Hopefully you don't mind a little facial hair on your male acquaintances, because November, the month recently consecrated to group facial hair growth, is upon us. Initiative like No-Shave November and "Movember" encourage men to grow it out for 30 days, and men across the globe have put down their razors until December 1st. But this year women have joined the movement, too, and some people do not approve.
Hannah Bauer of Nebraska wrote in a local college's online magazine Doaneline that she is participating in No-Shave November because, "I’m not really sure when or how society began to expect women to be magically and perpetually hairless, or why this expectation has been maintained, but I intend to find out." On Nov. 14th, nearly halfway through the month, Bauer reported that she is "noticeably more comfortable" with not shaving than she was at the start.
Others aren't so comfortable with it. Will Ferrell parody twitter user @FillWerrell warned women who choose to participate that they will pay in the bedroom. On November 1st, the account tweeted:
Girls who participate in No Shave November will also participate in No D December.
— Will Ferrel Parody (@FillWerrell) November 1, 2012
Jezebel's Laura Beck wrote a quick rebuttal to @FillWerrell's suggestion that no one wants to sleep with a hairy woman, but other critiques emerged.
Some Tumblr users took issue with female movember participation on idealogical grounds, especially for women claiming to take part not just in No-Shave November but "Movember" specifically. The former, an informal beard-growing contest of unclear origin, is only tangentially related to Movember, which encourages men to grow a moustache for the express purpose of raising awareness and funds for prostate and testicular cancer. A few Tumblr users suggested that female no-shave solidarity takes away from the "true cause" of Movember, the Daily Dot reported.
Tumblr user chunkymonkeyandme, whose bio describes her as a "stay-at-home mum," posted, "[D]o not take this prostate cancer awareness month away from men and make it about feminism and your rights not to shave!" on November 3rd.
The Harvard Crimson's Nicole J. Levin also criticized female participants like Bauer for casting their participation as feminist. In a satirical piece for the student paper, she wrote, "Women can take part in No Shave November as well. Not only is this a feminist cause, (the right to facial hair), but also it will help with getting that coveted "bearded lady" internship at the circus."
However, at least one woman professes to be participating not as a form of feminist protest but to help raise awareness of men's health issues.
On November 10th, the Daily Mirror's Natalie Port interviewed Siobhain Fletcher, a 36-year-old woman with a medical condition that causes her to grow facial hair. Fletcher will not be removing her facial hair for the month of November in order to raise money and awareness for the causes Movember supports.
"If I can go out on the street with a beard or moustache for a month, then surely men who are experiencing health problems can go and get themselves tested," Fletcher told the Mirror. "I think it is awful that some men are too embarrassed to have a simple test which could save them from prostate or testicular cancer."
The Movember website encourages "Mo Sistas" to support their "Mo Bros," and Tom Whitaker, director of Grassroots Engagement for Movember, told the Daily Helmsman that Movember welcomes women's participation in any form: “Women tend to be the gateway to health. They’re normally the ones who encourage men to go to the doctor... Movember is for everybody, not just men.”
What do you think about women participating in Movember? Tweet your thoughts @HuffPostWomen using #movemberwomen.