By John Salak –
The hot point over whether to mask up hasn’t disappeared, even though mask mandates are pretty much a thing of the recent past. What’s notable, however, is that vanity and not self or societal preservation may now be a driving force for some wearing one.
People who deem themselves good-looking are less likely to don a mask than those who think they are less desirable. At least, that’s the conclusion of a recent study. The researchers determined this after asking about 1,000 participants to self-evaluate their looks and then determine how likely they were to wear a mask in certain circumstances, like walking a dog, shopping or even during a job interview.
Those who thought they had an attractive mug were less likely to cover up when they believed their stunning faces might be a benefit, like during a job interview. Conversely, those who thought themselves less appealing were more likely to cover up in these circumstances.
The results suggest an unintended or at least unrealized consequence of the pandemic.
“Our findings suggest that mask-wearing can shift from being a self-protection measure during the COVID-19 pandemic to a self-presentation tactic in the post-pandemic era,” the research team reported.
When it came to more mundane tasks like walking a dog, a quick trip to the store or a run to the post office, masks were less important for those who deemed themselves attractive and others with a lesser self-image.
What may be more startling is that the relationship between self-image and mask-wearing is already pretty well documented in social circles worldwide. Koreans, for example, call it “ma-gi-kkun,” which refers to less attractive people who intentionally cover up to present a more favorable impression of themselves. In Japan, the phrase is masuku-sagi, and in the U.S., a person covering up because they think a mask is a social advantage is a mask-fisher.
The study, thankfully or not, to did address the growing market for face mask fashion, which boomed during covet. Some people collected dozens of designs during the pandemic to use as fashion accessories. Ultimately, these masks became essential parts of an individual’s wardrobes.
Consider President Biden’s inauguration. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden had to accessorize her various gowns with matching masks. As always, the gown and matching mask—were all saved for posterity.
All this new focus on covering up begs a specific question that transcends health issues. Are protective masks about to enter the realm of haute couture for whatever reason? And if they are, how long will this focus last?
Who knows? Wearing a mask for the right reasons is still a good idea, but this cover-up can go too far.