For about a decade, men across the globe have forgone shaving in November to raise awareness about men’s health issues, from prostate cancer to male suicide.
The tradition had a good run, but now, suddenly, No-Shave November (also known as Movember) is apparently problematic.
Social-justice warriors worldwide have rushed to point out how the month-long event, regardless of its good intentions, is too gendered. In a nearly unintelligible sentence published by Sydney’s Daily Telegraph this month, one critic wrote: “It’s disappointing that what could’ve served as a much-needed dialogue about the many ways in which men, trans men included, can express their masculinity without resorting to chauvinist caricatures is in danger of devolving into at best a pissing contest between bros about who can grow the most facial hair to prove their manliness and at worst an implicit endorsement of 1950s-style gender norms, complete with transphobia.”
Other critics have argued that No-Shave November perpetuates “toxic masculinity” by imposing a one-size-fits-all definition about what it looks like, and means, to be a man.
"feminism fights for men too"
"movember is just a campaign to celebrate masculinity" pic.twitter.com/5hSzmWTQk3
— Panda (@DrtyHippiePanda) November 4, 2016
For instance, SJWs really hate stuff like this.
— Esquire Network (@EsquireNetwork) November 19, 2016
“Movember irritates me because it’s not so much about cancer awareness as masculinity awareness. … Movember says that we protect men by celebrating masculinity. And that’s ridiculous,” wrote Jacob Brogan in Slate last November.
Movember has also received criticism from feminists, who say it’s not inclusive to women.
“Society views male body hair as natural—but the same cannot be said of women,” complains Jessica Bansbach in a SUNY student newspaper. “When women join No-Shave, they are often met with disgust from the people in their lives, males and females alike.”
Some women are participating anyway, growing out armpit and leg hair.
— Ruby Rapture (@RubyRapture) November 21, 2016
no shave november, keep your gender roles far away from me I'm joining in
— abbie j (@abbiefairchild) November 2, 2016
also during this no shave november pls remember that anyone of any gender can participate not just men
— mallow (@coolpatroI) November 2, 2016
— Megan Lawrence (@Megancookies5) November 16, 2016
If you thought this might make a great thesis for a grad student… you’re both correct and a little behind the curve.
Take this satire-proof academic paper, entitled “Mo Bros: Masculinity, Irony and the Rise of Movember,” which centers around two ideas: “brand(ed) activism and ironic masculinity—to conceptualize how Movember enables problematic understandings of gender and philanthropy while constraining the space for politicized discussions about health and masculinity.”
(The dissertation also “explore[s] the relationship of Movember to the broader cultural trends including shaving and grooming rituals, hipster culture, kitsch and retro commodities, the politics of selfies, and hockey’s playoff beard.”)
… More like No-Fun November.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.