It's time for men to stand up for men

It's time for men to stand up for men. Photo | Photosearch

What you need to know:

  • The best take-out from the Movember month men’s health campaign is the impact that men can have when they come together
  • I hear men talking about "the neglect of the boy child", and this is a chance for men to be actively involved in projects that they feel would help other men

Google photos can be your best friend when it reminds you of those beautiful times you had forgotten, which bring a smile to your face. You will break into a chuckle, a loud laugh, or a vigorous head nod as you look back at the memories. It can also be a terrible thing when it reminds you of that photoshoot you had with your ex, the two-timing backstabbing person you used to call your friend, or as my case, when it reminds me of that time last year when I lay butt naked, cheeks spread dressed in nothing but a light gown, as another man prodded my innards. Calm down people, it was consensual and legal. It's even encouraged by medical practitioners worldwide and celebrated too. So what was up with me? I was having a prostate exam. 

This year, though I will be having my pants on. At least, for now. There is a juicy story to the whole prostate campaign now dubbed Movember. This tale is about $911 million and 1,250 projects that you too can be part of. It starts with an afternoon sit-down between two friends (Travis Garone and Luke Slattery) at Melbourne, Australia over a beer at a Gypsy Bar in Fitzroy (no good story starts with water or milk). As the afternoon wears on, on this day in 2003, the two mates banter and jokingly talk about bringing back the moustache.

All they needed was a way to make it go viral. Inspired by a friend's mom who was fundraising for breast cancer, they decided to base their campaign on men's health and prostate cancer. They charged ten dollars to grow the moustache and convinced 30 of their friends to join in the cause. It was so successful that they decided to formalise it, as the Movember Foundation. The next year they decided to focus on prostate cancer. They focused on the November Moustache growing month, thus "Movember" and they started recruiting more men to the movement who they called "Mo Bros". Eventually women wanted to jump onto the train and they were added on as "Mo Sistas." Based on research in Australia into men's health, they also added mental health as a focus area and in 2007, they went international and this is how the Movember movement was born and has now attracted funding worth over $911M with 1,250 projects getting supported. This should make for a cool story the next time you're having a pint, yes? It's almost as cool a fact, as one on the gin spirit marketing origin, about it being sold in pharmacies in the 17th century in Holland before it went mainstream.

The best take-out from this story is the impact that men can have when they come together. I hear men talking about "the neglect of the boy child" which is a discussion for another day, but this is a chance for men to be actively involved in projects that they feel would help other men. It could be anything and it doesn't even have to cost much. A friend of mine, Eric Onyango (rixpoet on Twitter) has a support group for men who have been sexually abused. He's putting his money and his time where his mouth is and he's one of the many amazing men out there working towards the change they're talking about.

You could be passionate about anything. You might be bothered by the fact that young men don't know much about their culture, history, or language so you form a Kiama and start filling that gap. You may note that they're not enough scholarships for young boys to pursue their education, so why not form a group which sends at least one boy or two to high school. 

Are you troubled about young men not being well prepared for the workplace? Pick one or two and mentor them. Teach them lessons like one that no one oriented me to, on why it's a bad idea to send your cover letter and CV in the body of an email when applying for a job. Teach them why it's important not to tell their boss that they didn't come to work because they lacked a place to go to. If you think young boys lack better role models, you can be that mentor to that boy as you give them the guidance that you never had.

What I'm trying to say is that beyond keeping your beard and following the Movember rules of brotherhood, I would like to challenge you to do something for your fellow men, beyond buying them a drink and helping lie to their spouse that they're with them while they're really at their side chick's place. We may be just at the tail end but there's still time to start something. Something different and touching. It's time for Men to stand up for men.

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