This past week marked the beginning of another Movember, a month-long movement to raise awareness of men’s health by growing facial hair typically seen in 1970s pornography films. Originating in Australia in 1999, Movember has grown into one of the most successful, if not occasionally creepy, movements in recent history, raising hundreds of millions for the cause. Other movements, however, have not been so fortunate. In today’s article, we shine a light on the manly movements that never quite gained momentum.
Choptober (1886 – ?)
In what’s been called the predecessor to Movember, Choptober was a movement launched in 1886 by the Society to Remember Chester A. Arthur, a surprisingly effective one-term president no one remembers. The Choptober movement urged men of the time to wear mutton chops during October in an effort to raise awareness of the seldom remembered President Arthur, whose mutton chops were generally more memorable than his policies. And while men generally sported mutton chops for the better part of 4 or maybe even 10 years, no one could remember exactly what they stood for, so the movement gradually phased out in a year we can’t quite recall.
Boss Hoggust (1982)
The year was 1982, and Dukes of Hazzard had climbed to the tops of the ratings by telling vibrant tales of the skirmishes between the Duke boys (no relation) and the scheming antagonist, Boss Hogg. Seeing an opportunity to promote their industry, the Milliners Guild of America declared that August would be the month to wear 10 gallon hats made famous by Hogg. Though a well-intended idea, timing was not on the side of the Milliners as a new show called Knight Rider debuted in September, 1982, ushering in a 3-year wave of male perms, inspired by the curly locks of David Hasselhoff.
Zubruary (1991 – 1993)
Riding the success of their timelessly stylish line of loose-fitting athletic pants, the makers of Zubaz declared February, 1991, as the official start of Zubruary. For 28 days, men were encouraged to stop wearing tight jeans and don the colorful Zubaz in order to promote men’s virility and fashion awareness. Initially, the movement took hold in cities with NFL franchises and among guys named Randy, but it failed to gain national traction and ultimately fizzled out in 1993. Some historians claim that a lack of advertising spelled doom for the movement, while girlfriends and wives subscribe to the theory of “you’re not seriously wearing that sh*t, are you?”
The Ides of Starch (1995-1996)
In 1995, in an effort to promote greater consumption of starchy foods, a joint council of Potato Chip and Corn Chip Manufacturers banded together to create The Ides of Starch, a month-long celebration of starch. Renowned ad agency BBDO was brought in to create “Potato Pete,” an affable, corn-on-the-cob-eating potato spud who appeared on Saturday morning cartoons urging children to ask for more “healthy and tasty” starch. While well-intentioned and well-funded, the movement never quite caught steam, most likely do the the curious decision to hold the Ides of Starch in September.
Remomber (2003 – Today)
December, 2003, is perhaps best remembered globally for the one time you forgot to schedule your semi-annual dental check-up. This tiny oversight triggered the start of Remomber, a joint effort between your mom and the creative minds at 3M to remind you of all the things that generally healthy adults should do. Employing an arsenal of emails, Post-It Notes, and untimely phone calls, the Remomber movement brought about substantial change and now takes place multiple times a year, especially when you haven’t called your sister in awhile.