The Art of Raising Awareness
So… I’ve heard of ‘Movember‘ in the past, and have seen the results of it – men joining together and growing mustaches in the month of November. I’ve seen the facebook statuses, photos, tweets, etc…
Up til Tuesday, when I checked PCOSChick’s blog, I had no clue that the whole thing was supposed to raise awareness for Prostate Cancer.
Not once have I ever seen a “movember” photo caption mentioning prostate cancer…or any such proof that this what the whole thing is about.
This has really irked me…
Okay – perhaps I should have done my research and found out where the tradition started, or why men were doing this…but I honestly just thought it was an excuse for men to grow mustaches without being judged or deemed creepy. (Because let’s face it, mustaches make men look slimy/creepy [if you’re reading this, and your significant other has a mustache year round – please don’t take offense, I am sure he is the exception to the rule and he is strikingly handsome with his mo.].)
I’ve been noticing a little bit of a trend lately – with regard to awareness campaigns…or more accurately, those who participate in them… they’ve become “cool” or the trendy thing to do — which, don’t get me wrong, is AWESOME!! As long as those participating are actually raising awareness.
What is awareness? We’ve all heard of prostate cancer/breast cancer/etc… What is the point of “raising awareness” — I have to tell you, just hearing “the cause” mentioned does nothing for my awareness of the disease… So how does growing a mustache raise one’s awareness? To me, raising awareness means educating people – telling people more about the disease… what causes it, what symptoms does it produce, how does one get tested, how common is it, who is most at risk, and/or raising money for the cause.
If the point is to start a discussion… simply “participating” does not start a discussion… unless the desired discussion is
Dude 1: “hey, what’s up with that ‘stache?”
Dude 2: “oh this mo? **twists mustache in a sinister fashion** it’s for Movemeber.”
Dude 1: “oh. want to go and hang out by the playground?”
At the end of the day – these efforts are only effective if the people participating follow through and get actively involved in advocating for their cause. On the movember website there is more information on how to support the cause effectively. There is also proof that Movember is actually helping to raise awareness and raise funds for the cause.
This post is in no way targeted at Movemeber or those who participate (okay, maybe just a little, because I was honestly frustrated at the amount of people participating and not mentioning the reason or the cause behind the whole movement), there are many other “awareness campaigns” — don’t even get me started on the let’s put up vague facebook statuses hinting at pregnancy to raise awareness for breast cancer campaign — that, in my opinion, do nothing to raise awareness, unless they are followed up with some information or opportunities to support the cause.
What do you think of Movemeber? Do you participate? Do you do more than grow a mustache? Have you ever asked someone why they’re participating?
Maybe next time I see or hear of someone participating in Movember, I’ll ask if they’re registered on the website, so I can support them with a donation.