Most of us know No Shave November or Movember as a campaign to raise awareness around cancer, especially prostate and testicular cancer. To show their support to raise funds for the medical cause, men around the world grow their beards and moustaches during the month of November with the view of donating the money the would otherwise spend on grooming their facial hair to the patients who have lost their hair as part of their cancer treatment.
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But this campaign was started as recently as 2004, while the concept of Movember finds its roots as far back as the mid-19th century. But how? Interestingly, the the reason for Movember is intricately linked with what is going on in the US right now – voting for the next US President.
As many first-time, well-groomed Americans rush out to vote for their candidate – currently Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are pretty much neck to neck – many won’t know that there was a time when bushy beards could have earned them their right to vote! According to Time, these ‘virgin voters’, also called “twenty-onesters” (since the voting age at the time was 21), would grow ‘facial foliage’, what we know as beards and moustaches to prove that they were adults and not ‘beardless boys’.
These young men would dress in their finery, spending much of the lead-up to voting day growing their beards and moustaches as much as they could. Even on voting day, these young guns would spend hours primping themselves to go and cast their vote with style. Another fallout of this was also that the men would use their adult-looking beards to as a justification to get drunk for the first time as well!
All this is explained in a fascinating video put out by Time. Watch the video here:
According to some, another social message that men were sending by growing their beards during election month was to send out a message to women, saying ‘let this beard be a reminder that not everyone gets to vote’. Thankfully, in 1920, American women were given the right to vote, and now in 2016, the country might very well get its first female president. Who knows!