The real reason men are less likely to wear a face mask

How do you feel about wearing a face mask? Do you think they look kind of cute, and you’ve maybe got a whole line of masks in every color and pattern available so you can change up your look when you’re out and about, social-yet-distant? Or do you instead think they’re more of an uncomfortable necessity, a compromise you’ll grudgingly bear since that’s the only way Lyft’s going to give you a lift and Costco will let you back in their newly reopened food courts? Love ’em or hate ’em, face masks are just a part of our new post-pandemic world, at least for some time yet to come. The CDC is still pretty adamant that we all keep wearing them until COVID-19 no longer poses a threat — and no, it didn’t go away just because everyone got bored with self-quarantining.

Several recent surveys, however, show that there is one group of people who are less likely to obey the CDC’s guidelines regarding compulsory mask wearing, and that group is made up of those mysterious creatures whom we fondly refer to as men.

Why many men prefer to go maskless

A Gallup poll of adults who’d left the house during the third week in April found that 75 percent of women wore face masks at least some of the time, yet only 63 percent of men did so. Why such recklessness, particularly in light of the fact that, as Today points out, men seem to be more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus?

Another study conducted by researchers at London’s Middlesex University and the Mathematical Science Research Institute in Berkeley (via PsyArXiv) delved into the reasons behind men’s reluctance to take precautions against infection. While the findings indicated that this was partly due to the fact that many men assume that the disease won’t affect them, the main reason seems to boil down to that of self-image (imagine that). According to the study’s authors, “Men more than women agree that wearing a face covering is shameful, not cool, a sign of weakness, and a stigma.” So yeah, death before dorkiness.

In light of this news, The Cut made an effort to combat this image problem by pointing out several male celebs who, they claim, look “hot” in their facial coverings — famous (masked) faces including Tom Hardy and Timothée Chalamet. But hey, even if you don’t look like an A-lister donning your mask, you should still do it. Humanity is more important than vanity, after all.

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