catcalling coronavirus harassment masks

Women are keeping their masks on to ward off the “male gaze,” and anti-maskers are losing their shit

Now that the CDC has, perhaps prematurely, given the go-ahead for vaccinated people to dispense with face masks outdoors, you might think the anti-maskers would calm down a little. But the fact that some people are continuing to wear masks despite the new CDC guidance has kept many of the anti-Maskers boiling over with anger.

Here’s a columnist for the Daily Wire losing it on twitter over those who continue wearing mass now that it’s (allegedly) medically unnecessary:

I think he might want to try decaffinated coffee for a while.

Meanwhile, over on the American Thinker blog, Andrea Widburg is railing at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for saying that she would continue wearing the mask in indoor public spaces:

I know I ought to pity her — she’s obviously suffering from some form of PTSD or self-inflicted Stockholm Syndrome — but I’d be lying if I said I did.  AOC is part of a cadre of leftists who used masks and lockdowns to destroy 2020’s election integrity and install a pretender in the White House (and who knows how many in Congress).  I’d like to imagine her living for a long time in her mental hell, one that’s a direct byproduct of her irrational Church of Science.

It’s almost enough to convince me to order Widburg one of these.

But if you really want to send the ant-Maskers into orbit, tell them you’re going to keep wearing the masks for ulterior purposes that have nothing to do with COVID. Like the women in this Guardian article who say they’ve grown attached to their masks because when they’re masked up men leave them alone,

“Maybe it’s because I’m a New Yorker or maybe it’s because I always feel like I have to present my best self to the world, but it has been such a relief to feel anonymous,” one woman told the Guardian. “It’s like having a force field around me that says ‘don’t see me’.”

“I don’t want to feel the pressure of smiling at people to make sure everyone knows I’m ‘friendly’ and ‘likable’,” another perma-masker told the Guardian. “It’s almost like taking away the male gaze. There’s freedom in taking that power back.”

This nearly broke Veronica Hays of Newsbusters, who responded with a multi-paragraph rant, “How pathetic,” she said of the Guardian interviewee who thinks the masks are an antidote to the male gaze.

This poor woman would prefer to live in a sterile, faceless world so as to avoid some potential discomfort (or making an effort). That is not freedom. This woman’s dependency on the mask displays weakness, insecurity, and is a willful self-subjugation. Additionally, it attaches blame to men for simply existing in the public arena as it assumes every look holds malicious intent. 

Why not a hijab? Why not go all out and wear a full burqa? Or get thee to a nunnery. Covering up for modesty’s sake is a worthwhile endeavor, but concealing one’s visage out of spite against men?

The mask as a feminist power symbol is both cringey and counter-intuitive. Women should be celebrating their beauty and femininity rather than feel compelled to cover up out of misplaced fear/hatred for men.

Masks are at once dehumanizing and coddling. Persistent mask-wearing even without the presence of health risk is indulging fragile, poorly-adjusted individuals to remain so. The dependency of those who are not eagerly awaiting the unmasking of America is irrational. Personal insecurities are preventing people from surrendering the mask as well as addressing and overcoming internal issues which create this reliance. Mask-wearing is fostering a sense of general distrust between and among individuals, and in this case, is being used by feminists as another way to demonize men. 

Don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel.

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72 replies on “Women are keeping their masks on to ward off the “male gaze,” and anti-maskers are losing their shit”

I agree with Lumipuma. I’m keeping my mask on when outdoors all through pollen season, because not having that stuff invade my nose and throat feels great. Pre-pandemic I occasionally wore dust masks outdoors on particularly bad days, but it always felt weird and attention-drawing in public settings. I suppose it was naive of me to hope that in the post-COVID world we would all enjoy increased freedom to make our own protective facewear decisions without the judgment or policing of total strangers.

