Brothers are doing it for themselves…

I love Movember

movember75movember75Firstly, it’s a chance for men to be playful with their facial hair, and how can that be bad?  I confess uncategorically here and now, facial hair remains the only thing that makes me jealous of men. 

Yep, you can can all that historical legal, social, cultural and economic advantage – it’s the ability to grow sideburns, and little hairy bits on your face that I really envy. 

But (slightly) more importantly, it’s the men dealing with social and health issues which effect them in a proactive way which I really love.  Prostate and testicular cancers are awful – and as with breast cancer, the sooner they are identified because we know our bodies well, the better they can be treated.  Men’s depression is a significant issue in Aotearoa/New Zealand, where men talking about how they feel is still an anathema to many.

Movember is a humourous attempt to get men talking about these things, while funding is raised for support and research into men’s health.  This year the $700,000 raised so far is going to the Cancer Society and the Mental Health Foundation.  And it’s catching on – check out this map from the Movember website:


One of the most irritating responses those of us who organise around violence against women get regularly is “but what about the men?”

I have lost count of the times I’ve been asked this, particularly in the context of Women’s Refuges.  My answer has always been that the explosion of emergency housing for women and children escaping violence in the 1970s onwards happened because women needed it.  Women gave up their homes, volunteered their time, took donations and sometimes endured abuse and attacks because other women needed somewhere safe to go.  All of this happened without state funding initially – and today Refuges remain woefully underfunded, dependent on a workforce mostly made up of volunteer women.

I believe if the need had been there for men escaping violence, the same thing would have happened.  An organic development of men setting up men’s refuge space.  Instead the first Refuge for men in the UK opened in just 2003, fully funded by the government.  Which is a good thing – don’t get me wrong – but speaks to an enormous difference in need backed up by police and health figures.

Which is again why the men “donating their face for men’s health” in Movember so impress me.  This isn’t a competition comparing women’s health with men’s health – or asking women organisers to sort out something for men.  It is men taking control of the issues for themselves, and doing it in a humorous and educative way. 

Brothers (including mine) are doing it for themselves.


4 thoughts on “Brothers are doing it for themselves…

  1. While I’m willing to overlook some basic errors in this post (“which effect” instead of “that affect”, for example), I’m afraid I have to pull you up on your mention of “prostrate” (sic) cancer. Could you please tell me where on the human body the “prostrate” is? Is it a gland that likes lying down? Or is it (once agin in this linguistically benighted country) simply code for the prostATE gland?
    Sorry to be such a pedant, but perhaps all that time you spend criticising journalistic standards would be better spent learning the basics of the language. I mean if you’re going to be a journalist and all…

  2. Thanks for the pedantry, Bearhunter, duly removed the incorrect R in this blog and two stories I’ve written on Movember – surprisingly, it had been missed by a two sub-editors (radio story and print) working in journalism for 40-odd years – guess it must be one of those words.

    And I’ll undertake to undergo basic language skills training to make sure I live up to the high standards of journalism, after self-flagellation for incorrect use of “effect”.

    Sadly, I’ve not had enough time for criticising journalistic standards lately imo. Will keep trying though 🙂

  3. Good on you. I’ve had stnd-up rows with subs over basic grammar in the past, so I don’t imagine for a moment that they are on any higher plane than mere mortals. Unless, of course, I’m wearing my subbing hat…:-)

  4. I love Movember too. At school all the teachers would participate and grow mo’s. It was interesting to see who could do it fast (within a week) and who barely had stubble by November 30. I, like you, am envious that the men can do this. Females don’t have awesome facial hair we can shave in different designs to show off to the world. I wish more men would grow facial hair just coz they can coz if I could, I would!

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