Movember: The Moustache and Beard-Growing Month

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November, in some circles, has come to be known as Movember, after the month long event that takes place now around the world, to raise awareness for prostate and testicular cancer — diseases that significantly affect men around the world.

The idea behind Movember is that participants sign up donors, then shave on Nov 1st. Typically you leave a mustache — “Mo” in Australian slang — but some men prefer to go clean-shaven and grow a beard.) After that, you don’t shave again until Dec 1st. As a result, November has also come to be known by some people as “beard-growing month.”

Movember, the organization, was declared by Global Journal as one of the top 100 non-government organizations (NGOs) in the world — out of around 5M NGOs worldwide. The event has become a huge success since the first event’s 30 participants — known as “Mo Bros” and “Mo Sistas.” A similar organization, Noshember (No Shave November), offers an alternative full-month of November event to grow a beard while raising awareness for prostate cancer and MS.

Facial Hair and Shaving — The Numbers

  • 15,000 years ago, someone depicted shaving in a cave painting, but there’s evidence that flint blades were used for shaving as far back as 30,000 years ago.
  • 3,000 years ago, copper razors were being used in India and Egypt.
  • 1865 is the year disposable razors became popular.
  • 1901 is the year the first safety razor was patented.
  • 1910 is the year the first electric shave appeared — a wind-up model.
  • 1916 is the year British soldiers were allowed to shave their mustaches (since a regulation took effect around 1860).
  • November is actually Lung Cancer awareness month.
  • 7.4M people die worldwide from cancer each year.
  • 5 types of cancer cause the most fatalities in men and women, collectively: lung, stomach, colorectal, liver and breast.
  • 31% of male cancer patients worldwide who die each year have lung cancer.
  • 10% of male cancer fatalities worldwide eachy year is due to prostate cancer — the 2nd-most common form of cancer in men.
  • 14-16 years old is the average age at first shave in the USA
  • 33% of men have facial hair in the USA.
  • 33% of American men have facial hair, according to one source, which conflicts with the next figure — possibly due to survey methods. Since 55% of males worldwide supposedly have facial hair, it seems Americans tend towards the clean-shaven look.
  • 75-90% of American men shave their face regularly (once a day) — meaning either a partial or full shave. Some men are seasonal shavers.
  • 1.3 billion men worldwide shave with a traditional blade and razor.
  • Women apparently find full-bearded men have 2/3 the attraction factor compared to clean-shaven men. However, women find full-bearded men to be “older, more-respected, powerful, of a higher status”. Or if you ask someone else, they’ll say beards are hot.
  • 92% of 10,000 participants in online survey said that beards are “hot”. The survey conducted by IFC (Independent Film Channel) for their reality TV show Whisker Wars, so the chances that most participants already like facial hair are very high, in comparison to the wider American populace.
  • 98% of the Forbes 100 list of world’s richest men who are clean-shaven (2012). (Maybe they own shares in men’s hygiene product companies?)
  • 5-7 is the approximate number of shaves the average American shaving male gets out of a disposable razor. Some cold-water-shaving enthusiasts say that warm water warps blades, causing them to dull faster.
  • 20,000 is the number of shaves in an average man’s lifetime. That’s just under 55 years of shaving once a day for 365 days per year.
  • 3.5 minutes is the average length of a shave.
  • 70,000 minutes = ~1167 hours = ~48 full days spent shaving in an average male lifetime, based on a 3.5 minute shave. Some sources claim 60 hours/year of shaving for the average man, which works out to roughly 10 minutes per shave, one shave per day. This latter figure roughly works out to 3,287 hours (137 days) of shaving per average male lifetime based on the 20,000 shaves/lifetime figure mentioned earlier.
  • 4,000 is the approximate number of razors bought in an average lifetime, based on 20,000 shaves / lifetime and about 5 shaves / razor.
  • The 5th most-shoplifted item in the USA is razors.
  • 2.7% of store inventory losses come from pilfered shaving products.
  • There are 3 types of razors: straight, safety and electric, plus variations of the latter two.
  • 2B disposable razors are tossed out each year in the USA.
  • 94M American men 15 years of age or older are shavers (varying frequencies).
  • $10.8M in angel and venture capital funding was given to online service Dollar Shave Club in 2012.
  • 12M is the approximate number of views that DollarShaveClub.com’s YouTube video has received, at the time of this writing.
  • 15-20,000 is the average number of facial hairs on a man.
  • It takes on average about 150 strokes per shave for a clean shave — according to sources quoting Gillette.
  • 2 is the number of centuries in age of Truefitt & Hill barbershop in London, England (established 1805).
  • 20,000 heads are shaven daily at the Sri Venkateswara Temple in India – the world’s biggest barbershop.
  • 500 tons (imperial) of human hair is shaved off yearly at the Sri Venkateswara Temple.
  • 14 feet is the length of the world’s longest mustache, belonging to Ram Singh Chauhan, who has appeared in a number of movies, including the James Bond film Octopussy.
  • 32 is the number of years that Chauhan hasn’t trimmed his ‘stache.
  • 0.5 inches is the approximate rate that, on average, male facial hair grows per month. That’s about 5.5 inches per year.
  • 28 years of not shaving is about the time needed to grow 14 feet of mustache.
  • 27.5 feet is the length a beard would be, on average, if a man never shaved.
  • 7.78 feet (2.37 meters) is the length of the longest beard of a living man, sported by Sarwan Singh (as measured in March 2010 for the 2012 Guinness Book).
  • 18.5 feet is the length of Hans Langseth’s beard was when he died in 1927. Part of the beard was donated to the Smithsonian in 1967.
  • 11 inches is the approximate length (actual: 10.98) of the longest female beard on record, measured on Vivian Wheeler in 2000.

