Pete Bombaci here, Country Director for Movember Canada. Iíve read the above and I want to clarify many of the inaccurate points written about Movember here.
You say that ďwhat once started out as a harmless campaign has become sexist, racist, transphobic, and misinformed.Ē This is simply not true.
As you admit in your article, Movember isnít just about raising money. Itís about having conversations. The magic of Movember is that it can unite different people from all sorts of socio-economic backgrounds under one flag: menís health. You donít have to be rich to wear a Mo, and you donít have to be cool to change the world.
Thanks to our amazing Mo Bros and Mo Sistas, we are changing the world, and that includes changing standard definitions of masculinity. Movember isnít about men being super tough or butch, though many Mo Bros and some of our Mo Sistas are so. Movember isnít about growing the biggest, butchest, moustache. Itís about growing the best Mo you can personally grow. Itís about personal bests, about getting engaged in men's health, about knowing yourself and taking care of yourself and your communities.
The Movember community is a global one that cuts across race, class and gender because cancer and mental health illness cuts across race, class, and gender. The idea that white cisgendered men shouldnít raise funds for prostate cancer because they arenít the ones most affected by it is antithetical to Movember vision. Making sure our fathers, brothers, uncles, lovers, friends, neighbours, coworkers feel safer being vulnerable talking about and taking care of their health, their bodies, and their mental health can only make life better for ALL OF US.
Some folks might argue that Movember isnít a space for transpeople. This only speaks to the stigma and lack of understanding that transpeople face on a daily basis. We are well aware that some Mo Bros donít have prostates. Whether itís because a Mo Broís cancer treatment required the removal of his prostate, or whether he simply wasnít born with one, we donít discriminate against our Mo Bros for not having a prostate. For us, the truest mark of a Mo Bro is his willingness to change the world. The only binary we recognize is Movember and the rest of the year.
To your claim that Movember is sexist, I would say that Movember was and continues to be inspired by womenís health movements. Beyond that, women are a vital part of Movember as team leaders, teammates, and supporters. Women are substantial fundraisers. Women are, traditionally, the gatekeepers of family health and can be experts at one of our main goals: getting conversations about male health going. SinceMovember is about moustaches, we donít typically encourage women to grow outtheir leg or armpit hair, though weíll never turn down a nicely styled Mo,regardless of who wears it. We have one Mo Sista this year from Ottawa who is sporting a Mo every day for the entire month of Movember. Who would dream of trying to squash that kind of determination?
An important face to note here is that you represent Movember as No Shave November. Taking comments from No Shave November participants and portraying them as the opinions of our Mo Bros and Mo Sistas is inaccurate and disingenuous. Movember is not No Shave November and No Shave November is not Movember.
Movember suggests that folks show solidarity with each other by joining the Movember journey, in whatever form that looks like for you: go to a MOVE event; talk to your friends about their health, grow a Mo, or if you canít, donít. However, the Mo will always be our King because ultimately, our awareness program is powered by the growth of a new moustache and the obvious question that follows Ė why the moustache? Because our community members want an explanation for our change in appearance, a new Mo, those with Moís arm themselves with knowledge, provided by Movember, about menís health. The conversations started as a result of
the moustache help to educate, breakdown stigmas, and ultimately change
behaviour. From this program we know that 90% of Movember
participants spend time thinking about improving their health, 75% discussed their health with family, friends or colleagues during Movember, and 66% of participants have had a recent general check-up. Globally in 2012 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas started 2.7 billion conversations about men's health and Movember. We know that pairing this program with funding of world class men's health research and programs helping men live with and beyond cancer and mental illness will help to truly change the face of men's health.
You have also misrepresented our recommendation on PSA testing. Movember suggests: Men should talk to their doctor about prostate cancer testing. There are advantages and disadvantages to PSA testing. Understand the prostate cancer risk factors, discuss these with your doctor and decide if prostate cancer testing is right for you. You can find this here - http://ca.movember.com/mens-he
also find a tool about the PROS and CONS of testing that we developed with the Societe internationale du urology. As Movember has grown we have worked with medical professionals to evolve our menís health information and the materials available on Movember.com have been approved by national and international experts in the field.
It's honestly disappointing to see Movember misrepresented in
this way Movember. McGill continues to be one of the top supporting teams
and the University has been an integral part of Movember funded research in Canada and on an international basis. Weíre very proud of the community there and the work they have done. To date Mo Bros and Mo Sistas in Canada have raised an astonishing $13.5 Million for mental health.
If you would like more information about Movember and or would like to talk through some of this you can call 1-855-4GROWMO and ask for Mo Bro Pete.