The ideal month to grow a mustache is here: Movember.
The days are getting shorter, but beards are growing longer. Southern Miss students and alumni are participating in No-Shave November by committing to grow their hair, mustache, or beard out for the entire month.
No-Shave November was originally a 2003 Australian campaign in which a group of 30 men grew their mustaches for 30 days to raise awareness for cancer and depression in men. The campaign became known as Movember.
The Movember Foundation raised nearly $21 million in 2013 and now campaigns in 21 countries.
USM alumnus Jules Peralta said he shaved his face completely clean to start the tradition off.
“Because people see me with a beard all year long, it grabs attention more than if I just didn’t trim my beard,” he said. “But during the month I let it just grow out.
So it’s a good backwards way of bringing attention to the reason I’m doing it. But it works. People ask. And I tell them about No-Shave November.”
The purpose of No-Shave November is to grow facial hair, a mustache or beard for charity in a commitment to raise awareness about men’s health. The main topics the organization focuses on are prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and physical well-being.
“I usually bring up prostate cancer and general health because people should be aware and get checked up at some point,” Peralta said. “Most young people feel invincible, and we ignore the small signs or just wait until it’s too late. So it never hurts to check.”
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancers in the United States with an estimated 233,000 new cases in 2014, according to the National Cancer Institute. Prostate cancer accounts for 14 percent of all new cancer diagnoses.
According to the No-Shave November website, No-Shave November is a web-based non- profit organization dedicated to spreading awareness on cancer and other health issues and raising funds to support cancer research, prevention and education. Since the beginning of the organization’s partnership with the American Cancer Society in 2013, No-Shave November has contributed $1,400,000.
Participants are encouraged to donate the money they would spend on shaving and grooming to the organization, which helps educate about cancer prevention, save lives and help those with cancer. The movement’s website says any kind of participation is accepted and encouraged, whether the participant would like to groom or trim his growing mustache.
The website greets its potential participants by welcoming both genders to the movement.
“Welcome to the home of the great annual event called ‘No-Shave-November’ where guys and girls alike unite in the height of laziness agreeing to not shave their beards or legs (respectively) for the entire month of November.”
“If a woman chooses not to shave for a month, who am I to judge her for that?” said political science graduate student and Movember participant Jonathan Dennis.
Peralta said he respects women who choose to participate in the male-dominated movement.
“I’m sure they don’t mind the warmth during the winter, or the freedom of expression it can bring,” Peralta said. “Anyone willing to spread awareness in any way should feel comfortable to. I support women participating or, heck, anyone participating to spread awareness.”
The organization encourages growing a beard, mustache, avoiding shaving the legs or arms, skipping waxing appointments and any other way to avoid hair removal.
Peralta said there can be drawbacks to maintaining growing facial hair for a whole month, including a one’s potential inability to even grow a beard.
“Especially because not everyone has a beautiful beard without it being trimmed or maintained,” Peralta said. “Still, there are others who have trouble just growing facial hair. Most people look down on not well-groomed facial hair, so we can get disapproving looks sometimes. Besides the obvious benefit of spreading the cause is the natural wind barrier that is created.”