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Voices from the field

Movember in Israel

By Naomi Brown

November is the month of the mustache. While many causes have been assigned a month – Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, Black History month in February – men around the world are claiming November as their own.

While you may have noticed mustaches growing on American boys and men, these mustaches are also sprouting up in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Designed as a way to raise awareness for men’s health, Movember is a month-long event where men resist the urge to shave and unite through their mustaches to raise awareness for men’s health.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Danny Brill who not only participates in the event by growing a mustache for the entire month of November, but who also works to promote Movember in Israel throughout the year. He explained that the concept for Movember began while sitting around an Australian pub. One man told his three friends that he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Overcome with the desire to help their sick friend, the three men decided to seek out friends and organizations to sponsor them to grow a mustache for the entire month of November. As a result of their success in raising money, these four friends launched Movember as a way to encourage people throughout the world to support men’s health.

 

While growing a mustache may seem like a meaningless gesture, Movember has become a world-wide phenomenon raising money for prostate cancer and men’s health and sparking countless conversations, discussions, and connections.  

Danny told me that while at a job interview during Movember last year, he noticed that the interviewer was looking strangely at his mustache. When Danny explained why he was growing his mustache, the interviewer told him about his close friend who was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Danny and the interviewer spent the rest of the time exchanging stories and talking about men’s health.

Movember is clearly about much more than a mustache. It is about sparking a world-wide conversation about an important social cause. It provides a humorous way for people to talk about big issues. While pink ribbons raise awareness about breast cancer, thanks to the four friends who started Movember, November is now a month that uses mustaches to spark conversation about men’s health. Movember has helped me realize the importance of initiating conversations and how social advocacy can come in all different forms. Whether we use a ribbon, a mustache, a t-shirt, or a bumper sticker, what’s important is that we create space for people to share their stories and discuss their causes. I am proud that the United States and Israel have both taken the lead in creating these spaces that provoke conversation and, in turn, raise awareness. I am confident that this will create stronger and more socially conscious communities.