Why exactly are people forgoing shaving this month, again?
With the first week of November gone, participants of “No-Shave November” are already touting “Movember” as the reason behind their new facial and body hair endeavors. And as much as “No-Shave November” has woven itself into the cultural fabric of our generation, the purpose behind it has long been forgotten. Even I had to remind myself why people participate in “No-Shave November.”
Apart from using the month of November to try out a new facial hair look (or leg hair look for those ladies so inclined), the purpose of No-Shave November has been left behind for bigger and better hair goals. “No Shave November” is a unique way to raise cancer awareness. “What better way to grow awareness than with some hair?” the “No-Shave November” website asks visitors. The goal of No-Shave November is “to grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free,” says the site. “Donate the money you usually spend on shaving and grooming for a month to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle.”
If you look up the hashtag #noshave on Instagram, though, very little of the message put forth by No-Shave November is present. Most of the posts have nothing to do with cancer awareness (there are, of course, people who post links to donation pages and proudly support “Movember” for all it is, but they make up a small minority). Sadly, No-Shave November has become more of a cultural event than a charity cause. People skip out on the razors, shaving cream and other grooming products during November but the real reason for doing so — to raise cancer awareness — is being replaced with a month-long adventure into the depths of hair growth.
Thankfully, there are exceptions. UT’s Interfraternity Council participates in No-Shave November and does a great job raising awareness of the cause behind the name. But as with many things that are driven by social media, the message behind the “No-Shave” lifestyle has gotten lost along the way to stardom.
If you’re participating in “Movember,” more power to you. Don’t forget why you are, though. There’s a difference between growing your hair out and fighting cancer via growing your hair out. If the latter isn’t your goal (and no worries if it isn’t), call your hair experiment something else. “No-Shave November” is a term that has been coined by cancer advocates, including the American Cancer Society. Unless you plan on adhering to the goals set forth on the “No-Shave November” website, name your month of no shaving something else. Or, even better, consider hopping on the cancer-awareness bandwagon.
Berkeley is a Plan II and public relations sophomore from Austin. Follow Berkeley on Twitter @oliviaberkeley.