Dr Will Courtenay: Male Masking

2 min

Most of the people not wearing masks are men and that, says Dr. Will Courtenay, isn’t surprising, because when it comes to their health, men are not the stronger sex.

No doubt you’ve noticed many people don’t wear masks in public, now  required by the state to reduce COVID-19. What you might not know, is that studies show most of these people are men who say masks can threaten their manhood.

Men often reject doing anything considered feminine like cleaning and childcare. Rejecting these things are ways for men to prove manhood. The COVID mask is the latest thing.

Now, despite hearing they’re “the stronger sex,” men are actually at
greater risk than women for all leading causes of death including
COVID and die five years younger. But they’re less likely to adopt
behaviors to reduce their risks like wearing seat belts, sunscreen or face coverings, which are now believed to protect them as well as others.

Of course, not all men disregard mask orders. But men are less likely
than women to adhere to all COVID safety measures including sheltering in place, physical distancing, washing hands or seeing a doctor. And though they’re more likely to test positive for COVID, they’re less likely to get tested.

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Worsening matters, men think they’re less vulnerable than women to every disease including COVID when they’re actually at greater risk. So they’re less likely to take precautions or seek healthcare early when diseases are treatable.

Men should take more precautions now, not fewer. They’re less healthy to begin with, having more severe chronic conditions than women increasing risk of COVID death. The problem is, taking precautions can weaken a man’s sense of manhood.

Indeed, many men surveyed say wearing a mask is a “sign of weakness” which men learn never to show. “Manning up” means being fearless. So, defiantly disregarding COVID risk displays fearlessness.

A maskless male face seems now to be the face of a “real” man. Really,  it’s just the sign of an irresponsible adult.

Protecting others has long been considered a “manly” thing to do. So
guys, be a patriot for your community: wear a mask to protect yourself and others. Not only will we foster healthier communities, we’ll also promote a healthier masculinity.

With a Perspective, this Dr. Will Courtenay.

Dr. Will Courtenay is a local psychotherapist specializing in
working with men and fathers.