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How to look smarter with your face mask

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HOW TO LOOK SMARTER WITH YOUR 

FACE MASK






THE FACE MASK AMIDST THE EPIDEMIC…. TO THE PANDEMIC

Thanks to the pandemic also known as coronavirus or COVID 19, the face
mask has fast become a popular byword and also to be one of the fast 
selling consumer items for the year 2020. 

But don't get me wrong about being grateful to the vicious invincible enemy.

Definitely, it is a NO thanks to this vicious pandemic that caused  massive
devastation to the global economy and infecting  6 million people and the
327,000 plus global deaths and still counting as of this writing.

I must admit, we have had enough of the very sad stories all around us
for the past more than two months. With all the daily global count and
increasing number of body bags causing most of us mental stress and
leaving us paranoid about everything we touch and with the way we treat
people who cross our paths.

Is this the new normal our respective governments are talking about? Indeed
it is not normal!

This blog is not going to dwell on the current global pandemic crisis,
rather on the evolution of the face mask and how it came to what it
is today to the lives of millions of people around the globe.

I never really cared about face items such as masks. My only recollection
of these face covers is when I visit hospitals which is very rare and when I visit
my dentist. Fast forward January 2020, I started to notice the masks coming in
different fabrications, shapes, and designs.

No doubt, face masks are now playing a very important role in people's
daily lives. Since the onset of the global pandemic,  even the daily and routine
tasks that people have such as walking their dog would be seen wearing the
face masks within their communities.

Even celebrities like Ben Affleck, the Hollywood actor who was seen wearing
a face mask while walking his dog was recognized.



Some pet parents went to the extreme and started having their fur babies
wearing face masks. Out of fear of their fur babies may get the virus. Being 
a pet parent myself for the past 10 years, I had the same thoughts about having
my two-year-old yorkshire terrier wear a mask out of my concern for his health. 
The last thing a pet parent wants is their pets getting infected. I am glad that
there is no scientific evidence that pets can be virus carriers.

Fur babies with face masks photo credit



Not to forget our families, friends, and people with disabilities, such as being deaf
and mute. The enemy forced the communities to shut off their mouths.  The
issue is, how would the disabled communicate with the world?

Well, this is where creativity comes in. Daily lives become more convenient thanks
to all the creative individuals around us.

As the saying goes, “ if there is a will, there is always a way”.
Who would imagine that the  transparent face masks  will be designed for
such purpose?

Transparent face masks for the deaf and hard of hearing. photo credit


The past three months will be memorable enough for all of us.
While we praised the courageous efforts of all the front-liners that continued to
risk their lives in mitigating the enemy,   the rest of us being the home-liners
are heroes as well by being home to make the jobs of the front-liners a lot easier.



Staying at home for weeks does not mean we stop learning about new things.
One of the valuable lessons we learned is how cultural differences treat face
masks.

As a home-line,r I began to understand how different cultures can treat face
masks. That is, different cultures meant different beliefs and interpretations about
wearing face masks.

DIFFERENT CULTURES

Southeast Asia
People in Southeast Asian countries wear face masks out of courtesy and
consideration towards others. It's not about one’s health but it's more about
the concern for the health and welfare of others. By nature people from Asia tend
to think about others' welfare first. The hospitality and accommodating culture is
deep-rooted for many generations.

Since the year 2019 when I migrated back, I have lived in the Philippines for the
past one year and true to the Asian culture, people from all walks of life in the
country can easily transition to wearing masks. No frills and no complaints about
the mask policy.

Japanese culture is obsessed with cleanliness and good hygiene.
This explains the wide use of face masks in Japan even before the coronavirus
outbreak.

Japanese masks culture. photo credit


The SARS virus outbreak way back in 2003 left a deep and long-lasting memory
among the Asians. The recent global outbreak that started in December 2019 in
Wuhan, China drove the Asian population to go to their first line of defense, the
face masks. Succeeded by community lockdowns and social distancing.

