It’s mustache season again.
Starting on Nov. 1 and lasting all month, men and women across the world participate in “No Shave November,” in which men craft their mustaches into masterpieces with the help of supportive women.
It is easy to judge the moustached men walking down Commonwealth Avenue during any other month. But, during the month of November the foundation Movember turns the idea of growing a mustache into a cause to raise awareness for prostate and testicular cancer.
According to the Movember website, the foundation was established in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia and currently has over 1.1 million “Mo brothers and sisters” who together have raised about $174 million. By acting as walking billboards for the cause, they aid the Movember foundation and raise awareness for men’s health.
Humberto Silva is a graduate student in Boston University’s School of Management. On November 22, he and his fellow Movember brothers set up a bake sale in the SMG lobby to raise money for the cause.
“You have to fundraise,” Silva said. “Last year the movement raised $81 million globally and $17 million in the U.S. alone. The BU MBA team raised $2,500 last year and so far this year we have raised $2,000.”
According to the Movember website, participants of the initiative span all over the globe including countries such as Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa. There are many participants on BU’s campus as well. Members can register individually or as part of a team and they raise money by having sponsors donate money to their cause.
Movember is different from the concept of No Shave November. While the former stresses the importance of raising awareness, the latter is simply an excuse for guys to grow out their facial hair for a month.
In explaining the importance of the foundation, Silva said that one in six men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime and that this campaign is good for raising awareness about these statistics and men’s health in general.
But SMG Sophomore Thatcher Hoyt said that he originally decided to participate in the cause just because he enjoyed growing a mustache.
“I chose to participate in it because it’s a fun tradition for guys to do,” he said.
Silva said that although this is only the second year that the MBA program participated in the campaign, he hopes that over the years they gain more members from the BU community.
“We are doing a contest across the country to see who can raise the most money with other MBA schools and we are currently ranked 11th nationally and first in the Boston area,” he said.
Students like Hoyt are also looking to get more involved in the cause.
“I know I originally started doing it for fun, but I actually learned about Movember during this month so I made a little donation when I shaved my mustache off,” he said. “I’m going to try to do my own fundraiser next year – kind of like a pool thing with my friends.”
However, despite the involvement of many BU males, girls are not as inclined to get involved in the cause because of a lack of awareness.
College of General Studies sophomore Alex LaSala said that she originally did not know that there was a purpose behind No Shave November.
“I just thought it was a guy’s way of being lazy and not having to shave for the month,” she said. “I always thought it was weird because no guy ever looks good with a mustache.”
But Silva said that the mustache can actually be beneficial for the men who decide to grow them.
“The mustache is good for interviews. A lot of people say ‘you shouldn’t go to an interview looking like that,’ but it’s totally the opposite,” he said.
And Hoyt agrees.
“I think when my mustache was settled in, past the awkward beginning phase, I look quite dignified,” he said. “Most women disagree though.”
College of Communications junior Paige, who wished to keep her last name anonymous, said she thinks the idea of growing a mustache is unattractive.
“I don’t really know the meaning behind it,” she said. “If I knew someone who was doing it for the right cause I would be more supportive though.”
According to an article in The Washington Post on Nov. 1, some participants in Movember even try to grow their mustache into a pink ribbon shape and then throw “shaving parties” at the end of the month.
Silva said that women can help out by supporting and donating to guys who are growing mustaches and by baking for their bake sales; many “Mo Sisters” even helped bake for the bake sale at SMG this past week.
The campaign also works to fund other foundations such as The Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Once registered, members can compete to see who raises the most money for the cause. One contest includes naming the “top raising college student.”
“It’s funny and is a little friendly competition of sorts,” Hoyt said.
However, LaSala thinks that the participants need to do a better job at campaigning for their cause and for raising money.
“Everyone just calls it ‘No Shave November.’ If a guy really was trying to advocate for men’s health, he would call it Movember instead and get his point across,” she said.
But in the end, Silva said that the campaign is continuing to gain popularity.
“I know people might think the mustache is pretty creepy or weird,” he said. “But this campaign has definitely been successful in getting our point across about prostate cancer.”