Mask and masculinity

Masque et virilité

The title may seem a little trivial, but, since a few days, I came across articles on the subject. The most recent was published in the magazine The Week.

You have heard that this week the prime minister François Legault, who suggested strongly to add the port of the mask to other hygiene measures. The public health officials in the United States had already done so and the reactions to this measure are mixed.

How to explain that a measure as simple and light touch controversial? After all, the mask does not humiliate our freedom of movement, it affects all of our professional and personal activities and it shows that the protection of the health of others we care about.

If I intend to proceed with the purchase of masks very soon, it is that I see a side reassuring for the people that I meet, despite the containment, as well as a additional tool to limit the spread of the virus. Our arsenal is a little more complete, and the application of the measure has been beneficial in several places. Never, I confess, I never associated my “manhood” in the reflection!

It seems, however, that, for some commentators conservatives, we associate the mask with fear. Wearing one makes you a coward. You may remember that earlier this week the president, Trump claimed that it would not, just for a question of image. Regardless of whether the virus is circulating now within the walls of the White House and members of the administration are now in containment, there can be no question of releasing an image of weakness!

Am I now less respect for François Legault and Danielle McCann because they were presented masked to the point of the press? No, I was surprised that they had not done before! I have not seen a gesture of panic, or a demonstration of weakness, rather the prudent application of a measure inexpensive.

There seems to be, in the view of some analysts, a curious fascination for the image that must project a man. If we are, as the president, of the warriors in this desperate struggle against the virus, it would be necessary to ignore the opinions of the experts and defy all logic to expose us as soon as possible? To the rigor, if the decision does not imply that our little person, I could support it, but our choices also have consequences for the other.

I don’t know how you define masculinity or manhood. This definition has also changed over historical periods. As underlined by Bonnie Kristian in his text, I think there is a trait that seems to cross the ages: the desire to protect.

I teach young men and young women. If I want an egalitarian society, I see on a daily basis of differences in their behaviors. I never believed we could – and still less that we should eliminate all these differences, but I remain convinced that we must encourage common values. A man, as a woman, must first and foremost be responsible.

Is it less manly to protect the other? To take care of the poor? Take care of the other would thus require no courage, no determination? I grew up surrounded by strong male role models. Of the men who worked hard in difficult tasks. The physical strength was admired. However, each of these men was capable of compassion, modesty, honesty, and affection. We don’t complain for nothing, but crying was not a shame.

I do not feel, therefore, not decreased, because it suggests that I wear a mask and I’ll do it as long as the experts see it as an effective measure to allow a gradual return to normal life. I won’t do it for me, I will do it to protect, to reassure those who are more fragile, or anxious, or to contribute to the economic recovery. And you?

I leave you here the link to the article by Bonnie Kristian who inspired me to this post.

Share Button