Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Movember and a Lack of Awareness

This is the second year I have participated in Movember. If you don't know what it is then check it out here. Basically men grow a mustache during the month of November to raise awareness for men's health issues, like prostate cancer. I feel strongly about men getting checked for prostate cancer and my growing a mustache is just a thing I do to help raise awareness. And yes, growing a mustache doesn't do much other than make a statement, so I'm not a huge pioneer and realize this. Let me clear up two things about my mustache.

1. I can't really grow a mustache. I can, but it goes slowly and I don't get a sufficient amount of hair in the middle (about 1/3 of an inch is what I have trouble growing) of the mustache, so I look like I am growing the world's laziest pornstache. So I grow a beard for a few weeks and then the plan is to shave it into a mustache.

2. Last year I participated in Movember and then because I got so many smart-ass comments and questions about my beard I just shaved it after two weeks because I was fed up with the questions and comments. As you can probably tell, people wear me down after a while, plus my face got itchy.

This year I am not doing that and I don't give a shit what people say about my facial hair. Oh, and people are saying things. Therein lies my problem.

Men's health issues aren't as cool and fun to talk about as women's health issues. It's fun to make up a play on words about a woman's boobs to support breast cancer research, because women love their boobs (for the most part) and men love their boobs. It's a fan favorite. Cancer of the ass and cancer of the balls is funny. It sounds funny, and while it isn't really funny, it's hard to get people behind an effort to save a man's prostate. It's just not sexy. Football players won't wear a special color to support prostate cancer and you won't see "Save a man's prostate" bumper sticker when driving along the road.

So there is an overwhelming lack of awareness about Movember and I understand that. So I shouldn't be bothered by the comments about my facial hair and when someone makes a smart comment to me I tell them to do a search for Movember. Of course no one will, but that's okay, I tried. It's November 6th and I have gotten several smart-ass comments about "forgetting my razor" and someone even told me my facial hair looked "disgusting." Definitely not a compliment to me, but I don't care how I look. That's the point, right?

It bothers me though, this lack of awareness. I know those who are making comments to me don't know, but would they say someone who shaves their head to support a family member with cancer looked "silly" or "like Lex Luthor"? I guess not knowing the context it is possible someone would, but even when I tell them why I am choosing to have facial hair there is a noticeable lack of caring or apology for their comment. By the way, most of the comments so far have been from women...for what that's worth. I would imagine the same women would be pretty fucking pissed off at me if I told them their pink ribbons looked stupid during the month of October. But that's okay because men's health issues are funny and there is a lack of awareness that results in these comments.

I've written this before, but every male on my dad's side of the family has gotten prostate cancer. My grandfather, two of my uncles, and my father. I will probably get it and my son will probably get it. Oh, and my dad and one of my uncles had the severe kind you always hear doctors and medical journals say is so rare. Good times for everyone. I can't wait to have that conversation with my son about based on the small sample size of our family history either he or I will get the same aggressive form of prostate cancer that killed the grandfather he never met. I'm losing my point. My point is that I can't be the only one who has such a family history and it makes me upset that there is this lack of awareness about men's health issues. Awareness of men's health issues, and especially prostate cancer, should be something everyone worries about, just like everyone worries about sufficient funding for breast cancer research.

I waver between getting angry about the comments and being angry about the lack of awareness. Sometimes if someone is growing a beard, shaving their head or going with a dramatic physical look maybe it's best to just keep your fucking mouth shut, because you don't know why they do it. Who would tell someone, even a co-worker, their beard looks "disgusting" though? Would it be okay if I told a co-worker her new haircut "made her look like a dyke" or the few pounds she has gained "has really fattened her face up"? I would be marched up to Human Resources and get to have a conversation I didn't want to have if I made those comments. So even if a person didn't know what my beard was for, it's probably not best to comment on my appearance.

Regardless, I am probably too sensitive to this issue, but the complete lack of caring when I explain what the beard is for also gets me annoyed. I was mildly chastised in October for not wearing pink on a certain day that I was supposed to wear pink but wasn't aware of this. I told the two people who chastised me if they grew a beard in Movember I would wear pink for an entire week in October. Of course one person was a woman, so that probably wasn't the best suggestion. Still, I'm supposed to fully participate in creating awareness for another form of cancer but I can't even get a response other than "Oh" when I explain why I forgot my razor. Such is life and the state of Movember. I hope this changes over time.

1 comment:

  1. I can't really grow a mustache. I can, but it goes slowly and I don't get a sufficient