The daily Covid19 statistics in Asia is indicating a trend, the culture
can play a key factor to curb the enemy.



In western countries, the wearing of face masks connotes a different meaning
compared to its Asian counterpart. A liberated approach when it comes to any
form of confinement.

To a westerner, a country with a face mask can mean a sick nation. Hence, 
freedom from any form of confinement, and giving more importance to self than
the welfare of others is the name of the game.

The George Floyd (African American) protest is a case in point. A mass gathering
to protest systemic discrimination in the United States that has reached its
boiling point. Self-expression is more relevant than face masks and social
distancing.

Another good example is from the POTUS.
US President Donald Trump has not been seen wearing a face mask in public.
In spite of his daily battle with the US press and the criticisms by his political
enemies of not wearing the masks, he never ceases to amaze everyone during
his public appearances and press briefings. 

His influence on some communities in the US is discouraging the use of face
masks and social distancing practices.

“It's my health and it is not really your business if I decide to wear or not to wear
face masks”,  seems to be rhetoric for many.

The brave men and women that venture out in the streets and join mass protests
carrying slogans  “COVID is a LIE” as seen in the photo.

US states chart their own path amid the coronavirus pandemic. photo credit



While some cultures are just too slow to accept the importance of face masks
and other cultures are fast enough to transition to face covering , just as fast as
the spread of the deadly invincible enemy.


By first quarter of 2020,  

The face mask has invaded our lives and is now a common sight. You see it all
over the news media, social media, and from people coming from all walks of life.
All of a sudden we see people around us with  face covers.

I  visited my local grocery shop and I have not seen a single soul without any
face covering.

Most national governments implemented the wearing of face masks in public policy. Anyone can be barred from entering an establishment if without the face
costume. Business establishments started posting signage's at their entrances
with a “no face mask / no transaction policy”.

The policy gave negative signals and seemed discriminatory to some at the
beginning. In due time, people got used to the idea.



The enterprising businesses also took advantage of the face masks policy and
started launching and selling washable face masks. The consumer item can be
found everywhere and in every corner of business activity. 


THE NEW NORMAL WAY OF LIFE IS BORN

During the months of January and February, shelves had run out of medical face
masks amidst the virus scare. The shortage did not exempt  China,  which is
considered to be the factory of the world where most of anything is being
produced and exported.




There were reports that China started importing ventilators and medical face
masks from other countries in January 2020.

Photo shows the government 's strict imposition of wearing face masks in public
places. 




Related Article:





READ ON


Let me share a brief overview of the history.

The history of the mask dates back to the 6th century B.C where human images
made of stone were found to have faces covered. These images are located in
the doors guarding the Persian stone tombs. 

Why are these stone images found to have face covering?  

What is the symbolic meaning of images with face covering?

During the period, face masks represent supernatural beings, ancestors and
imagined figures. The belief was that highly admired spirits can be contained
within the masks. This early practice gave birth to face masks.

Persian Stone Images photo credit


During the 13th century Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) in China, a woven silk scarf
was used as face-covering by the servants of Marco Polo to protect the food being
served to the Italian explorer and trader. 

Marco Polo was born September 15, 1254, was an Italian explorer, merchant and
a writer that explored Asia using the silk road between 1271 to 1295.

Marco Polo photo credit



A photo that depicts a Mongolian outfit with face cover during the Yuan Dynasty.

photo credit.


 

The Black Death in Europe during the 14th Century forced the people to wear
face covering that is similar to today’s medical face mask worn by the health
worker.

Charles de Lormme,  a french doctor during the 16th century had invented the
the beak face mask that allows the wearer of  the mask visibility and medicinal leaves
stored in the beak of the mask to protect the wearer from any disease.

The popularity of the beast face mask during the so-called Black Death in Europe
ad symbolized the mask as “death” to the European people.

