Before the inevitable quarantine, the thought of putting a mask on was perceived by many as unnecessary or even weird. However, without having any other choice, and to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, we all put our masks on and we continue to wear them until today.
Taking into consideration the seriousness of the current situation, we do not really think about the consequences the constant use of masks has on our mentality. Nevertheless, it is almost undeniable, that this new reality has major effects on our self-esteem and self-confidence.
Wearing a mask means having to cover more than half of our faces, the faces we find ourselves obsessively looking in the mirror when alone, thinking if we are pretty enough or rather if we fit in society’s beauty constructs. The situation demands a serious tone; that is why I phrased the facts quite harshly; because I want to emphasize how concerning is that younger generations may feel more at ease when they cover their faces.
This is not a theory without a base. Social media provide us with plenty of proof. The shared content from public accounts (especially from Tiktok and Instagram) speaks for itself. There are countless memes and videos uploaded by young people which joke about how the mask covers their insecurities. Both their frequency on our feeds and their popularity show the truth they hide.
I know. Problems concerning low levels of self-esteem and confidence are kind of old news. But in combination with our current living standards, it should worry us more. When we wear our masks (as we should), we seem more unapproachable because we are less exposed. We rarely get out of the house and we feel more detached from the others as we only get to see their eyes. Yes, they say the eyes are the mirror of the soul, but in this case, it does not work like that. Not being able to see peoples’ expressions and sometimes their smiles, makes us feel a little bit insecure. We cannot guess what they are thinking or how they feel and that concerns us. After all, we are not exactly used to all of this. At the same time, the extreme use of social media has a toxic (allow me to say) influence on us. It was already bad before. But this isolation makes it worse.
So let’s do try and be good to ourselves. Value the fact that despite the pandemic we are alive, well, and able to move on. Realize that today’s beauty standards are somewhat irrational and pointless. What matters (I know it sounds cliché bear with me) is inner beauty and self-peace.
We are who we are pandemic or not, all beautiful, all unique. Our mental health is equally important to our physical well-being and we have to make a special effort to maintain it under the current circumstances. I will not say that everything happens for a reason. I don’t believe it either. I say that we can try and change our perspective, how we see others, and more importantly how we see ourselves (see “A shift of perspective by Κωνσταντίνα Μπουρογιάννη). Some time, all this will end. We are going to be together, maskless and happy.
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