Let’s not give masks the power to dampen our confidence

B Melica Mahmoudi

Wearing a mask seemed like an unfamiliar concept to most people at the start of COVID-19. Over time, as we got used to it, our new reality has shifted since masks are now a vital necessity in our everyday lives. Masks have protected us from bacteria particles and viruses, but they have also altered how we perceive both our friends and ourselves. 

The new TikTok trend, “mask-fishing” is a toxic way of saying someone who is wearing a mask might be unattractive because you can only see their eyes while wearing a mask. This is just one example of how the pandemic has altered the way we see ourselves and others. 

Mask-fishing is usually directed at those who have more ethnic features such as larger/smaller lips, nose, eyes, etc. This trend represents a new form of bullying that has been largely present in the media, bringing down teen confidence. 

“I feel that this repetitive cycle is something that has really taken a toll on those around me. We are obliged to wear a mask to not only protect ourselves, but those we care about around us. I find it frustrating that the protection we have to wear has turned into a contradictory trend causing people to take off their masks allowing the virus to spread further,” senior Johann Luna said

This new way of living messes with our heads as it becomes harder to recognize your classmate’s faces. If your friend takes off his or her mask, it might take a second to realize the familiarity behind this piece of cloth. We all seem to look anonymous as people often mistake their friends for strangers in the halls.

The most important thing to remember is to not let this piece of cloth take control over your reality. 

The point of the mask is to protect us. But we do not need to give it so much psychological power. In the end, we want to continue wearing this mask not to cover ourselves, but to protect ourselves and others. 

“Let’s not give these masks the potential to affect our confidence. In the end, protecting my family and friends from this highly contagious virus is what matters to me most,” freshman Max Usmanov said.