There’s no need to reiterate how much Covid-19 has affected us. Worldwide, we have faced governmental restrictions placed on us unlike anything most of us have faced before. Much of the world requires that individuals cover their face with cloth face coverings when in public in hopes of decreasing the spread of the virus.
While much talk has been centered around the efficacy of masks’ protection against the virus spread, very little has been shared about the psychological impacts of mask wearing.
Humans are social creatures. We use our voices and facial movements to communicate with each other. When we cover our faces, we limit our ability to communicate with each other, and in essence, de-humanize our social connection to each other.
Regardless of how you feel about covid lockdowns and other restrictions, the negative psychological effects of human facelessness due to masks should not be underestimated!
We’ve been trained to no longer view other people in public as human, but instead as potential pathogens to avoid. We’re being trained to view faces and smiles (the very thing necessary for human connection and interaction) as “dangerous” and something to hide away from.
This is wrong.
This is depressing.
This goes against our innate human need for connection.
And much of it is based on bad science.
So though it may seem as though everyone else around you in public is happy to comply with these masking/facelessness orders as they comply with local mandates, here’s a secret for you:
Not everyone else around you is happily wearing a mask.
But when everyone uniformly wears a mask out of fear (whether that be fear of the virus or just of social shunning) – how can you know who:
– also misses smiles?
– is willing to smile at you?
– sees you as more than a potential pathogen to avoid?
– also questions the science/statistics these current restrictions have been based on?
With mask mandates likely to be with us for the foreseeable future – what can we do? What if you are required to mask but you still want to show solidarity with other and that you recognize the importance of smiles?
On December 21, 2020, Ivor Cummings posted this post to his large-following twitter account:
To read the screenshots in more depth, click each thumbnail image below:
And a movement was born!
The Smiley Face Pin idea took off on twitter, people began ordering badges to wear in public, profile images were changed to include a smiley face icon, and this smilesmatter.info website was created.
Ready to join in?
Want to learn more first?