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…

HOWEVER,

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.

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10 thoughts on “The Art of Raising Awareness

  1. Never heard of growing a beard/mustache in November having anything to do with prostate cancer. But, in my neck of the woods, guys always grew them for hunting season which is at the end of November. You know, to keep their faces warm in the cold weather. So, I dunno who started that awareness idea. As you said, it’s a nice concept, but not the original intent. As far as I know. 🙂

    • That is very interesting!! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I hadn’t really considered how many people grow facial hair in November for other reasons… (Although I’m sure they aren’t posting facebook statuses and tweeting about how excited they are for Movember! 😛 )

    • Exactly….
      Except that the Movember movement is actually doing good – but I think there are just so many people who participate for fun, without even knowing the purpose of the movement, or how to actually help the movement raise awareness and money for prostate cancer.
      Don’t get me wrong though – the breast cancer meme was a lot worse in terms of actually raising awareness…. I don’t believe that meme did ANYTHING for raising awareness or raising money for breast cancer.

      Thanks for stopping by Elphaba! 🙂

  2. Sounds like I can be very happy that “Movember” hasn’t found its way across the big ocean yet. If one of my colleagues suddenly started growing a moustache, I would never have guessed it was about raising awareness for prostate cancer. *shaking head*
    Wanna know an funny colloquial German nickname for moustaches (for the “Peter Selleck as Magnum, P.I” type)?

  3. I could hug you right now. I’ve said the same thing for a long time. I get so disproportionally upset by the pop cultural trends to “support a cause” without any support truly going to the cause. You see it a lot with child abuse. Everyone is “rah-rah-rah” against child abuse, but so few are willing to do anything about it. They ignore that their neighbor doesn’t put a jacket on their child when it’s 40* outside because they don’t want to make waves. They ignore the warning signs of abuse and neglect, but think that putting a status message up that “96% of people won’t have the courage to” is going to change things. My boys both came from the same abusive household. I cannot imagine them going back, but they don’t have to right now because they have somewhere else to go. I cannot do much, but I am doing what I can. The same goes for cancer research. I am registered as a bone marrow donor. Will I ever get a call? Who knows. All I can do is all I can do, but you bet that involves more than a facebook status update or a rubber bracelet proclaiming my love for boobs.

  4. I feel like the internet has so much to do with this…we get excited by little things (twibbons on twitter, fb memes) and forget the actual reason behind it.

    I’m going to ask the guys at my gym if they are fundraising. Thank you!

    • Awesome!! 🙂 Let me know how it goes!!

      I think you’re right – the internet probably has a whole lot to do with it – it’s become so easy to “support” a cause… with twibbons and virtual shoeboxes – such as facebook and even blogs…
      Not many people actually take the time to find out how to help.

  5. I think Movember is fantastic!! I support it every year as there is always someone I know who is taking part. Yes, it is rather silly that they grow a mustache but at least they are getting themself invloved by taking part. Not many ppl will voluntarily go out their way to grow facial hair! Their mustache is their way of showing their pride/success that they have supported a good cause. All donations made to Movember are given over to Cancer Research and The Prostate Cancer Research. Movember is becoming global and can only get bigger with more ppl getting involved.

    I have listed 3 links below, one being the global link so that you can check out your own country supporters and the other two are links are the ones i have donated for, one being family and the other a friend of ours. So come on get involved or donate to show your support. Loads more info about Prostate Cancer and Cancer Research can be found on the website.

    Global: http://www.movember.com/
    Donate UK: http://uk.movember.com/mospace/1795228
    Donate NZ: http://nz.movember.com/mospace/2326120

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