Anti-Maskers: What is The Point of Wearing a Mask?
Unlike anti-vaxxers, anti-mask protests have emerged only during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the public health regulations put into place globally. While neither of these trends shares a common cause, both of them became a thing thanks to misinformation and fallacies. When it comes to anti-vaxxers, sure, they go overboard by thinking that a super-secret organization that controls the whole world is trying to brainwash people through vaccines. However, whether it be that or believing that wearing a mask deprives one’s brain of oxygen, these conspiracy theories emerge from people’s thinking too much despite knowing too less.
In Asian societies, the reason behind wearing a mask is to protect others from oneself, given the broad assumption that healthy or not anyone can be carriers of coronavirus. As a result, these societies perceived mask-wearing as a symbol of solidarity. On the other hand, westerners concurred that masks only serve to protect oneself rather than the others. Therefore, in western societies, those not knowing what these masks actually for refused to wear them.
What is more, misinformation coming out of social media and likely the mass hysteria caused people to think that masks do not protect them from the virus, that or people believing that COVID-19 is “not so dangerous after all,” in spite of the deaths occurring all around the globe. As said, when people are thinking too much and knowing too less, they became unable to use their logic and reason. They misunderstand the point of national and global restrictions and try to fight against them.
Furthermore, both anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers have common approaches in their cause. All they do is to scare, intimidate, and recruit more and more people around a cause through spreading the misguided so-called scientific information. Interestingly, having received a boost from influential people carry their message, such as the former US President Donald J. Trump, both anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers managed to stay vocal and was able to draw the media attention, despite being short in numbers. However, when we focus on their aim and see through it, there we see is typical human behavior: fighting for freedom.
Freedom is a super-strong notion that flows through the veins of every single human being. It connects people to one another against a predetermined antagonist. Nonetheless, people often misunderstand the type of freedom we ought to live by today. We live in a society that is coordinated by law and order. We need these to maintain our lives smooth and steady, and the government is there to enforce them. Henceforth, during these tough times, we ought to wear our masks to protect the other members of the society we live in, not just ourselves.
Let’s be real. So long as we do not take any precautionary actions, COVID-19 will keep spreading. Never forget that by not wearing the mask, you will endanger not only yourself but also the others. We must act together with a spirit that Asians had long before us: solidarity.
As a reminder, I would like to list a number of actions you ought to practice in order to at least contribute to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19:
by Ümit Altar Binici