By Safa Gangat
November has finally paved its way here, and so have conversations about Men’s mental health issues. The global Movember Foundation has worked towards successfully shining a light on the issue of men’s physical and mental health, and igniting aplenty meaningful conversations.
Not only has the foundation generated an awareness but also raised donations on a large scale to fund research on men’s health related issues such as prostate and testicular cancer. The foundation has even steered the conversation towards mental health, an issue the social construction of ‘hypermasculinity’ has stayed away from.
Statistics Canada notes: “The much higher rate of male suicide is a long-term pattern in Canada. At all points in time over the past 60 years, males have had higher rates of suicide than females”.
However, branding a month for a social cause such MOVEMBER might keep the conversation restricted to only one time of the year. An issue like this is year round.
“I think the advertisements for Movember gets people involved and they’re not just targeted at those impacted by the health issues such as prostate cancer. Just as the cause for breast cancer awareness is so widespread and popular, this should be too.” says Christina Boz, a York University student.
The fact remains that commercialization of social causes such as breast cancer and prostate cancer seems to be the backbone of fundraising for research and raising awareness for health problems that affect thousands everyday. And they definitely need more attention.
Commercializing For a Good Cause
The Movember Canada foundation has led to mass production of moustache inspired clothes and accessories around Toronto, as well as growing moustaches to advertise: “Hey! I support the Movember cause”. However, the image of the moustache as the brand image for Movember might be working more for a commercial purpose but is that a negative aspect?
Support at Universities
The York University Student Centre is organizing a Movember barbershop on campus in hopes of extending a service to students on campus while supporting a good cause simultaneously. The event has local barbers come in and only charge $5 per pop with all the proceedings going to the Movember Foundation Canada. The event has had a good turnout previously, welcoming not just males to the barbershop for a quick trim, fades, and undercuts.
Move From Commercialization
It seems the Movember foundation is attempting to move away from the commercialized moustache image and work towards a way to promote the research for men’s health the ‘healthy’ way. The foundation has launched a new campaign this year called “Move for Movember” that promotes exercise coupled with targeting better mental health enabling “Move for Movember” participants to help raise funds for research at the same time.
Movember Canada has done more than focusing on men’s physical health by drawing attention to their mental well-being and including families in the conversation. The Move for Movember campaign being one that invites everyone to participate. It makes makes people say: ‘Yes, I’m a survivor and so is my family.’
Although donations are down recently, Mitch Hermansen, Business Development Director - Movember Canada told CBC that the foundation is still making an impact for men’s health with 55,000 Canadians participating last year.
Having a campaign that focuses on physical participation rather than just growing a moustache allows every gender to get involved at a larger scale for a cause everyone should be concerned with; commercialization people can get behind.