By: Eduardo Ortiz, Campus Correspondent
The “Movember Foundation challenges men to grow mustaches during Movember (November)” but is it still fashionable in contemporary society to have facial hair, even for a good cause?
“Movember” originated in Australia in 2003 before becoming a worldwide movement, of which 21 countries participate. Since then, according to the Movember Foundation, the movement has raised $559 million for “improving the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.” Prostate cancer, the main issue of focus according to besthealthdegrees.com is the second most common cancer in the world and makes up 10 percent of global cancer fatalities. Within this statistic, one in six American men have been diagnosed and with 660 deaths everyday.
So what are the downsides of supporting such a great cause? Though objectivity is the desired purpose of this article, it has occurred to me that this topic is rather centered around men, so here is what you fellas need to know. In terms of what women think of men who decide to ‘let themselves go’ during November, the consensus is rather abysmal, and as I sit here stroking my goatee I’m beginning to question my decision. The Daily Titan reported that in a survey conducted by researchers in Canada and New Zealand on 200 women, “a significant number chose the clean-shaven men.” However there is still a chance to partially participate in the movement and satisfy the opposite sex. A study conducted by Nick Neave at Northumbria University found that “women give the highest ratings to those with light stubble.”
Furthermore, aside from women, businesses and private schools alike frown upon the unprofessional and disheveled sight of facial hair on their community members. The more recent coining of Movember, “No-Shave November,” becomes a welcoming term of masculinity to workers and students alike, while in many cases the expectation of their employers is a clean look. Statistics from The Daily Titan also state that a clean-cut appearance is so vital that 95 percent of employers at the Job Center for Wisconsin based their belief that an individual could satisfy their job requirements on appearance. Even more shocking is that 61 percent said that appearance can have a negative impact on promotion within a company, i.e. that full-bearded look a man can get after working 72-hours straight for recognition from his boss could hinder his advancement.
Celebrities such as NHL player George Parros, documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock and Snoop Dogg beg to differ, and in recent years have donned facial hair to support the movement. According to “ProHockeyTalk,” Parros, a man with an “ivy league background,” shaved his mustache on Nov. 4 2010 to begin the growing process and encouraged his teammates with a head start in a “‘stache-growing chance.” PR Newswire reports that Spurlock, who had to be shaven in 2011, as he was on an acting job, created the concept of “Reverse Movember,” during which he would shave throughout November as opposed to keeping his mustache year-round. MTV stated in 2011 that Snoop Dogg wanted people to “grow a mo, and help change the face of men’s health.” He also introduced the slogan “Keep It Neat,” which was featured on a fundraising t-shirt.
Thus, despite such widespread support for Movember, letting go of the professionalism and female desire that is associated with a clean shave for a month seems like a small price to pay for some and a potentially heavy price for others. So which is it? Is facial hair fashionable or more of a phenomenon in this ever-modernizing age?