~ THE MASK DEBATE ~
Melbourne is in the midst of its second lockdown and, this time, masks are being enforced. As already witnessed in countries such as the US, this has been met with polarising opinions.
To be clear, I am pro-mask but I get it: wearing a mask kind-of sucks. They act to further stifle the already constricted conditions under which we are required to live—feeling fettered to our place of residence. A mask muffles our voice, making it harder to be heard (and seen) exacerbating feelings of isolation, an all too common symptom of this pandemic. And just like our face when wearing a mask: the whole picture, of what the impacts of Coronavirus mean for our future, is not fully visible.
Masks seem like a physical manifestation of the distress and discomfort we are currently enduring, but that does not make them part of the problem.
Anti-mask rhetoric, particularly in America, does perceive the mask as a problem, with citizens declaring that their liberties are at stake. Anti-mask protesters, in the US, have compared masks to muzzles. Psychologists claim people’s adverse reaction to masks can be linked to the idea of ‘control’: of wanting to maintain a level of control during a time where so much, of what is going on, resides outside the periphery of our power.
Do you know what we do have a degree of control over? Not killing other people. This virus has ordained us all as potential killers. And if something as simple as wearing a mask can help prevent me from infecting someone with Covid-19, then I am going to wear a mask.
Research reveals males have a bigger issue with wearing a mask than females. This propelled me to consider the myriad forms of oppression within a woman’s wardrobe, which we are literally strapped into on a daily basis. But they are more “acceptable” because administering them makes women’s waists appear smaller, their breasts perkier and their legs look longer.
For me, I kind of feel like a badass wearing a mask because it is an accoutrement of so many (stereotypical) badasses: bank robbers in balaclavas, bikies in bandanas, and Bane in his breathing apparatus.
I know a mask can feel a bit claustrophobic at times, but (unless you have a medical condition) you should still be able to safely do all the things. Just look at Spiderman—do you think he ever let a mask get between him and his crime-fighting, as he dangled from buildings, literally risking his life for the sake of humanity? And all we have to risk is a bit of our comfort.
As some parent, somewhere, would probably say: not all heroes wear capes, but we can all be one by wearing a mask 😉
Plus, you can support local, smaller businesses like these ones while you’re at it!