By Amy Rudolph
Movember started as a way to show people that men’s health was important, but the internet turned it into a month of mustaches. If you ask most people, they probably don’t exactly know what Movember is.
Before Movember, there weren’t many widespread efforts to show men that they can be affected by diseases and that it is fine to talk about them. Movember tackles the causes of prostate and testicular cancer and men’s suicide.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and men die from suicide at 3.5 times the rate of women, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Prostate and testicular cancer only affect people with those body parts and is not talked about as often. Most people know that when they see pink ribbons that they are supporting Breast Cancer Awareness, but not many people know what color the ribbons for prostate and testicular cancer and suicide awareness are. You rarely see light-blue-out sporting events for prostate cancer or people donning purple and turquoise for suicide awareness month. Most of us don’t even know when those months are.
This is not to say that breast cancer awareness efforts or pink-outs draw attention away from other diseases, they just happen to have more of a presence and are talked about at greater lengths.
The Movember Foundation’s website says, “Our fathers, partners, brothers, and friends are facing this health crisis and it’s not being talked about.” One way that Movember has gotten people to talk about these issues is with the mustaches.
Before I came to Washington College, I knew that Movember was about men’s health, but not any of the specific diseases or causes that it benefitted. With all health campaigns, they are meant to educate, raise awareness, and collect funds for research. From a public health perspective, women go to the doctor more often than men and are constantly shown the effects of women’s health issues in the media and through campaigns targeted at them.
The brothers of the Kappa Alpha Order at WC grow mustaches each November to help raise awareness for their Movember philanthropy.
Senior Vice President and Director of Philanthropy for Kappa Alpha Beta Omega, Adam Glass said, “Some people may see [the mustaches] as just a silly, half-hearted attempt to show support…however they are a symbol of unity amongst men to combat the physical and mental issues that are dealt with all over the world.”
If you are interested in learning more about Movember, you can go to movember.com or talk to a brother of the Kappa Alpha Order. On Nov. 29, Kappa Alpha will be having their annual Wing Bowl in the Goosenest and will also be selling t-shirts prior to the event to support the Movember Foundation.
As long as there are still people who are uninformed about these issues and don’t understand the importance that it plays in the health of people around the globe, there is always more that can be done.
Glass touched on this notion. He said, “The best thing you can do for Movember is to research. It is easy to tell someone that they should donate to the foundation. What is hard is actually getting people to become informed and invested in such a cause.”
While most of the people affected by prostate and testicular cancers are older men, young men also face these same issues and are in the population most affected by suicide in the U.S. According to movember.com, Movember’s mission is to stop men from dying prematurely.