Oi. Movember. No!

I see the moustaches. I get the jokes, I groan at the puns. I marvel at the money. I spot the global reach. I understand the popularity. I grasp the style. I read all the words. 

What’s at the core though? It does come over very Emperor’s New Clothes if you concentrate and keep saying to yourself ‘Yes, that's all very well but what do they actually mean?’

We should all wonder about the content. It’s ours, after all; we paid millions for it.

Movember is getting bigger, louder and brassier. It’s caused a series of UK prostate charities to be eaten already and there’s only one VERY BIG ONE left. It’s heart was in the right place but as all that money has flowed in, Movember's brain must catch up. That big ol’heart and great cause means the pointy questions about its core knowledge and beliefs about men’s health need answering.  It's time it sent itself to university as a mature student and studied hard. Otherwise it will be caught out by its obvious lack of qualifications in the years ahead.  

Movember is the kind of charity a fundraising department would come up with, if left to its own devices: no soppy service delivery, support and information and advocacy functions - and none of their expert staff either. As long as the cause, however hazily articulated  - and Movember's, on men's health, is very hazily articulated - brings in shedloads of cash, everything is apparently just peachy.

But why the sketchy health advice? If you know so little about, ...ummm ….let's see....health screening, for example and how health policy in the UK works, leave the discussion to those in the know, not random generic stuff pasted in from the US. If you don’t grasp how social determinants of men’s health might work, don’t offer ‘knowing your numbers’ as quick start, quick fix route into healthy behaviours. Getting someone to visit their GP is not necessarily the key skill in the repertoire of healthy behaviours – so don’t plug it as if it is.

I grasp why prostate cancer is so prominent in their thinking - it is common and does kill far too many men. Their research efforts there are fine. However, I wonder at their leap into cliched considerations when they fancy themselves as innovative. Male specific cancers are not the only dangers to men - just the obvious ones to go for. Bowel and lung cancers combined wipe out almost three times as many men as prostate alone but somehow they aren't men's cancers. Movember could be challenging that predictable way of looking at men's health, not copying it. 

What is their strategic approach to men’s health in the UK? Aims? Key objectives? They can't tackle all of it but which bits would they go for? Why? And how? We invested 27 UK millions in Movember last year, under the reasonable understanding that they probably have some kind of UK specific Plan. We’ll probably raise more this year still under what is, increasingly obviously, a major misapprehension. The difference is that, this year, I hope some men will finally start to say "Hang on a minute. Shut up about the hairy lips and handlebars for a second – what’s at the core of this? Which men? Which healthy behaviours? What about risk taking? Or old age? What about UK men from different ethnic backgrounds? Long term conditions?" etc. etc. 

What specific changes to the face of men’s health are Movember espousing, with our millions in their back pockets, as key to men's lives in the UK?

I have no idea. No idea at all. And neither, I fear, do Movember.