While the moustache motif is all the rage, is it being spread trivialised and spread too thin?
They’re everywhere- on clothes, ballet shoes, jewellery, bags, stationery, cocktail stirrers, and cupcakes. What was started by the indie crowd as a way of being different by sporting something perceptibly uncool, has unexpectedly taken off on a wider scale and is now very much a part of pop culture.
August 26 was commemorated as Women’s Equality Day and while speeches were made, petitions were signed, marches were carried out, on this side of the globe, a different sort of campaign is in progress.
Wooplr (a social discovery platform where people share and discover shopping finds in fashion, decor and food from stores around them) recently launched The Moustache Campaign: The Weekend on Moustache Boulevard which calls women from different walks of life to flaunt a faux moustache.
Their blog reads: “We took up this campaign to make women sport the moustache, a symbol of ‘mardaangi’ amongst the aam aadmi…Not because she is inferior… but to stand as an equal.”
Speaking of the campaign, founding member, Praveen Rajaretnam says: “Most of Wooplr's users are women and having been associated with #RingTheBell (Bell Bajao - to end violence against women) campaigns, we thought the moustache campaign allowed us to focus on a different issue concerning gender neutrality and women’s rights. The campaign essentially raises awareness for breaking the gender stereotype through a fashion statement.”
One of the campaign participants, Deepti Bhat, a software engineer says: “The moustache campaign to me is a fresh way to look at women’s empowerment and equality. I’ve participated in it as I feel social media is a strong medium. What better way to get attention nowadays than with a silly, cute or funny picture? Be it on food, clothes, art or music, it’s all about visual appeal. If we can get the attention of people who must listen, we can pass on our underlying message to at least a quarter of the viewers of the website.”
Vivek Prabhakar, founder and CEO of Chumbak that also sells a whole range of moustache inspired products, says: “The moustache craze has been quite popular for a while now. We actually had this concept called the ‘Turbans of India’ when we first launched and then decided to build on it by taking just their mucchis and making a theme out of that. We get loads of requests so we did a new mug, notebook and recently four different boxer shorts and a magnet as well. Women buy our ‘Mucchi iPhone cases’ a lot more than men do.”
Joonie Tan, pastry chef, Lavonne, informs: “It was during Movember (the annual event involving growing of moustaches in November to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer) that we created a good deal of moustache cupcakes for men but now women have latched on to the trend and are placing orders for them.”
While the moustache motif in its various forms is loved by women, Shuba Shetty, an advocate says: “If a moustache is sported in some form by a woman, she is bound to get noticed but given that it’s become so commonplace, it will lose its significance in trying to send out a strong message. It would be sad if a symbol as powerful as the moustache is reduced to nothing but a piece of fashion to be flaunted.”
A tad trite?
Concurring with her is content writer and blogger Divya Sehgal who says: “Though a moustache campaign like this sounds fun and is being undertaken with good intentions, it does seem a tad trite and sexist simply because girls do not need to look or feel like men to be empowered. Sporting faux moustaches to empower women only drives home the message that women are not completely liberated and need to have manly features, almost as if to compete with them. Looking and feeling feminine does not make women less empowered.”
Whether you follow trends or are a mucchi aficionado, we ‘moustache you this question’ because we can’t ‘shave’ it for later. Do you suppose the moustache is a must have to demonstrate girl power?