Is It True that “Real Men Don’t Wear Masks?”

Amidst a pandemic that has killed more than 525,000 Americans (and millions of people world over), two governors, contrary to the advice of medical experts, have taken it upon themselves to declare that mask-wearing is unnecessary in their states at this time, something completely optional. 

Mask Mandate Ends in American States| Texas & Mississippi Lifts Mandatory Mask Diktat” Uploaded to YouTube by CRUX

Such folly while a pandemic rages is hard to believe and one looks for reasons behind these political declarations, since we all, whether we be Texans or Mississippians or not, will be affected from the rising hospital rates and deaths that are sure to result. 

Why are politicians at home with killing people?  What makes a person with the responsibilities of a governor to care for his and her citizens and the common good make such decrees, when we are just two months away from assuring that all American citizens are safe-guarded by having the coronavirus vaccine shots?

Some people say the cause is that the governor of the second largest state in the union, which has already seen 43,000 deaths due to COVID-19, is trying to deflect the story of the collapse of the grid in his state, that killed dozens of people and left hundreds of thousands in the cold and without electricity and water for nearly two weeks.

Macho and maskless: Brazilian strongman Jair Bolsonaro goes maskless to the back country (photo by Palácio do Planalto on Flickr; the former occupant of the White House rips off his mask after returning from hospitalization for COVID (image by outtacontext on Flickr) .

But even that explanation begs the question: Why is it to a politician’s advantage do deny the seriousness of a pandemic and the one remedy that is proven to be useful? 

I wonder if the deeper reason has to do with masculinity and its frail underpinnings in our society at this time.  Maybe the real lesson these “leaders” for dropping mask mandates is found here: Real men don’t wear masks.

Yes, a sick and toxic masculinity has left lots of men confused about what it means to be a man so there enters a new kind of politics dedicated to finding one’s lost manhood. 

Toxic masculine images in popular entertainment, a century apart: Gunslinger from The Great Train Robbery, 1903 (Wikimedia Commons) and WWF wrestler and COVID denier Hulk Hogan, 2010 (Wikimedia Commons)

What other things do “real men” not do?  Maybe what follows:

Real men pay no attention to the common good.

Real men think only of themselves and are beyond a sense of community and caring about others.

Real men deny that coronavirus is serious (and shut their eyes to the over half a  million deaths)

Apparently, real men live in denial.

Let us propose some positive virtues of real men (by the way, the Latin word “virtue” includes the word “man” and “power”—maybe virtue is a way of becoming a real man).

Real men don’t tell their citizens to kill other citizens by refusing to wear masks.

While Ted Cruz flew off to Cancun, former El Paso mayor Beto O’Rourke (Wikimedia Commons) organized volunteers to make more than 784,000 wellness calls to senior citizens around the state, while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, as Senate Budget Chairman (Wikimedia Commons), fought to pass COVID relief for all Americans.

Real men don’t abandon their state to fly to Cancun and vacation when a crisis looms in their state, where they have been elected to represent the people.

Real men don’t lie non-stop.

Real men care about truth.

Real men lose graciously.

Real men win gracefully.

Real men listen to science and experts who know things they may not know.

Real men wear masks to protect others as well as themselves. 

To be continued

See Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. 282-296.

Banner Image: New York National Guard FollowOperation COVID-19 Spc. Chris Smith of Kingston, N.Y., left and Spc. Dylan Messina from Albany, N.Y., both assigned to the New York Army National Guard, pose for a photograph with Dakota, a Labrador retriever service dog provided by Puppies Behind Bars in New York City, April 21, 2020. Photo by New York National Guard on Flickr

How do you understand the folly of being in a leadership position but  denying science and mask-wearing?  What explanations do you offer?

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

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