Movember, or the month formerly known as November, is when men worldwide grow their moustaches for 30 days to raise awareness of men’s health and funds for prostate cancer research. “To Change the Face of Men’s Health,” has been Movember’s motto from the outset. From its modest 30 members and no money raised in the first year to 1.1 million members and $140.3 million raised in 2012, it’s all courtesy of facial fuzz sprouted in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US.
Movember is a global phenomenon ranked in the top 100 best non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the world by the Global Journal based on three key main criteria: impact, innovation and sustainability. To put that in context, there are an estimated 5 million NGOs around the world. What’s On looks at whether it could happen in Ukraine.
Today, only hipsters and women who have given up wear moustaches. The lip hair has become a laughable fashion statement; however, the Brillo Pad lip has a long and storied past dating back to prehistoric times. With moustaches and beards in abundance in on the streets of Kyiv and a long proud history of sporting facial hair, we say why not?
Let’s start with Ukrainian Cossacks. One thing that comes to mind concerning Cossack style is the moustache, which was symbol of courage and masculinity. For some clans and groups it was considered an integral part of national and cultural costume: hence 90% of depictions of Cossack men have them proudly displaying one.
Move forward to the 21st century and let’s consider the Ukrainian hipster who has brought facial hair into the mainstream. Where facial hair was once a rarity in conformist Ukrainian society it seems every second guy, especially in the capital, has ditched the razor. While beards are slightly more de riguer, there’s a fair few mo’s in the mix as well.
There is a catch; the spirit of Movember is self-mocking and irreverent...and as men around the world let their upper lips go furry, enduring stares, ridicule and the ire of mates, it’s only for a month. But not all moustaches are scraggily paedophile alarms.
It’s hard to argue with the fascinating cookie duster of New York-based Ukrainian and Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Hütz, who provides a compelling argument for moustaches in Ukraine especially. “There is a saying that a man without a moustache is like a woman with one. I strongly stand behind that theory.”
Perhaps inspired by Hütz, Kyiv businesses like Firm Barbershop are taking baby steps in trying to drum up support of Movember in Ukraine. As the phenomenon is largely unknown to Ukrainians, their help is more than welcomed. While they are forgoing the traditional month-long celebration, Firm barbershop is planning a party on 15 November starting at 19.00, in a bid to get the Movember ball rolling. This will be the second year in a row the company has lent earnest support to Movember. The party is aimed at telling people what Movember is as well as gathering some funds for moves towards formalising Movember in Ukraine including the launch of a website with useful information, like where men can have their prostates checked and why should they do it. The event will be held in conjunction with up-and-coming Kyiv brand Syndicate Clothing which will provide some goods for auction. The entrance is invites only, but you can get in on the action simply by calling the barbershop to register.
Firm Barbershop (Mykhalivskiy Provulok 9b)
15 November at 19.00
Tickets: free (call to register)
by Olga German and Jared Morgan