During the pandemic I have enjoyed the relative dearth of seasonal colds and other minor contagious illnesses, but I attribute that to going out in public much less often than in the Before Times, rather than to the mask itself. (In reality, both are probably factors.) I’ve also enjoyed the anonymity and the sense that my expression is not constantly being read (or misread) and the lack of self-consciousness over physical imperfections that would make me self-conscious if visible. If I have a mask on, nobody’s going to stare at the horrid cold sore that popped up overnight on my lip, and that makes it easier to go out and do the errands that need to be done.

Should I need any excuse for my choice to continue using a mask at times, I can use the pollen count for about 8 months a year – and in the winter I’ll just claim that it reduces the chance of frostbite while being far less bulky than a muffler or balaclava.

I live in Asia, and even before COVID there was totally a mask season, although you could see them year round. Usually winter, because of colds and the bad air quality. But you could see them for a variety of reasons all through out the year including “i didn’t put on makeup today” and “i just want to do my chores without my face on all the cctvs”. And it was really nice to not be cat called. 10/10 recommend masks.

@Bookworm: thanks. 🙂 I hope so too. Rheumatoid arthritis has been awful for me, and I’m not even that far along in the disease.

Re masks: another fringe benefit is if you have a huge hooked nose like mine that makes you easy to recognize as Jewish. A properly worn mask covers that nose, and bypasses a surprising amount of antisemitic harassment.

bypasses a surprising amount of antisemitic harassment

I’m so sorry you have to deal with that! Ugh, another dent in my faith in the goodness of humanity… 😡

Sort of OT…I don’t know where else to rant about this, I guess. I’m feeling this…sort of broadly-spread sense of background annoyance, which I’m trying to deconstruct for myself. I’m happy that some people* have been having epiphanies as they see the problems of policing of women’s clothing choices. I see, and m grateful, that they are finally understanding things that Muslim women have been telling them for years about how our clothing choices are seen as inherently problematic (and, as Veronica Hays comment showed, are used as easy shorthand for “awful oppressive stuff we should hate”). I mean, this is good, right? More awareness? Maybe some traction to fight back against some of the laws that police women’s/afab clothing? I hope so…but…

But it’s also tiring, not to mention disheartening, to hear people suddenly “discover” things that we have been telling the world for years. It reminds me of the way women talk about, say, experiences with online sexual harrassment, and no one listens, and then a man shows up to share the exact same thought and suddenly, wow, how original, such insight!! So with this I’m like, oh, this is novel to you? Wow, women might like keeping aspects of their bodies private! How original, covering your face does not mean you are a misanthropic anti-social loser! Such insight, people might actually like the way they look when dressed like this!

I dunno, it just…bugs me.

* I’m NOT talking about the folks here, btw! I’m so grateful for this site. WHTM commenters don’t pull that nonsense, not that I’ve seen. You all rock.

LOL Matt Walsh. I’ve seen that sad case on Twitter. Such sensationalistic railing does not surprise me; he’s a sorry, insipid little bastard if ever there was one.

And @dalillama: seconded, on all counts.

@Bookworm in hijab:

Last summer, I boarded the city bus wearing two bandanas over my head and face in an arrangement that suggested a niqab*—and got told to go back to my country (and never mind that my legs to the knee and my upper chest were visible, and that I was carrying a sack of pork rinds.)

I have the privilege of a physical appearance that makes that sort of experience a surprise; for you, I bet that’s Saturday.

*To keep my scalp from getting sunburned, if you‘re wondering.

@ bookworm in hijab

But it’s also tiring, not to mention disheartening, to hear people suddenly “discover” things that we have been telling the world for years.

I’m sort of working on something about this with someone. She’s a proper professor and unlike me actually clever and knows about stuff. So I’ll wait until the finished product before commenting further. I don’t want to flood the thread with hundreds of unedited words.

But one thing we’re looking at is how humans have amazing abilities to ignore the obvious. Sometimes this can be overcome. I don’t think it’s a new phenomena. Look at how old phases like ‘road to Damascus’ and ‘scales fell from my eyes’ are. What you are describing is essentially, epiphany. That seems to be a common human experience. And what is epiphany but suddenly seeing what was on front of you all the time?

In the interim though you have my sympathies; and I think I really get where you’re coming from.

