Movember: Armchair Advocacy


Tamara Sestanj is a reporter for The Ryersonian. (Dasha Zolota / Ryersonian Staff)

Every year I dread the arrival of November.

Yes the month of November has my birthday and means the countdown to Christmas has begun. However, it also marks the start of what I dread: Movember.

Every November 1st, my boyfriend shaves off his perfectly groomed scruff to reveal the baby face hidden underneath. It eventually grows out to the prickly beard-burn phase. It’s not an issue for him but for me, coming in for a kiss is like an acupuncture session on the face. By my birthday, a full-grown mustache is in place and I can’t help thinking that in 30 years, I’ll have my children asking me why Ron Burgundy attended my birthday party.

But I don’t complain (for the most part). I suck it up and be the supportive girlfriend I am. Why? Because it’s for a good cause. As long as my boyfriend is raising money, I can do my part and keep my mouth shut for 30 days. I’m all for advocacy and raising awareness but there is such a thing as armchair advocacy. I feel like Movember is one of the prime times of the year when this form of advocacy is apparent..

Movember has become a trend – raising $33.9 million last year alone – but many are hopping on the bandwagon without any intention of raising money for the cause. Although some would argue that any attention is good attention, I disagree.

If you are willing to change your appearance for a whole month, then you should be willing to actually do some good with it. Creating a Movember page only takes a couple minutes and sharing the page on social media for your family and friends takes no more effort than sharing that cute viral puppy video.

But don’t do just the minimum for Movember. You’ve grown a little hairy caterpillar above your lip and you’re living Movember 24/7 for 30 days. Let it reflect upon your actions. Raise money but also make a conscious effort to raise awareness.

“We just want men to be a little smarter about their health,” says Tyler Small, a representative from Movember Canada. “ The men’s health movement – it’s catching up now – but it was about 20 years behind in the women’s health movement in terms of men being willing to have conversations with their doctors as well as their friends about issues that are pressing for them. What we want is for the guys to have those conversations and for the mustache to be a catalyst for that.”

Talk to your father, uncle, friends about prostate cancer. Urge them to get checked. Don’t just settle by growing a small little mustache and raising a couple bucks. Instead, directly change the life of someone you love.

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