Sunday, 4 November 2012

Why I Dislike 'Movember'

I can sense your bile already. "WHAT HE DOESN'T LIKE MOVEMBER WHAT A DICKWAD I BET HE GETS AN ERECTION FOR PROSTATE CANCER" etcetera. Well, yes, sadly I do not tolerate Movember much. Far from being, say, a month celebration of Mo Farrah (which would be infinitely more entertaining) Movember somehow aims to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research charities by having men eschew shaving for a month, and deal with the humiliation that comes from having a wispy paedo moustache that follows. Now aside from despising facial hair and all who sail in her, what really confuses me is how this is meant to raise awareness, or indeed any money for charity. Are you meant to sponsor the erstwhile fool to grow facial hair? Are you to dye the follicles of your moustache so they show the details of the nearest prostate screening facility? It's as though somehow the idea for this spawned one night in a drunken, philanthropic hullabaloo whereby they scrawled the formula down 'Moustaches + Prostate Cancer + ? =Money for Charity.' Obviously this bizarre facial hair alchemy works, as last year alone they raised around £79 million pounds worldwide according to their website. Their website also offers no real explanation how this money is raised. Just vague whimsies about "throwing moustache parties." They do of course have a donate button on their website linking them to prostate charities but I highly doubt this is the main impetus for their grand total of 79 million.
So as much as this confuses me and enrages me, something, no matter how bizarre or shady must be working in order to show for this massive amount of money. So I suppose that must be good. But for every one moustachio'd do-gooder, I will bet you there will be 10 moustachio'd cretins who just accumulate their whiskers over the course of the month, share some no doubt hilarious photos on Facebook, then have a shave come December the first. This is the main crux of my problem with Movember really. Silly things are a great way to raise money for charity, in fact they're a much better way than to just dourly demand money, but the thing is you have to make sure the actual charity part doesn't just get lost in a load of populist bullshit. This trend towards 'slacktivism' is disheartening. Sure you may grow a moustache somehow in aid of prostate cancer research, sure it may make you have a warm fuzzy feeling inside, but will it actually do anything? Of course fucking not. It doesn't spread awareness to other people, it doesn't help anyone, it just leaves you with a stupid moustache at an epoch in our civilization where they are only worn by maths teachers, hipsters, and adolescents straining to look older than they actually are. Hell, I've been putting up with 'Movember' for about three or four years now and I only learnt yesterday that it was actually a charity-related event. As I said, the message always gets lost when you deal with this social network-spread, populist nonsense. Another great example would be last year, when everyone changed their Facebook profile pictures to that of a cartoon character "to stop child abuse." I know I did. But how did this "stop child abuse"? If it did mean some people donated to the NSPCC or Childline, I think the results would be negligible. It didn't really raise awareness anyway. Any media or social network attention was more drawn to the fact that a million and one sillies, including me, now had Dangermouse or Top Cat as a profile picture, with the "stop child abuse" thing lingering in the background. And whilst Movember arguably is a more successful venture than that whole shoddy enterprise, to me it still smacks of lazy, male slacktivism that doesn't really accomplish anything. Moustaches now have merely become flash-card like symbols for 'popular stuff we can put on a load of t-shirts and merchandise without any real thought' like bacon, or the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' sign. And that's just what this, a vaguely charity related tie-in into something that has become part of the pop-culture lexicon and something that a stack of cash can be made from, though not just for charity (as the adverts for Gilette abounding on the Movember site show.) Of course, I may be just jealous of this whole enterprise anyway seeing as I can't grow a moustache, but only end up with a bizarre neck-beard type thing upon a lack of shaving. It's probably just that.