Full Metel Ox,

I have to say, I cracked up at the “sack of pork rinds”. Observant, they are not!

I wish we could do a Mammoth meet-up. I have a mental image of a lot of the commenters, and I’d love to meet you all in person! Maybe post-covid…

Alan, I know I have my blind spots too! This site has really made me aware of how casually ableist a lot of my speech was (“cr*zy” and similar). I’m sure I have been the cause of a lot of people rolling their eyes. It was in front of me all this time, as you say, and I’d never noticed.

I’m very intrigued by your project! Share/link on WHTM when you’re finished? I do disagree with your “unlike me” phrase, though. I think you are very clever.


The conventional wisdom at least until recently seems to have been that cold and flu are spread mostly by touch

I saw an interesting article on that just yesterday:

Based on that it looks like a lot of the ‘conventional wisdom’ was based on studies on tuberculosis decades ago… and what it really comes down to is that one of the most crucial aspects (for Covid especially) is ventilation so that people aren’t stuck rebreathing each other’s air.

I’m keeping my mask on because chuckleheads like this aren’t getting vaccinated and I don’t want them breathing all over me. They might “only” have a cold or flu and I don’t want that either. Everyone I know is happy about not getting some kind of crud during the winter, and not so much allergies in the spring. Kind of a hassle in midsummer, but very nice for keeping your nose warm in midwinter.

Not being told to “smile!” by these assholes is just a bonus. Particularly since my normal expression is RBF. I can’t help it, my face is built that way.

Also, it hides pimples and the teeth I haven’t been able to afford to get fixed.

@Bookworm: that reply is beautiful.

Another thing I remembered. A physical mask is way more comfortable than the other mask.
I’m autistic and with a mask on I don’t need to pretend to be NT.


I just have this big honker of a Dutch nose I get from my dad. I like the mask covering it though

@ bookworm in hijab

That’s very kind of you to say. But I’m fortunate that I get to hang with some very clever people, in all sorts of fields. I like that; I learn so much from them. But it really puts my own (lack of) knowledge into perspective!

I have my blind spots too!

I suspect we all do. But of course, would we recognise them? If they are truly blind spots then by definition we wouldn’t.

But this is one of the issues. When is it genuine ignorance, and when is it denial?

It’s interesting to compare our own actions and beliefs in a contemporary setting. But even moreso against history.

To over simplify, what actions and beliefs currently held by society, even progressives, will be considered abhorrent by future generations? Will people on some 23rd century forum be urging “They must have known it was wrong even back then?”; and how does that compare with how we now judge our forebears.

“They must have known it was wrong even back then?”

Definitely re climate change; probably (I think) re industrial-scale mistreatment of animals :-/

I get sick 4 times a year whenever the seasons change. Its been this way for as long as I can remember…..except this year. Now it could be because I was unemployed and around people less but since I can’t stay unemployed ill just keep wearing my mask


Hey it’s okay! TBH I’ve been pretty lucky – I live in one of the more liberal states and have a lot of privilege in other ways. But yeah, antisemitism is alive and well in the US.

And ugh yes, mood re people “discovering” stuff. Likewise dealing with the perpetual shock and surprise of more privileged liberals. “Wait the police are bad actually? I’d never have guessed!” Uh yeah, you didn’t have to guess, Black/Indigenous/disabled/trans people were telling you for decades. You just weren’t listening. 😐


Ah yeah, it’s a mood. I have really mixed feelings about my Jewish shnoz. A lot of my dislike for it is probably internalized antisemitism, but also big noses are considered unfeminine in the US, so I don’t pass as well and yeah. The feelings vary TBH. Some days it’s okay, others I feel like I have a big ol’ tumor on my face.


Since I brought up antisemitism and this is proximate… I just wanted to mention that I’ve been following the latest from Palestine, and I’m just absolutely furious. Furious at Netenyahu for being a genocidal piece of shit, furious at Biden for being chicken to intercede, furious at many “progressive” representatives for taking Israel’s side. And maybe more than anything, furious at Jewish sellouts who continue to back Netenyahu despite his clearly evil, exterminationist POV; and at Christians who continue to back Israel claiming it’s to protect us – and acting like they’re our saviors, while silencing the huge number of Diaspora Jews who are opposed to Zionism.

