Surely, you’ve noticed the mustachioed men (and women and children and pets and cars and coffee mugs and fingernails and …). You probably know what that’s about. If you don’t, here’s some info about Movember. (I particularly recommend browsing member-submitted photos.)
Mr. Heddad of The McGill Daily wrote a persuasive piece on the nature of Movember as microaggression. Heddad writes:
The pure and charitable sentiment is there – raising money for prostate and testicular cancer research, and fighting mental health problems among men – but what once started out as a harmless campaign has become sexist, racist, transphobic, and misinformed.
DAD responded by explaining why “everybody needs to chill the fu*k out!”
I think there’s a happy medium to be found. Here was my response in an online bloggers’ group…
In an effort to try to see it from Heddad’s core perspective, I’m asking myself why I didn’t participate in Movember.
For most of the year, I wear a beard. Sometimes I don’t. I don’t like to be identified by my beard or my masculinity. So, while it wasn’t a conscious decision NOT to participate in Movember, there was most likely an underlying sense of not wanting to do so because part of me resents being identified by my ability to grow facial hair.
All of that said, I’m not personally hurt over it. I would never think that someone else shouldn’t do what feels good to them in an effort to bring some “awesome” into this sick world. We all have our issues and buttons, but we cannot be so sensitive that we stop doing good to accommodate the 10% (or less) who don’t like the way the good is being done.
It seems to me that Mr. Heddad made too big of a deal out of something that was simply worth mentioning as food for thought. Had he done just that, it could have spawned a really constructive conversation. Instead, it divided people.
My purpose isn’t to critique the article in its entirety–note that I didn’t even get into the whole “racist” issue–but to try to put forth a voice of reason.
I’ll be honest; I sometimes feel marginalized or even left out of certain initiatives or big conversations because I’m a man. Am I hurt by that? Sure, a little. Does that mean I can’t find another way to contribute to something I believe in? Absolutely not.
So let’s keep things in perspective. Movember is about male (sex) health, not necessarily male (gender) health. And there are plenty of other ways to support the cause. (I’ll add “writing a blog post” to the list.)
And remember, we’re not so different as we are alike. The differences make us interesting while the commonalities bond us together. I condone acknowledging and embracing differences over trying to make everything so palatable that it’s unoffensive to everyone.
My appreciation goes to everyone who has supported and continues to support wellness and awareness. ❤
[Tip of hat to Nerd Incognito for also bringing up some excellent points in our online discussion.]