The Beak Mask photo credit


If you are interested to know more about the beak mask, you can visit the link:

The design of the face mask had evolved further during the age of exploration
prompting well-known explorers to redesign the mask.

In the 19th century, a scientist named Robert Brown from Scotland promoted the
benefits of face masks against dust pollution.

In 1848 American Lewis Hassley designed the protective mask for mining
explorers and applied for its patent. In 1861 Louis Pasteur, a french scientist
posited the existence of bacteria in the air, encouraging doctors to improvise their
mask by having several layers of gauze and strings attached on both sides secure
to the ears. 

THE NEW NORMAL AND THE  FASHION FACE MASK

The evolution of the face mask gave birth to the modern face masks of today.




The month of May 2020 gave some hope to humanity allowing the economy in
some nations to reopen once again. Some economies are still in total lockdown
during the month. What was once empty spaces for four two months, these
spaces had started to fill up again with people but caution.

Likened to a birdcage that was opened, curious but reluctant birds were ready
to fly away. Once again people were seen outside their homes,  walking and
driving to their favorite spot, it is like having a new lease of life,  a reset button
to a new life.

Out again, people’s faces are with masks,  but not N95 masks or the
surgical masks, but rather face masks in different fabrications, colors, shapes and
designs.


The old normal way of living is of the past, replaced by the so-called new normal.
Our lives outside of our homes will never be quite the same at least for many
months ahead of us until a preventive vaccine is invented.

We will have to adjust and get used to the new normal, social distancing, and
fashion face masks. What used to be a close and warm interaction has been
replaced by cold and social distancing interaction. 

I used to be only inches away from a neighbor whenever we crossed paths and
chatted. With our face masks and being 12 feet apart, it can be a struggle to
communicate.

Unusual it may seem, but that is the way it is. The fashion masks and the social
distancing can help protect our health, but the downside, this could result in
mental stress due to emotional distancing.

Social Distancing (photo credit)


THE FACE MASK AND THE INDUSTRY

The invisible enemy succeeded in shutting down profit and non-profit
organizations both big and small, affecting millions of people and leaving them
jobless.

The fashion industry had been badly affected that some of the well known major
retail brands that were already experiencing financial challenges even before the
pandemic was forced to file for bankruptcy, aggravated by the community
lockdown.

However, the industry as a whole will not allow itself to bow to the pandemic.

Factories located in southeast Asia started to realign their production for the
production of antibacterial face masks. These masks are in great demand that
was designed for the general public. 

The fashion  industry takes the global pandemic crisis as an opportunity to
anticipate a surging demand for fashion face masks.

Creative designers have come up with their eye-catching concepts
on how the fashion masks will function and look like for the buying public.

 Fashion Face Mask photo credit


The future of fashion masks will see exciting fabrications, colors, designs, and
functionality that we have never seen before. Washed down denim fabric fashion
masks for the millennial is not a remote idea.

The mass-market blue surgical color masks are replaced by coronavirus fashion
chic black and more exciting fashion print logo designs.

The fashion-conscious Japan will not leave out the face masks.
Hello Kitty brand and the other upscale brands have launched their fashion face
masks with their respective logo.



Fashion Face Masks photo credit


If work from home has become the new normal, this can be true for brand
fashion face masks that can demand high price tags.

We will witness a new wave of the general public wearing all sorts of stylish
fashion face masks. We are used to leaving our homes every day bringing with
us our lunch boxes and other essentials.

The age of advanced technology gave us our mobile phones now called
smartphones that became an essential part of our lives. The global pandemic has
given us another essential item that we will bring with
us when we face the world.

Another item that will allow us to express ourselves with our individual
preferences when choosing and wearing our fashion face masks.

The fashion face mask will surely be added to our daily ritual when we don our
working clothes whenever we step out of our homes.






One thing is for sure,  we will surely miss all the smiling faces under these
fashion face masks.....


Until next time...


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