‘Tis the time where men shave off all their facial hair and start to grow, in their own fashion, a good old solid “MO”. What is a “MO” you ask? Well, I’ve been called a MO by some of my friends, but it isn’t that kind of MO we are talking about. With our generation’s uncanny ability to shorten ever single word in the English language to make them hip, a “MO” is a Moustache!
Movember is a month long awareness and fundraising campaign for prostate cancer and prostate cancer research. The funds raised in Canada by MO Bros and MO Sistas are directed to programs run by Movember and their health partner, Prostate Cancer Canada. While Movember has had huge success in Canada, the movement to bring awareness to men’s health has spread across the world! Formal campaigns have been established in over a dozen countries and has garnered more that 1.9 million participants! And according to the Movember website, the organization is aware of “Mo Bros and Mo Sistas supporting the campaign and men’s health cause across the globe, from Russia to Dubai, Hong Kong to Antarctica, Rio de Janeiro to Mumbai, and everywhere in between.” The fine folks at Movember have worked tirelessly to establish a now global movement to work to change “established habits and attitudes men have about their health, to educate men about the health risks they face, and to act on that knowledge, thereby increasing the chances of early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment.”
In 2011, over 854,000 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world got on board, raising $125.7 million bucks! (Canadian)
How does it work? Well, Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words, according to the Movember Canada website they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health. The stereotype and sometimes often truth that men don’t like to talk about their feelings is also true about their health. What Movember is trying to do is break down those walls associated with ignorance or ambivalence (both self and otherwise) of men’s health issues and get them (and allies) talking about possible health risks. In all, it’s about opening a dialogue, a dialogue that could save lives. It is a dialogue that we are interested in being a part of, in our own gaily way.
While Movember, and Movember participants (especially in Canada), will stay loyal too the hyper-masculine woodsy lumberjack theme, this year the organization has focused on the familial relationships of father and son. Their slogan this year is “Movember and Sons” with additional sub slogans of “You’re gonna be a man, my son.” So, again, staying true to hyper-masculinity, Movember wants to highlight the important role a son could play in a father’s health by opening a dialogue and providing life saving information to a parent that may otherwise go ignored.
Here at the Gaily, we are aware of the socio-cultural and political implications, reactions, and criticisms geared towards Movember (Post-Mo Again?) particular around gender and gender expression. And to be honest, we share some of the concerns about these types of health awareness campaigns (Why I hate Pink Ribbon Crap and Six Reasons Everyone oughta care). Some have argued that the hyper-masculine and hetero-normative image and discourses Movember takes on may alienate both men and transwomen who do not ascribe to or feel comfortable with that identity or the masculinity of the campaign and conversation. We are pretty aware that many may feel threatened by or excluded from this dialogue, so we are going to be opening up one of our own on The Gaily to discuss the merits and issues of Movember and maybe even discuss what alternative “men’s” health initiatives might look like.
However, in the end we see the movement as more than the sum of its parts; we see a common good in opening dialogue and promoting health education amongst men and people with bodies that might need this information, and all of the people that love them! We also understand that Movember is not the authority on the dialogue concerned with all men’s health and their exists many communities of heath here in Canada and around the world. Here at the Gaily we have created ho-Movember to help bring about discussion and dialogue about certain men’s health issues such as prostate cancer. Our goal is to help raise funds for Movember Canada but also to do our part in broadening the reach of the dialogue and adding our own campy flare to it. So watch out for more posts and discussions coming soon!
Here at the Gaily, we boys can appreciate a cool lookin’ Mo, especially on a hot guy. We also give a hot–damn about men’s health and want to do anything we can within and beyond our community to support awareness and research. Prostates need more love and less cancer! So we put together a small group of (ho)Mo Bros and are raising money and prostate health awareness here at the Gaily for the month of November.
Last year, to kick off Movember, Gaily writer and co-founder Tyrone Smith and I were asked to come on the CBC Radio show, Homerun. We chatted with host Sue Smith about Movember and what it means to start something off on a community level, spreading awareness about prostate cancer while wearing a Mo and raising some funds!
Listen to us on the show:
This Month, the Gaily will be dedicated to raising awareness of Movember events in your area (including our own TBA)! See how you can get involved for a great cause!