 

Movember — The Numbers

Some general facts about Movember and testicular and prostate cancer:

  • World wide event which takes place during the month of November, to raise awareness for testicular and prostate cancer.
  • ‘Mo’ is Australian slang for moustache.
  • 2003 — The year this worldwide event, started in Melbourne, Australia.
  • 1 in 6 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their life.
  • 660 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each day.
  • 90% is the cure rate of prostate cancer, if detected early and treated in time.
  • 15 minutes is the average interval before another American male dies of prostate cancer.

 

How many participants in Movember?

3.05M men and women participated over all years 2003-2012 campaigns. Here’s a yearly breakdown:

  • 2003 – 30 participants
  • 2004 – 450
  • 2005 – 9,315
  • 2006 – 56,219
  • 2007 – 134,171
  • 2008 – 173,435
  • 2009 – 255,722
  • 2010 – 447,808
  • 2011 – 854,288
  • 2012 – 1.1M participants

 

How many countries participate?

There are now 21 participating countries, who joined as follows:

  • 2003 — Movember starts in Australia.
  • 2006 — New Zealand joins.
  • 2007 — US, UK, Canada and Spain join.
  • 2008 — Ireland joins.
  • 2010 — South Africa, Finland, The Netherlands and the Czech Republic join.
  • 2011 — Belgium, Denmark, and Norway join.
  • 2012 — Austria, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland join.

 

How much money raised?

The yearly amounts below are in AUS$ (Australian dollars), except where stated:

  • 2003 – $0
  • 2004 – 54K
  • 2005 – 1.2M
  • 2006 – 9.3M
  • 2007 – 21.5M = USD$20.2M
  • 2008 – 29.7M = USD$22M
  • 2009 – 44.3M = USD$42.3M
  • 2010 – 72M = USD$80.7M
  • 2011 – 124M = USD$126.3M
  • 2012 – 141.5M = USD$147.0M. Of this total, $21M was raised in the USA alone.

 

Baseball Beards

The Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB) are not only winners of the 2013 World Series, but possibly the hairiest team in the league, in terms of facial hair — based on a recent study of 912 MLB players.

  • 58% of MLB players have facial hair.
  • 72% of Milwaukee Brewers players have some facial hair.
  • 33% of Boston Red Sox players sport full beards.
  • 0% of MLB players have just a mustache, compared to 40% in the 1987 season (701 players’ photos viewed).
  • 0 Cincinnati Reds players had any facial hair — at least until the team was sold in 1999, due to an enforced policy requiring players to be completely clean shaven.

 

20 Obscure or Unusual Facial Hair Facts

Beard popularity historically appears to come in cycles lasting anywhere from a decade to a century; however, shaving has been law in some places in the past. Here are some unusual facts about facial hair.

  1. The word ‘barber’ comes from the Latin word barba, which means beard.
  2. High-placed ancient Egyptian men weaved gold thread into their gold-dyed beards. Kings, queens and royal cows wore metallic “beards” for special occasions, including eclipses. Egyptians also shaved their eyebrows when mourning their cats that had run out of their nine lives.
  3. Aztecs shaved with volcanic glass.
  4. Russians paid a beard tax due to a 1705 law during Peter the Great’s rule. The ruler apparently wanted to “modernize” Russian society. Those paid the tax (cost varied by societal status) were given a token that in had a Cyrillic inscription saying “the beard is a superfluous burden.”
  5. Brigham Young University has a “clean-shaven” dress code for men, but the Brigham Young himself has displayed a beard.
  6. Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait includes her facial hair.
  7. ZZ Top’s beardless member is named Frank Beard, who sports a mustache.>
  8. Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first bearded president, was elected in summer 2012.
  9. Abraham Lincoln reputedly grew beard on the written advice of an 11-year old girl who thought his face was thin. Not sure if this was before or after he took up vampire hunting [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1611224/?ref_=nv_sr_1], but he was the first bearded U.S. president. When Lincoln won the presidency in 1860, politician Valentine Tapley stopped shaving based on a promise made. Tapley’s beard upon his death in 1910 was 12.5 feet long.
  10. Ulysses S. Grant was the first U.S. president with a full-beard.
  11. Alexander the Great required his soliders (345 BC) to shave before some battles, to prevent enemies from fighting dirty by pulling on beards.
  12. Benjamin Harrison was the last U.S. president with a beard.
  13. Pogonophobia is the fear of beards.
  14. Professional airline pilots must be clean-shaven, according to a Wikipedia entry on beards. Some other professions have the same requirement, with exceptions sometimes made for men whose religion requires that facial hair not be shaven.
  15. Amateur athletes in some sports (e.g., boxing, wrestling) are expected to be clean-shaven.
  16. Photoshopping facial hair onto female celebrities has become “a thing”. If you’re daring, check out Freaking News’ Bearded Women gallery [http://www.freakingnews.com/Bearded-Women-Pictures–3691.asp].
  17. Actor Alec Baldwin appears in a Capital One credit card commercial competing with two “Vikings” in a beard-growing contest. After each combatant grimaces for a few seconds, each sprouts a full beard. Of course that’s make believe, but there are beard growing contests, including the World Beard Championships, which took place in Germany in 2013. Competitors sport some of the most fascinating artistically groomed facial hair. The Beard Team USA won 9 trophies in the competition.
  18. There is a TV reality show on IFC network called Whisker Wars, about competitive beard growing.
  19. Some crazy people prefer to shave with cold water — a practice that Benjamin Franklin wrote and said was less effort. Others go a step further and shave with ice water.
  20. Several religions or branches thereof have specific “no shaving” and sometimes no hair-cutting rules for men, including the Amish, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Latter-day Saints, Sikhism, and the Rastafaria.

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References

Information for this article was collected from the following pages and web sites:

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