Ketia Valme|| Sunday June 12, 2022 || 11:11 AM EST
It's been two years since the chaotic lockdown of COVID-19. Amid all the drama, it has created a new indulgence for people to conceal their insecurities, and we don't talk about it enough. A significant societal contribution towards fighting against COVID-19 that we did reasonably well was the normalization of masks. According to the Center Of Diseases and Control, masks are a "critical public health tool," and we must wear them every hour of every day to protect each other from this enduring pandemic.
While it is undeniably verifiable that masks provide the ability for society to get back in action, it's also very real that many people frame them as an asset to cover up their insecurities. Since the popularization of the term "mask-fishing" on big social platforms like Tik Tok and Twitter, a stigma has risen from trends that favor the European beauty standards, causing anyone who doesn't fit within that box to feel less beautiful. Mask fishing is described as when a person appears to be more attractive with a mask on than without. With mask fishing being a socially inherited talk, trends like "who has the straightest whitest teeth," "whose right side face is symmetrical to their left," and "who got the pointiest nose" pops off relatively fast on social platforms.
The term carries a negative connotation, and people who fail to meet these beauty standards are bullied into relying on the comfort that masks bring. Masks bring a certain degree of warmth to people who usually need to hide their uncontrollable facial expressions, which can put their jobs or relationships at risk. Still, the problem lies within the dread of taking it off because of the fear of being labeled as a "mask fisher."
On a popular Reddit thread questioning "How many people started liking wearing masks just because of insecurity/not showing their face to others," responder Blackberrychaos mentioned, "Yep. Ugly teeth + pretty eyes gang. I feel so much less confident going maskless" as other people were interacting and bringing up their lack of confidence due to their "nice teeth, but ugly nose," and interestingly enough a response said "Same here. I even have dental coverage and still can't afford to fix my teeth. The mask is cheaper."
This stigma primarily affects those who don't have the privilege to afford a quick fix surgery, which is a problem within itself. The number of cosmetic surgeries has risen to over 5.5 million in 2020. This happens to be the same year that COVID-19 conquered our world. It also happens to be that same year that social media gained a drastic amount of expression and engagement that allows many users social dominance over those who are battling confidence. Mask fishing is solely a concept that exists in society because of the pandemic that we are enduring. The term isn't accurate and should not be projected onto those dealing with insecurities. People should not fear to embrace their unique beauty in fear of being called a mask fisher even though we as a whole have lived without masks all our lives.
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