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No Shave November: Is It Just for Men?

No Shave November or “Movember” began as a fundraiser to raise money and awareness for men’s health. The idea is to donate the money you would have spent on shaving or other hair removal processes to prostate cancer research. You are also encouraged to speak about men’s health when asked about your body hair. In a sense, it is similar to everyone dressing in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So while many women may want to help support the cause for the men in their life, the resistance against female body hair is preventing them from joining.

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Women should be able to grow their body hair however they feel, especially if it is to support a cause like men’s health. While it may seem like women get the short end of the stick on almost everything, men’s health is declining in the United States. Men die at higher rates than women in 9 of the top 10 causes of death like heart disease and cancer and are 100% less likely to receive regular medical checkups. Often times when we discuss feminist issues, we do not make it an intersectional conversation. It may not seem like it but feminism can help even male issues. While men’s health may not be at the forefront of many women’s minds, we can help move the conversation forward.

It seems like, as the years go by, the message of No Shave November gets more watered down; many do not know it was created for men’s health – it’s not just a competition to see who can grow the best beard. If people really want to raise awareness for prostate cancer then women not shaving is a great way to do so. We understand what it is like to have a powerful message get distorted and reduced to gender stereotypes. Breast Cancer Awareness can sometimes reduce women down to just their chest as if boobs are the only thing which makes women worth saving. In a similar way, No Shave November can make it seem that only men who can grow a full bushy beard should participate. If women start participating then the focus can be shifted away from the facial hair and towards men’s health.

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Another reason women should participate in No Shave November is that female body hair is so controversial that if many women stop shaving, social media will blow up. Sometimes raising awareness needs a shock factor to push it forward and breaking social norms can always be that catalyst. While Twitter will be busy reporting on the latest hairy armpit, women can be spreading the word for awareness about men’s health.

Women joining No Shave November will not lessen the bonding between men growing out their beards or change the fundraiser’s message. It will benefit the movement by helping it grow and focusing the conversation back to men’s health. Furthermore, others cannot dictate how we present ourselves including what we do with our body hair; whether a woman wants to shave or not is up to her and nobody else. This November, consider putting down the razor to raise money and awareness for a healthier tomorrow.

Then, if you want to, you can get rid of it all December 1st!​ Image Source

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Kaitlyn is a psychology major at Siena College. She is interested in becoming a nurse in the future but has loved writing her whole life. In her spare time, Kaitlyn likes playing her ukulele, jamming to music, and Snapchatting pictures of her dog. Follow her on Twitter: @kkbwink
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