Let’s face it — if you are a man in America, you are less likely to wear a mask. That’s not just a lazy stereotype: we have the data to prove it. According to a new study, of over 2,500 Americans, men are far more likely to object to the idea of covering their noses and mouths.
The survey, carried out by academics at the University of Middlesex, in England, and the Mathematical Science Research Institute in Berkeley, California, found that men were far more likely to give negative answers about masks, and far more likely to say they did not intend to wear a mask outdoors or during essential activities. Men were also more likely to agree with the statement that ‘wearing a face covering is not cool’ and agree that ‘wearing a face covering is shameful’, or a ‘sign of weakness’, or that ‘the stigma attached to wearing a face covering is preventing them from wearing one as often as they should.’
So — do real men not wear masks? Dr Valerio Capraro, one of the academics behind the study, said: ‘The fact that men are less inclined to wear a face covering can be partly explained by the fact that men are more likely to believe that they will be relatively unaffected by the disease compared to women.’
“This is particularly ironic,’ he added, somewhat cruelly, ‘because official statistics show that actually coronavirus impacts men more seriously than women.’
Well, Valerio, Cockburn can’t help also noting the recent data that suggests men with low testosterone are less likely to die from the virus, and wonder if a male chauvinistic revulsion towards face wearing might correlate with higher testosterone levels.
The results also showed that the differences between men and women in counties where wearing a face mask is mandatory are less significant and both males and females are more inclined to wear masks if the local-national laws state they have to. That suggests that men just need more time to get accustomed to the idea.
Cockburn, a man’s man if ever there was one, sincerely hopes that he doesn’t have to. The mask becomes the man, they say. But that doesn’t mean that men must find the mask becoming.