November is like the forgotten step child in one of Disney’s worn out tropes featuring an evil step mother. Like Cinderella mopping up after her wicked step-sisters, November is forced to clean up the fallen leaves of October and prep for the magic of December; November treads with an air of irrelevance. A day of dried out turkey and the next a day a retail hell, November doesn’t have much to offer, except of course the influx of shaggy facial hair.
Beards, muttonchops, the sparse hair above the upper lip that some like to consider a mustache; No Shave November creates an atmosphere that welcomes all varieties of body hair. So what is it about the time between Halloween and the Holidays that make us throw out our Schick Hydros?
According to Illinois State University’s online newspaper, Vidette, No Shave November originates from Australia in 2004. There, a group of men in an attempt to raise awareness for prostate cancer and depression in men, grew out their mustaches for one month. However, many people, including those who participate, are unaware of the origin of the movement. Some men who partake feel that doing it is a tribute to their masculinity. Others believe that it was just another internet challenge. Junior Communications major, Eric Gonnella, says that like most things that surface on the internet, No Shave November became viral and now is just a another trend to follow.
Men may not be growing their hair out to raise awareness, but they sure are doing it for their own self esteem. A lot of our Stockton men said that without the few fuzzy hairs on the tip of their chin and their scruffy and unruly sideburns they will resemble their 14 year old selves about to enter puberty. “It took four months to grow out what little hair I do have now, so of course I won’t be shaving it this November” said Gonnella, “if I lose it, I’ll look like a baby.”
November is a competition, a race to the ultimate masculine look; the first to achieve full lumberjack aesthetic – wins. But, let us not forget the girls who also participate in the month-long trek to our hairiest potential.
Many girls looking to support their men to raise awareness cut their shower time in half without the hassle of having to shave just about all of their body. Not to mention the cost reduction on shaving supplies like shaving cream, razors and lotions. While most women are ridiculed if they relish in their hairy freedom, participation from women aims not only to support men but to break down the walls of forced beauty stereotypes. Erin O’Leary, a sophomore Literature major, says she’s not participating based on personal preference but begs the question “why not?” to those arguing that women shouldn’t be able to participate.
So ladies, whether you’re trying to help raise awareness or just beam at the idea of a socially accepted month free of shaving, toss those razors to the side of the tub, and do so unapologetically. For the men out there who are participating: support your ladies who are following suit. Let us hope that this November leads us to a society that gets a little more comfortable with our natural body hair and perhaps gives us a few more men with facial hair like Ryan Gosling.