Mo Money, Mo Knowledge

Movember has arrived and men everywhere are ditching their razors and showing off their hairy upper lips for men’s health issues.

Wait a minute. Did you realize all that facial hair was for men’shealth issues? I actually didn’t, first.

In the past I’ve been a bit of a critic of the Movember campaign.Not because I’m heartless or don’t think prostate cancer is a real issue, but because campaigns like Movember run the risk of missing the point. It’s fun to play around with real and fake silly moustaches, but the real point is to get people talking, to raise awareness and to save lives.

Movember, like many awareness campaigns, often falls prey to the slacktivist mentality. Slacktivism is what you get when people slack at activism. It usually involves taking a cause and doing the bare minimum to appear engaged and feel good about yourself without taking any real action to move the cause forward. I’m sorry to tell you this, but if all you do for Movember is grow a moustache and feel good about yourself then you, sir, are a slacktivist.

It’s great when an awareness campaign is fun, cute and even sexy—but that should just be how the cause first gets people’s attention. The next step needs to be concrete and information-based, because a sexy campaign doesn’t mean anything unless it gets people to do something. This Movember, don’t just participate by wearing a moustache at a party— do something real.

If you’re growing out your ‘stache, you can create a profile online at ca.movember.com to collect and donate money to prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives. This gives you a place to send people for information on the cause and the organizations actually collecting funds.

While you’re at it, learn the facts for yourself. That way, when someone comments on your fancy moustache, you have some knowledge to throw their way. This should get you started: The prostate is a walnut-sized gland found under the bladder and in front of a male’s rectum. One in seven men in Canada will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lives and just this year there were 26,500 new cases. Four thousand of those men won’t survive. Prostate cancer has a 95 per cent survival rate when detected early, but statistically, most men don’t get regular checkups, so many of them aren’t detecting it early enough. This is where real awareness can help.

Canadian guidelines recommend that men start annual prostate screenings with their family doctors between the ages of 40 and 50. You may be too young to get yourself checked out, but you’re never too young to pass that info along to friends and family.

If you’re throwing a Movember party, remember that a party where no one really talks about why they’re all sporting moustaches doesn’t really help. If you’re going to make Movember a party theme, at least have enough respect for those actually affected by these issues and do something real for the cause.

Find creative ways to raise funds and spread knowledge. Maybe you can display prostate cancer facts on posters or have a “donate what you can” box. It might sound a little cheesy, but it doesn’t need to be.

There’s nothing wrong with Movember, but right now there seems to be more awareness of moustaches rather than for the campaign and what it supports. It’s up to the people participating to make it more meaningful. And that doesn’t necessarily mean giving money—sometimes information is more valuable than cash.

So, if you plan on getting involved this year, do your part to make it count.

Happy Movember!

Submit questions anonymously at sex-pancakes.tumblr.com and check out “Sex & Pancakes” on Facebook. Need some extra help? Contact Concordia Counselling & Development at 514-848-2424 ext. 3545 for SGW and ext. 3555 for Loyola. Got a quick health question? Call info-santé at 8-1-1 from any Montreal number.

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