Pardon if we’re a few days late with this — there was that whole election to deal with. But since November 1, we’ve been in a month also known as “Movember,” created by an actual organization known as the Movember Foundation, which has existed worldwide since 2004. Their cause, a/k/a Movember, is all about getting guys to grow mustaches to “change the appearance and the face of men’s health.”
Per their website,
The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men. Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.
Funds raised benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG. Last year, they raised $42 million.
(Sensitive-skinned individuals: Plan to be “busy” the last weekend in November.)
But more important and eerie than Movember itself is this: This marks but one effort in a series of movements to support a growth in men’s facial hair — beyond a simple mustache. In fact, since the late ’70s, at which point that commemorative family photo including our dad with a beard and a mustache and a velour orange shirt was taken, we haven’t seen such a pro-facial-hair agenda — from groomed stashes to Jimmy McMillan handlebars to full-blown beards (there’s also Beardvember) — actively inflicted upon the people of this fair, previously clean-shaven nation.
But why? Some digging uncovered these clues:
“Five years ago, if you had a beard, it meant you were either on vacation or you didn’t have a very good job,” says Brian Boyé, the fashion and grooming director at Men’s Health magazine. “But now facial hair is nearly universally accepted.”
Even with — gasp — guys in finance. There you go, then. First person to Photoshop a beard onto Lloyd Blankfein’s face and send it to us wins our eternal praises, and a month’s supply of Schicks (which would be zero, for those of you who are growing out facial hair).
Full disclosure: We are open supporters of men with beards, and men without beards. And if you want to grow a beard, or a mustache, it seems the time is nigh. But we (and the single ladies we know) don’t like a chafed face, so wherever you are in the Movember movement, please…be gentle, Mr. KissyBear.
As for female facial hair…no such strides have yet been reported. These things take time.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 3, 2010