“Mask Consumption-Diverse in Desire”
Ummey Honey Mim
The pandemic arrived in grace, people around the world were left in a maze. Some said it is a zoonotic disease which originated from bats, and others claimed it as a failure of an experiment, and for some, it was a planned biological weapon against the world, Shortly after, it didn’t matter enough from whence it came.
What matters is that it has killed over 800,000 people worldwide to date(August 24, 2020) shifting from one body to another.
Social distancing came with the condition of wearing a mask. It is something relatively new to the western countries but it is a norm in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, etc, where the women have always been covering their faces with niqab and their body with burka since centuries, much like the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the face mask that we must wear now to keep ourselves safe.
Even though religion has nothing to do with the face mask and the PPE, a large proportion, especially in the United States of America, is against wearing masks in public.
On the other hand citizens in France who are willing to hide their faces for religious purposes are liable to a fine of up to €150 ($165).
where as if someone is a non-muslim citizen he/she is encouraged and strained as a ‘good citizen’ to take on ‘barrier gestures’ to protect their national community.
“People always wear masks, don’t let anyone fool you. Behind the mask lies the real face that you can barely accept”.
That’s what I grew up hearing from my mom whereas Alan Moore says “Beneath every mask, there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask, there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.”
So is a mask a good thing? Does it mean people will wear several masks along with one real mask now? Funny but true that masks have always been portrayed negatively in Hollywood movies.
I still remember how spooky the protagonist of the movie “The Mask” was with his ugly highlighted yellowish-green mask. And whenever I used to hear someone saying “Did you miss me” I could subconsciously only think of his face.
Masks are one special aspect of every horror movie or Halloween movie. But the good news is even Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man wear masks.
The mask that people wear every day in society is always more interesting than the person hidden behind it. People are funny wearing invisible masks every day seems to be very normal to them but wearing a mask to save their life became a massive obstacle.
Countries like Spain, Germany, UK, USA were lashed by their citizens standing strong against covering their faces. Residents of Florida had their opinion like “And they want to throw God’s wonderful breathing system out the door,” “Mask is killing people!” They came up with the idea of a mask being a devil’s law or communist propaganda.
A massive number of people were melting down on the concept of wearing masks all over the globe. Most people talked about how masks can’t protect them from a deadly virus and that even they are not being recognized by their loved ones. Thanks to their insecurities the Coronavirus spread like a wildfire.
The Mask debate created handsome chaos among citizens and increasing the number of people believing the mask is just a hoax idea for this coronavirus.
People love being noticed and when this mask is hiding their unique face and makes them appear ordinary just like the person beside them wearing the same mask with some different clothing, it’s making them anxious. Staying incognito is what hearts were aching at.
It is now more like living in exile for some unspecified duration. According to a parliamentary study of France, it is stated that “In free and democratic societies . . . no exchange between people, no social life is possible, in public space, without reciprocity of look and visibility: people meet and establish relationships with their faces uncovered.”
Another preposterous fact that this issue of the mask is creating bullying and criticism. It doesn’t even matter if a woman is Muslim or of some other religion.
If she is covering her face, it is quite acceptable in society on the contrary if a man is wearing a mask, he is constantly bullied for acting like a woman and covering their face.
In Hollywood, interestingly where all heroes wear a mask, whereas, superwoman or the female heroes do not hide their faces in movies.
Recently I went to a departmental store and there a receptionist happened to be a male who wasn’t covering his face.
When I warned him about the consequences, he gave me a zombie look and said: “You don’t tell me what to do, you are a girl it’s your duty to cover your face, not mine!” I was wondering why are men less compliant wearing a mask?
Meanwhile, where tons are fighting against masks, some are excited thinking of innovative masks. Although the mask selling companies are at their peak, many cosmetics, especially lipstick companies, are shedding tears over their million-dollar lipstick consumers in fear of getting extinct soon. Now that the masks are made so decorative that there is no need to wear lipstick.
Considering that the wedding season is right around the corner and a huge portion of the population is reluctant to wear a mask, the number of Covid-19 patients are expected to spike shortly.
The fashion industries are now not only making bridal clothes but also bridal masks. Countries like Bangladesh, India is trying to put their traditional art in their mask. Rickshaw Print(print used in the vehicle for decoration purpose), masks are trending now in Dhaka, soon the city will have a huge population of mask-wearing people.
China was producing 450 million medical masks in a single day, the irony here is that it is the place where this virus originated and now they are trying to provide the solution.
Japan on the other hand developed translation smart face masks. Which can transmit messages and translate from Japanese into other eight languages calling it “smart mask”.
While people are rejoicing in fashionable masks, people living in poverty are in a constant dilemma about whether to save money for a daily meal or a mask.