Every November men across the country and across the globe retire their razors and participate in No-shave-November, otherwise known as Movember, and they grow out their Mo for the duration of the month. It’s a fun experiment and moreover, it’s funny to see your friends sporting silly mustaches. But the lighthearted tradition has a somewhat more serious and little-known backstory.
In 2004, a group of 30 men in Melbourne, Australia would grow their mustaches for 30 days to raise awareness for prostate cancer and depression in men. They would later become the Movember Foundation. They have since become a worldwide fund dedicated to men’s health.
The Foundation has gathered celebrity and corporate endorsements while raising hundreds of millions of dollars in donations. They are the only global foundation dedicated solely to men’s health. Their mission is to get men talking, get men checked and stop men from dying too young.
It’s too often the case that men don’t talk about their health, physical and mental, because it’s not manly or appropriate. But it’s also the case that so many men around the world are dying preventable deaths due to things like cancer and depression. As of 2015, suicide was the seventh leading cause of death for American men. Cancer was number 3.
Social entrepreneur and founder of CACTI (Center for Advocacy for Cancer of the Testes), Scott Petinga, thinks there isn’t enough cultural awareness for men’s health issues. One way he plans to combat the lack of action is establishing the color blue as the official color of November – and April — as Pink is for Breast Cancer Awareness in October.
Petinga said: “People talk about equality. How about we start by saving people regardless of the disease – or the person’s gender. We all have men in our lives that deserve it. Let’s start a revolution!”
Petinga calls out companies like Delta for giving big dollars to breast cancer awareness, having their employees wear pink and serving pink lemonade on flights during the month of October – and then doing nothing to raise awareness for men – many of whom are business travelers that fly Delta, including Petinga.
Color for thought and definitely a debate that is about to get heated up.