Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Why American men feel, well, esmasculated by being expected to wear masks (to protect others)


Alex Abad-Santos has a valuable report on Vox Aug. 10, “Performative masculinity is making American men sick. American men are failing the pandemic.”

Of course, this is what is seen as personal bodily humiliation about being forced to wear a mask in public. That implies you are weak, or at least not invincible.  But of course we all know this is because of the novel nature of the new SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus, and possibly the fact that it came from an international adversary, China.

Indeed, seen from a distance, the public health measures sliding into place very quickly after mid March 2020 make it sound like the whole planet is grossly contaminated.

If the contamination were from radiation, for example (Fukushima in 2011) we wouldn’t feel that way, there would be no choice at all.

The words “shelter in place” make it sound like the virus is a personal environmental contaminant.

It gets a little worse.  Medical personal must wear special masks, N95’s, and men must shave their beards for them to fit.  Imagine if we demanded that of all men in the general public. (There is a variation clone of N95 coming online called Respocare which is slightly more forgiving in fit requirements, but it might eventually become “required” of the public.)  You can take science fiction theater (like the program in the 50s with Truman Bradley) even further.  I don’t know whether hair root cells have vulnerable receptors, but imagine a contagious virus that targets them and also contagious.  Then everyone who have to be bald, maybe even of all body hair too.  How would anyone be sexually attractive according to our norms today (especially among whites)?

Here’s the Vox article.

The idea that your own breath, even if you don’t get sick yourself, could be a deadly weapon is a shocking insult to personal sovereignty, perhaps. Asian cultures are used to it.

Here’s a confrontation in a store in Tucson AZ.  A bellicose warrior is carried out of a retail place by a more attentive son. The dad obviously believes in Spartan "survivor of the fittest", that the world is a zero-sum game.  There is a gun shop in AZ where the owner doesn’t allow masks, too.

Public health is certainly infringing on our sacrosanct ideas of personal autonomy, but we've seen that before with the vaccine "debate". 

No comments: