DESNÉ MASIE: The transatlantic myth of the ‘liberal’ mask
Wearing or not wearing a face mask during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK and US marks your political and cultural leanings
How face masks got caught up in the transatlantic culture wars is baffling. The US and UK have the highest Covid-19 death rates in the world, yet people are still debating whether wearing “liberal” masks is a political statement or a public health necessity.
Mask wearing has become associated with weakness, femininity and left-wing politics, and non-mask wearing has become associated with strength, (toxic) masculinity and right-wing politics. Sadly, it has also become associated with racism against Asians, as mask-wearing is almost ubiquitous in countries such as China and Singapore.