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New Scientist: Why is mask wearing so divisive?

(59 Posts)
Bishybarnybee Sat 22-Aug-20 15:03:58

There is an interesting letter in this week's New Scientist suggesting the split over mask wearing might reflect different attitudes to being asked to trade personal freedom for the benefits of cooperation.

They suggest that if you value cooperation highly, you may be more willing to make small sacrifices for the good of others.

They also ask if those who are reluctant to wear masks may also recycle less, drive bigger cars and be reluctant to give up wealth to help the less fortunate or give up comforts and conveniences to help the environment etc.

So - if you are an anti masker, are you also sceptical about reducing flying etc? If you are pro mask, are you also pro recycling, pro tax etc? Or is something totally different going on?

OP’s posts: |
Dinosauratemydaffodils Sat 22-Aug-20 15:14:24

They also ask if those who are reluctant to wear masks may also recycle less, drive bigger cars and be reluctant to give up wealth to help the less fortunate or give up comforts and conveniences to help the environment etc.

My mum hates masks, not totally sure why. She recycles everything and has done for as long as I remember. She loved living in Germany in the 80s/90s for their recycling compared to the UK. She doesn't have a car and either walks/takes public transport everywhere. She hasn't been on an airplane since the early 90s. She volunteers in a charity shop and does various other things for the community as well as having various charity direct debts set up. She frequents local shops, grows vegetables, hates airmiles and big corporations.

I suspect it's far more complicated. I hate masks because of trauma involving suffocation but I'm my mother's daughter. I recycle, I volunteered in a charity shop up until I had to stop when dc2 was 8 months due to no childcare, I was even in there 2 days before I went into labour. I donate to the food bank. We don't fly often and haven't at all since dc1 was born 5 years ago.

Bishybarnybee Sat 22-Aug-20 15:23:36

That's interesting, Dinosauratemydaffodils, as I wrote the post I was thinking "Hang on, are they suggesting it's a left/right issue?", which wasn't what I've seen particularly. I guess you could interpret it as selfish/unselfish or scientific/anti science , but I don't think either of those are right either.

I totally understand that there are health and trauma issues for many, but there are definitely some people for whom it seems more like a matter of principle.

OP’s posts: |
Frazzled13 Sat 22-Aug-20 15:42:32

Some of the most pro-mask people are anti any kind of exemption, and think people with disabilities should stay home etc. That's not very community minded.

I also think they need to separate out why people are reluctant mask wearers. I don't disagree with the law, but I find masks honestly incredibly unpleasant. I'm sure some people would say I need to get a grip and "man up", which would be silly as I do "man up" because I do wear them and I wear them properly. So you could say I'm a reluctant mask wearer but I don't think I'd automatically have anything in common politically with someone who views it as a freedom issue. I'm a reluctant mask wearer in the same way I'm a reluctant smear test attender - I find it unpleasant but recognise the necessity.
Incidentally I'm about as much of a bleeding heart as you can get, pro-tax, have a tiny car when I could afford something bigger, recycle everything, go to lots of effort to reduce waste, haven't flown in years, etc.

Ritascornershop Sat 22-Aug-20 15:43:44

Oh, that sounds like total nonsense. I am skeptical about masks - partly because people don’t wear them properly, they fiddle with them, many seem to think if confers magical protection so then stand too close, don’t wash their hands. I had someone pull down their mask and cough a few feet from me yesterday when I was out for a walk. I don’t wear one unless forced as I have chronic migraines and it makes it worse.

I recycle, volunteer, vote left, walk when I can. I’ve been vegetarian for over 30 years for ethical reasons. Basically the New Scientist is saying that people who wear masks are “being kind” and the rest of us are selfish gits. hmm That’s nonsense.

PurpleDaisies Sat 22-Aug-20 15:47:04

What’s your definition of an anti masker? I’m avoiding anywhere I need to wear a mask. I’m wearing one where they are compulsory and I cannot avoid going to that location.

Bishybarnybee Sat 22-Aug-20 16:14:29

Basically the New Scientist is saying that people who wear masks are “being kind” and the rest of us are selfish gits

It was just one letter, not an article. I think you are possibly right that the subtext is the writer congratulating themselves on being community minded. I was just curious to see if there was any kind of correlation of views as they suggest.

What’s your definition of an anti masker?

I'm thinking about those who are opposed on principle rather than because they have a concrete reason to not wear them. It interests me because it really doesn't seem that big a deal to me but I appreciate it is a huge deal to others.

OP’s posts: |
PurpleDaisies Sat 22-Aug-20 16:24:46

I'm thinking about those who are opposed on principle rather than because they have a concrete reason to not wear them.

Do you mean people who are opposed on principle and also not wearing one, or those who are just opposed on principle but complying because of the five?

PurpleDaisies Sat 22-Aug-20 16:24:55

Fine not five!

HeresMe Sat 22-Aug-20 16:26:16

It's nonsense I bet most of the mask Nazis on here are 4x4 drivers driving less than a mile to school go on multiple holidays.

Waxonwaxoff0 Sat 22-Aug-20 16:28:15

I wear one but I hate doing it. I don't own a car at all, I recycle and I volunteer every week at a homeless hostel so there you go.

FlySheMust Sat 22-Aug-20 16:51:44

HeresMe

It's nonsense I bet most of the mask Nazis on here are 4x4 drivers driving less than a mile to school go on multiple holidays.

Nazis? Don't be silly.

annabel85 Sat 22-Aug-20 16:58:36

I'll willingly wear one without complaint, it's just inconvenient more than anything.

A few times i've gone out for a walk and then thought i'll just pop into the shop to buy a drink or a snack or whatever and then just before I walk in I realise I haven't got a mask. Therefore I don't go in.

