In an effort to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19), national and local leaders have advised that Americans should be wearing face masks in public. It's guidance that has been very uncommon in American culture, but very common in Asian counties. In fact, it has previously been stigmatized in America if you're wearing a mask and you're stigmatized in Asian countries for not wearing a mask. Who's judging people without masks now? Yep, Americans!
The largest, most frightening and one of the deadliest pandemics during our lifetime will be a catalyst for change. Americans have to start wearing masks right now and they need to continue wearing masks in crowded, public spaces in an effort to help each other. While the general consensus among scientific studies is that the mask might not help you from preventing the disease as much as spreading the disease, the preventative measure is one everyone should take.
In fact, according to a recent poll from Ipsos 55% of Americans who left their house in the last week wore a mask in public and 45% did not. This is a positive indication that the stigma around wearing masks in American is beginning to change for the better.
As a 30 year-old American male who lives in downtown Chicago, in the past two weeks I have experienced the unusual feeling of wearing a mask in public, which quickly turned to pride of wearing a mask in public. A few weeks into the shelter-in-place I started noticing more and more people wearing masks in public before it was required. At first, I will admit, it caught me off guard, but after being in the grocery store surrounded by people who clearly didn't know how far apart 6 feet was, I decided I needed to be waring a mask at all times as well.
So, my fiancee and I found ourselves some masks with high-quality filter inserts and started wearing them with pride. Since then, it's become mandatory to have a mask on when you're in public. They are certainly an expression of your personality and they should continued to be worn in America until it's advised otherwise.
Call it a fashion statement, call it doing what's right, but wear it with pride, match it to your outfit or just let it clash with everything and who cares!