No Shave November, more than just an Instagram trend

No Shave November is the month where clean-shaven men become bearded beauties.

The hashtag #NoShaveNovember has been around on social media since 2009, and with more than a million posts on Instagram alone, bearded babes are posting worldwide. But it’s not just a lack of motivation to shave or wanting to add an extra layer of warmth for the winter; it’s really about cancer prevention. 

According to the official No Shave November nonprofit, it began in 2009 on Facebook, but the organization teamed up with the American Cancer Society in 2014.

The goal is to refrain from any type of shaving for 30 days and use the money one would spend on grooming tools to donate to cancer research organizations, in particular prostate and testicular cancer research. The act of growing out a beard, a mustache, leg hair, armpit hair or any other hair thus stands for something much more than just a trending hashtag.

Brett Arnold, a senior at Georgia State, didn’t realize the competition he and his friends were having by growing out their facial hair was really for a good cause until later on. 

“Me and eight of my friends have been doing it since ninth grade,” Arnold said. “We started with just trying to see how long we could get our facial hair to grow, but now we try to at least donate like $5-10 each to a cancer foundation.” 

Humza Baig, also a senior at Georgia State, enjoys growing out his beard but also believes the purpose behind it is something to consider. 

“I find it a fun way to raise awareness for an issue that’s often stigmatized; it’s subtle yet catches the eye of people and gets people talking more and more about it,” Baig said. “This is my fifth year doing it. I’ve been lucky enough to have pretty fertile glands around the face since high school, so I’ve been able to do it without having the patchy look.” 

It’s not just the men that participate. Women are also big into letting it go untamed for a month. With memes on social media showing women growing out their leg hair for days or even months after November, some women feel empowered to do so, but others don’t. 

Audrey Dunkley, a junior at Georgia State, actually feels less empowered when she’s letting her leg hair grow out. 

“You feel so much better shaved even if it means you’re playing into the expectations of women’s self-care and how they should show up in society,” Dunkley said. 

However, Georgia State student Carina Weiler thinks it’s for a good cause and wouldn’t mind skipping her next wax appointment. 

“Girls are always looking for an excuse to not shave their legs, so if it means doing it for awareness, then that’s even better,” Weiler said.

So, as the month of November comes into full swing and men start to look like Vikings and women go against societal norms by growing it all out, let’s remember to draw awareness and appreciate the hair we’re able to have.