To Wear or Not to Wear

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Even though most argue wearing a mask cuts down on the transmission of the coronavirus pandemic, some refuse to adopt this philosophy. Americans carry the Bill of Rights and thereby utilize the capacity to stand against the law when it violates their human rights. Masks send mixed messages symbolizing both safety and fear. Psychologically speaking, according to The Guardian, men, more often than not, demonstrate resistance towards the submissive, openly vulnerable expression of face masks, mandatory or otherwise. As a result of gender stereotypes and toxic masculinity, they think it makes them look “weak” and “not cool.”

Nonetheless, the masks wear their list of pros and cons. As with any form of civil disobedience, Americans utilize their inborn rights to manifest the jurisdiction they want. Technically, although conventional wisdom suggests otherwise, if Americans don’t want to wear masks, they don’t have to. Democracy means for the people, or a country run by the people. Regardless of where Americans fall on the mask spectrum, they possess the fundamental right to express their liberties without authority orchestrating every move.

Initially, masks lacked mandatory procedures. Then, at the peak of the pandemic, masks morphed into a global necessity to function within society. While masks, especially N-95 masks, stop the transmission of bodily fluids and weaken the panic factor, according to Health, wearing them for too long threaten to undermine one’s immune system as one inhales carbon dioxide, which triggers “sudden feelings of suffocation and breathlessness.” Furthermore, “inhaling high levels of carbon dioxide may be life-threatening,” causing “headache, vertigo, inability to concentrate, tinnitus, seizures, or suffocation due to displacement of air.” Fear and anxiety produce cortisol, a compound that impairs one’s ability to reason, cope, and process. Masks create as much safety as they do fear.

POTUS Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence appeared on television countless times without wearing masks. Even after cabinet members tested positive, they remained adamant on not wearing masks to assert their masculinity. Because of the unconscious need to defend the expression of manhood, wearing a mask symbolizes the loss of power, the lack of freedom, and demasculinization. Alpha males refusing to wear masks assert how they do not want to look weak nor feel less than, or omega.

Mandatory face masks create an equal amount of good and harm, friction and flow towards society. One shoe size, or rather, mask does not fit all. Everyone embodies a unique set of characteristics that set them apart from the crowd. Masks, while initially conceived to benefit the common good, fail to represent the whole of the story, let alone why the coronavirus pandemic exists in the first place. Overall, masks breathe as a mixed bag. To wear or not to wear boils down to one’s just prerogative.