Exeter, Devon UK • Jun 14, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home LifestyleCulture Movember and The Importance of Men’s Health

Movember and The Importance of Men’s Health

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From Borat and Ron Burgundy to Friedrich Nietzsche and Albert Einstein, the moustache is a distinguishing feature of those men who choose to wear them. Stoptober and Dry January are amongst the plethora of month-long challenges, but Movember stands out from the rest with its charitable intentions. With the risk of looking less like Arthur Shelby, and more like Michael Cera, the absurdity of the event has garnered controversy and provoked mockery. For example, in 2007 several students were banned from prize giving at New Zealand’s Scots College for their participation. However, it is the importance of the cause which trumps its risibility; first founded in a Melbourne pub in 2003, the Movember Foundation raised nothing their first year, and £32,000 the next. Today, they have raised over £400 million for male health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues.

Cancer Research UK reports that amongst males, prostate cancer is the most common type, but around 4 in 10 are diagnosed at a late stage in England, rising to 6 in 10 in Scotland. There is an average of 31 deaths every day, and whilst 84% survive for ten years or more, its symptoms are  both debilitating and emasculating. Issues relating to raising awareness of men’s rights are often wrongly perceived in opposition to feminism, but the enormity of the issue highlights the necessity to address it. Whilst Samaritans notes that the male suicide rate is the lowest in over thirty years, men are still three times more likely than women to take their own lives. It is often theorised that the discrepancy is linked to the stereotypical image of masculinity, as the demands of strength and stoicism make it harder to reach out for support. The Men’s Health Forum further notes that three-quarters of premature deaths from heart disease are male, two-thirds of men are overweight or obese, and four out of every five suicides are male. This can be linked to their higher likelihood to smoke and drink to dangerous levels, which illustrates the dangers of heavy indulgence in drinking culture. Indeed, turning to drugs as a form of escapism is often easier than seeking therapy, and this not only affects physical wellbeing, but acts only as a transitory solution. In the words of Oasis in their 1994 album Definitely Maybe, “it’s a crazy situation, but all I need are cigarettes and alcohol”, but fundamentally, this can never wholly solve issues of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.

The next time you see a moustachioed face on campus, alongside the inevitable amusement from its sheer farcicality, the necessity of raising money for men’s health should not go unforgotten. With over 5 million supporters across the world, Movember has funded more than 1,200 projects in 20 countries, and you can donate, or participate, at uk.movember.com. Through this, when we look at the suffering caused by gender stereotypes and expectations, hopefully we can begin to recognise that the hegemony of the alpha male lifestyle has significantly affected male health alongside its harm on society as whole.

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