BatShite Sat 22-Aug-20 17:05:19

MIL is possibly most anti mask person I know and that doesn't fit her at all. She gives fortunes to charity, gives up a lot of time for community projects and is always up our arse about recycling although we already do apparently its not enough! So nope..could be an outlier though I guess but reads just as another 'people who wear masks are better people who care' thing really.

HeresMe Sat 22-Aug-20 17:09:33

Nazis? Don't be silly.

Have you missed all the threads on here then people are pretty bad about it

TheGreatWave Sat 22-Aug-20 17:21:59

Is the letter writer in the USA? I think there is perhaps more of a political divide over the issue of masks there.

annabel85 Sat 22-Aug-20 17:24:22

TheGreatWave

Is the letter writer in the USA? I think there is perhaps more of a political divide over the issue of masks there.

The British just like to moan. The Americans take it to extremes.

TrustTheGeneGenie Sat 22-Aug-20 17:25:46

Massive generalisation.

I hate wearing a mask, but I recycle. I drive a hybrid car and I fly like once a year. I have cut down massively on plastic bottle use too.

I feel like this is just an attempt to paint people who don't like masks as total selfish non caring arseholes in all aspects of life, when in reality I just don't like it because it's uncomfortable and pointless.

KitKatastrophe Sat 22-Aug-20 17:26:05

I am anti mask but I dont fit any of your criteria. I'm a scientist, I recycle and use reusable where possible (reusable nappies, cloth sanitary towels, cloth baby wipes, washable kitchen roll and toilet roll, ethical and eco friendly clothing) I dont fly and I drive an economical car.

I wouldnt have been against masks if they were implemented at the peak of infections. Bringing them in when we are at 2 deaths per day seems like the government just cow-towing to public pressure and social media, rather than actually following data and science. Same with enforcing quarantine from countries with lower number of cases than we have here.

KitKatastrophe Sat 22-Aug-20 17:27:08

I feel like this is just an attempt to paint people who don't like masks as total selfish non caring arseholes in all aspects of life
I agree. Not everyone who wears a mask is a saint either

FlySheMust Sat 22-Aug-20 17:27:54

HeresMe

*Nazis? Don't be silly.*

Have you missed all the threads on here then people are pretty bad about it

But no one has suggested genocide, have they? That's what Nazis do. You need to get a grip. It's a pathetic and tasteless comparison.

Qasd Sat 22-Aug-20 17:34:25

Umm I think this is over simplistic. I think with all activities it’s about perception of risk and reward. Many people are happy to enjoy their own wealth not thinking of the poor until a disaster stricken then suddenly donate money, goods etc to disaster relief. People are persuaded to not use hose pipes when there really is no rain but the moment the rain starts they are more likely to think water preservation isn’t as important any more.

I think this has been the problem with masks in the U.K. it would have been easier if mask use had been required at the height of the pandemic when we were hearing of 1000 deaths a day..at such time the need would have seemed great and if habits formed then we may do better now. As it is we tried to introduce masks at a time when cases and deaths were falling and persecution that the risk was falling. Thus I think we get more push back. I predict much more mask wearing as the winter goes on as people will start to believe the “I need to reduce the threat to others” when they start to believe there is more of a threat. Note this is actually similar to the Second World War when fat from “making sacrifices all the time” we do see the public’s compliance with measures change in relation to the perceived imment threat...so children were evacuated in September but many came home at the Christmas only to be sent away again later when bombing increased. We are on the whole better at responding to a visible problem (whether one that impacts on ourselves or others) and acting according than you a theoretical threat in the future. But I think it’s more about how able we are to think about future threats rather than inherent selfishness in not wanting to do anything about them.

MoreW1ne Sat 22-Aug-20 17:38:04

I'll chuck out the opposing position. I have no issue wearing a mask but I'm very selfish. I cooperate when it's in my best interest, I recycle when it's easy but cant be arsed half the time and take multiple flights a year. Heck, I've even driven to the ice cream van before at the bottom of my road.

So rest assured, not all us mask wearers are community minded grin

RaspberryRuff Sat 22-Aug-20 17:38:10

KitKatastrophe

I am anti mask but I dont fit any of your criteria. I'm a scientist, I recycle and use reusable where possible (reusable nappies, cloth sanitary towels, cloth baby wipes, washable kitchen roll and toilet roll, ethical and eco friendly clothing) I dont fly and I drive an economical car.

I wouldnt have been against masks if they were implemented at the peak of infections. Bringing them in when we are at 2 deaths per day seems like the government just cow-towing to public pressure and social media, rather than actually following data and science. Same with enforcing quarantine from countries with lower number of cases than we have here.

Agree with this. I wear one but am sceptical about what good they actually do. I don’t wang on about it being a breach of my civil rights and just get on with wearing it. Still hate them though

annabel85 Sat 22-Aug-20 17:39:38

KitKatastrophe

I am anti mask but I dont fit any of your criteria. I'm a scientist, I recycle and use reusable where possible (reusable nappies, cloth sanitary towels, cloth baby wipes, washable kitchen roll and toilet roll, ethical and eco friendly clothing) I dont fly and I drive an economical car.

I wouldnt have been against masks if they were implemented at the peak of infections. Bringing them in when we are at 2 deaths per day seems like the government just cow-towing to public pressure and social media, rather than actually following data and science. Same with enforcing quarantine from countries with lower number of cases than we have here.

The government were asleep at the wheel in March and too slow to lockdown. The fact we should have locked down earlier doesn't mean we shouldn't have locked down at all. The fact we should have been wearing masks in March doesn't mean we shouldn't wear them now.

The reality was we didn't have the supply. Nurses were in bin bags in March/April.

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