[let] those legs go natural, and skip that wax appointment.” Whether it’s donating, buying no shave November merchandise, or just staying healthy, anyone can join in on the fun.
Despite the severity of the problems these organizations are trying to raise awareness for, it’s all meant to be fun. No matter how disgusting your hair might get, it’s all in the name of charity.
And these problems are severe—prostate cancer is the leading cause of death among men after skin cancer, and testicular cancer is right up there with them. But these types of cancer don’t normally affect men of college age. In fact, the people I spoke to either had no idea no shave November existed or had no idea the meaning behind it. “I just shaved today so it was never a big deal to me,” said Ali Asif, junior.
This isn’t to say that the people of Mason are apathetic, but perhaps they’re just not in the know. This is exactly the goal of Movember and No-Shave November, to educate the people who need it.
So maybe this month it’s best to keep an eye on your family history, because you never know what could be around the corner.
If you’re feeling generous or want to spread awareness along with these nonprofits, donate or stop shaving—it’s never too late.
Illustration by Mary Jane DeCarlo