Movember: facial hair for a worthy cause

Members of the St. Olaf community may have noticed an increase in the number of campus mustaches over the past few weeks. Movember is here once again, the time of year when the world rejoices in the growing of mustaches and other facial hair escapades.

Movember is not only an excuse to grow out that mustache, but it is also first and foremost an attempt to raise awareness of men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and depression. The Movember Foundation charity, founded in 2004, sponsors events in order to raise funds for the cause, and many students have put the time and effort into growing that perfect mustache all for the sake of men’s health.

The hope is that this movement will increase the detection of many male health issues, and inspire men to take preventative measures against these conditions. The Movember Foundation has raised over $174 million thus far in November.

From the thin, refined English mustache, to the thick “Ron Swanson” version, there are many different styles to choose from. As usual, the hockey team has had no trouble growing an impressive array of facial hair and continues to impress mustache aficionados throughout the area with an assortment of Minnesota-inspired facial hair variations.

There are many different motivations for facial hair growth within the Movember movement. Ian Sutherland ’18, a potential mustache aficionado, said that in addiion to growing facial hair for the Movember cause,

“I want to see just how far my beard-slash-moustache can get. I am looking to perfect the mountain man beard-slash-moustache. When not unkempt, I’m looking for a neater ‘Iron and Wine’ kind of thing. I like the way full beards look, and I want to have it on my face.”

While raising money for the movement is certainly a motivation, many men see Movember as a challenge and as a point of personal pride. Zach Greimann ’15 has been an enthusiastic participant in Movember.

“I’m mostly growing out a mustache for Movember because I really like mustaches. Movember is a good chance to see where my own mustache-growing abilities are at, appreciate the progress I’ve made from last year, and have a mustache for a while,” he said.

Movember has evolved to become a competition among those who consider themselves capable of sporting a mustache. Although the growing is fun, the event has become similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge in that some participants ignore the movement’s true purpose. Greimann expressed some concern about Movember’s newfound popularity.

“Unfortunately, while I support the ideal behind Movember, I don’t think I can really talk about why it’s important for people to participate because for me it’s kind of like Christmas – it’s not really about the principle. I think that’s sad, but for me and for some other people that I know, Movember is the most socially acceptable opportunity to try our best and grow facial hair,” he said. No matter the motivation, the popularity of the Movember movement is undeniable.

The sheer number of mustaches seen on campus is outstanding, and would be enough to make the Movember Foundation proud. Facial hair is a constant in human society, and has brought men – and women intrigued by facial hair – together to celebrate the wonders and joys brought to the world by mustaches. Whether they are grown for the sake of the foundation or simply for the look, mustaches are clearly a blessing to this campus, and not only look good, but also makes the Hill that much more cozy and inviting.