If it were true that we were unintentionally sabotaging our own efforts by promoting unhelpful stereotypes of what a man should be, then that would be terrible.
However, I can’t help feeling that this notion is off the mark. Moustaches have fallen in and out of fashion for centuries.
And while it’s true that being able to grow a bit of facial fuzz on your top lip has sometimes been considered a symbol of virility and “manliness”, there is no escaping the fact that they can also look funny. And occasionally ridiculous.
In this instance, that’s the point.
Millions of conversations about men’s health have been started between men because one of them has suddenly sprouted a mo.
Whether it’s a bushy Tom Selleck affair or something a bit more modest and patchy (like my own), growing a moustache for 30 days – turns the wearer into a walking, talking billboard. It spreads the message that men need to start taking care of themselves and each other.
Far from being a competition to grow the most macho moustache, the ones we tend to celebrate the most are the ones that have taken the most effort to grow.
This year our ambassadors come from an array of backgrounds and facial hair-growing capabilities. Jono Coleman, Brendan Jones and Adam Tomlinson all struggle to grow a Mo – but they are at the front of our campaign.
We have been actively supported by many men who cannot grow moustaches because of hormone treatment for prostate cancer.
And if growing a Mo isn’t your thing, that’s fine too. There are plenty of other ways to support our mission to ensure that men get to have longer healthier lives.
Cabaret performer Dolly Diamond who is supporting us as a Mo Sista has also joined us this year. She chose to get involved by participating in a Move challenge, but had she wanted to grow a Mo that would have been embraced as well.
We have also been very actively supported over the years by many men who cannot grow moustaches because of the hormone treatment that they are having for prostate cancer.
We’ve always known that humour and banter is a vital way of reaching men. It eases them into having the real shoulder-to-shoulder conversations that could end up saving their lives.
There are no hidden gender politics in supporting Movember – it’s just men (and women) getting together to raise funds and spread the word that men are dying too young and something must be done to stop it happening.
Remember, your moustache is no reflection of how “manly” you are, just how hairy you are
Owen Sharp is CEO of the Movember Foundation