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Not just decorative: the meaning behind Movember

As we enter November, many men are excitedly starting No-Shave November, or Movember, a time when they can let their facial hair grow freely. 

But how many people actually know what this hairy month is about? Unfortunately, it seems that the reason behind Movember aren’t very well-known. 

“I don’t know much about the origin of Movember. All I know as your average guy is that it’s the time when most men stop shaving,” said Landon Hochstein, who sports a beard year-round.

Movember was started in 2003 by Australians Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, as a way to raise awareness about testicular and prostate cancers. Part of participating in Movember was, and still is, raising and donating money in support of men’s health. The movement became an official charity in 2006.

“I think it’s a really cool idea now that I know the origins, but it’s a shame that we don’t hear enough about why we do it,” Hochstein added. 

Unfortunately, it seems that Movember’s popularity has taken the focus away from why it exists. One of the rules behind Movember is donating money that men would normally spend on razors, shaving cream, and beard trims to a men’s health organization, but this tends to get passed over in the excitement of growing a beard or moustache. 

The Movember Foundation has since included other aspects of men’s health, such as mental health and the high rate of suicide among men. 

Nov. 3 saw the first iteration of the Dude Show Expo, an event created by Tim Holter in partnership with the Movember Foundation. It was the first men-focused lifestyle expo in Calgary, where attendees could not only explore products and services intended for men, but could also throw an axe, try virtual reality gaming, sample craft beer, get a beard trim, and more. The Expo also teamed up with Bikers Against Bullying and Man Enough YYC.

“When we came up with the idea for The Dude Show, the Movember Foundation seemed to be a logical fit for what we were doing,” said Holter, who has personally raised money by participating in Movember. The foundation’s focus on mental health and suicide prevention was a factor in partnering with them.

“I think increasing awareness around men’s physical and mental health issues is very important. For too long, men of all kinds have suffered in silence,” said Holter.

 “A lot of men don’t speak out when they should.”

This silence might be because of societal pressures that tell men they shouldn’t express their emotions or “show weakness.” However, conversations around “manliness” have been evolving, so change may be on the horizon.

Hopefully, the Dude Expo, the Movember Foundation, and similar organizations such as the Prostrate Cancer Centre, Next Gen Men, and Oneball, can help people gain a greater awareness of men’s health and how they can help.

“We’re all in this thing called life together,” said Holter. 


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