What Israel is doing in Palestine is genocide, plain and simple. I ask that those of you who can, please find the time to call up your reps and pressure them to take a stand. And this includes local officials – local boycotts help too! Cambridge, MA is already making moves in the direction of severing ties to HP and other companies that uphold Israel’s apartheid; it would be good if other cities and towns followed suit.

while silencing the huge number of Diaspora Jews who are opposed to Zionism…What Israel is doing in Palestine is genocide, plain and simple.

I have so much respect and love for those of you who speak up on this. Please keep doing it. Your voices are necessary.


They must have known it was wrong even back then?”;

Which “they” is of course the question. For any given historical place where documentation has survived to the present, there are some things that are pretty routinely accounted as evil by the sort of people who worry about morality. Slavery and genocide are the leaders in that one, although many past thinkers considered slavery a necessary evil to maintain civilization. In their own context, they might not even have been wrong: mining is pretty essential to civilization, and as far as anyone can tell it wasn’t til ~1300 years back that free workers were willing to go down a mine for any wage. Prior to that, the dangers and privations were so overwhelming that working a mine was a death sentence in slow motion, life expectancy was under 5 years in many cases, and nobody with a choice would go down those hellish holes for anything. So the Republican Romans who said slavery was horrible but necessary for Rome’s existence were probably right. Whether Rome’s continued existence was worth that is of course a separate question.

With y’all entirely on the annoyance of people ‘discovering’ that the US is a dystopian genocidal apartheid state (there’s a reason we’re such good pals with Israel, there), or rather, ‘discovering’ some sub element of the system, decrying that specific thing (say, police brutality), and then act like it’s an aberration against the default glory that is the US.

Re: noses, my family has a very impressive one, which has so far proved dominant regardless of our other ancestry. Based on portraits, it appears that we inherited it from Charlemagne. I’ve always thought of it as distinctive, rather than attractive or unattractive as such, but I’ve also never caught any bigotry for it, so my perspective is a bit different to y’all’s. I also never really thought of it as unfeminine, cos all my aunts and cousins on that side have it too.

They must have known it was wrong even back then?

Some candidates:

  • Animal exploitation
  • Prisons
  • Parenting methods (see
  • The idea of a right to be a parent (vs. unfit parents and vs. needing to limit birthrates to replacement rate in a crowded world)
  • Large scale habitat destruction and pollution in general
  • Designing and selling things without any concern for their eventual disposal, rather than planning for the entire lifecycle of a product, including the composting, incineration, or recycling of its parts; the notion that you can just “throw things away” when you’re done with them and they’ll actually go away and can then be ignored
  • Punishment of any kind … remarkably, unproven as an actually effective deterrent, and all too often thinly disguised retribution, when not completely undisguised
  • Privacy and secrecy, other than intervals of personal privacy in the bathroom and bedroom, short-term “tactical” secrecy (e.g. of battle plans in war), and secrecy of passwords, private crypto-keys, and similar authentication tokens
  • Copyrights and patents, and a few more obscure types of monopoly grant, such as “design patents” (which are more like copyrights than regular patents) and short exclusivity periods on, in places, news headlines and stock quotes (which aren’t copyrightable since you can’t copyright facts)
  • Borders and nationalism
  • Not granting legal rights to nature, species, and certain unique and irreplaceable things and places, including a right to counsel (since these cannot speak for themselves); granting them a proxy vote as stakeholders in decisions; something like Karl Schroeder’s deodands. Closest we have right now are historical preservation rules in some jurisdictions against knocking down or too-severely altering buildings of historical significance, the Endangered Species Act, national parks and conservation laws, and advocacy organizations with little legal clout. There’s no overarching structure where some body can force the legislature to make some spot a national park, etc., by making an argument about its uniqueness or whatever before some judge or suchlike and getting a binding decision in its favor.

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