day 16: ava-gay

“it’s not all about women”

Ava-gay works at a very up-market men’s clothing store. As the only woman working in the store, I was interested to chat with her in this male-dominated environment. I explained I am participating in Movember and she said “are you donating your hair?” At the end of my Master’s thesis on cancer philanthropy I did actually donate my hair. Ava has heard of Movember, but thought it had something to do with donating your hair. Well, the link between Movember and growing hair is there, but the few shards of hair on a man’s upper lip certainly can’t be donated. However, this brings up an important question: what happens when the link between the moustache and the Movember or men’s health is severed?

A male colleague at the store jumps in and shows me a photo of his day-3 mo he was growing for Movember, but was told he needed to shave it for work. A little scruff was acceptable, but the moustache was not allowed. How many men are officially or unofficially barred from participating in Movember because the workplace considers it unacceptable? I am unsure of the legalities of this, but I assume freedom of expression would probably prevail if taken to court.  In fact, the moustache-growing campaign is successful precisely because the moustache is sometimes considered taboo, and not particularly “in-fashion” year-round. The moustache itself as a signifier is complicated, but for this one month of the year it really means something.

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