Movember in December, or is that in Feb

Movember faces with mustaches

Movember sounds like November but it’s not. It’s November with Mo in front, comes from Australia, and has gone global. It’s a combination of the short for “mustache” and November. It’s an annual celebration involving the growing of mustaches in November and is an event to raise awareness for men’s health issues. Its origin focuses attention on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide. Alongside the celebration, the Movember Foundation runs a charity event based on with the goal of changing the face of men’s health against these two cancers and suicide.

In Movember, men are mo bros, women are mo sisters, then there are the non-binary mos - neither 1’s nor 0’s. 

You get involved in a number of ways. Naturally, growing a mustache - GROW A MO - being the logo of the movement is the most iconographic involvement. It can range from just patchy to fully epic, but the goal is to have a visual campaign to raise funds and awareness for men’s health. Men do tend to be less aware of their health unintentionally or premeditatedly.

Then there’s just taking action - MOVE FOR MOVEMBER. It could be committing to cover a distance on foot, by bike, fast or slow as long as the person is the engine. The number to reach is 60 for the mo bros lost to premeditated non-existence each year, per hour, worldwide. As it turns out, this is direly needed that a hospital in Brazil is fitted with an inflatable mustache in 2013. But what could be bringing Brazilian men over the edge?

A hospital in Brazil decorated with an inflatable blue mustache for Movember.

But not everything has to be serious to bring serious concerns to mind. Hosting is all about having a good time for a good cause, and really it could just be HOSTING A MOMENT. But then again especially with men, there’s creating your own challenge, which could be a grueling test of physical endurance or something off the charts. This is when you MO YOUR OWN WAY, like when you wear a black bow tie- shaped like mustache 365 days a year.

All that is celebrated in Movember, but when is that anyway? What is more definitive is when it started. Seven Nightly News aired a story of a group of young men in Adelaide who coined the name ‘Movember” and the idea of growing mustaches for charity throughout the month of November back in 1999. The group said they came up with idea one night in the pub. The group soon ballooned to become a nationwide phenomenon that aimed to raise money against cruelty to animals through selling t-shirts with messages.

But then in 2004, an unrelated group in Melbourne organized an event wherein 30 mo bros would grow mustaches to raise attention for prostate cancer and depression in men. The following year, nearly 500 people raised over $40,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. This group would later become the Movember Foundation charity. 

So the origins neither tell the when or where of Movember, save the general direction of Australia. What is remarkable though is in 2012, 1.1 million people signed up to participate, and raise upwards of $95 million. But Movember is not without controversies. In October 2007, Australian Channel 7’s current affairs program “Today Tonight” ran a critical report on the Movember foundation’s spending, asking “What would you do a donation to a charity if you knew only 17 cents in a dollar would be passed on? My MO YOUR OWN WAY to that is to buy lots of black mustached-shaped bow ties to give around to mo-bros, mo-sisters, and non-binary bros. It would certainly attract a lot of attention and perhaps break the $95 million record by a mile stretching clear from Sydney to Perth.

A Boing 747-800 decorated with a Movember mustache.

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