Mask Shaming Is The New Hot Button Topic: My Recent, Ugly Experience
There has been quite a few articles written about the travel shaming phenomenon coming out of the pandemic. While I think it still happens, I do think people are starting to lessen up on it. With states opening back up and stay at home orders ending people are getting more comfortable with it. But that, along with most things, was really a one sided shaming. Essentially people that didn’t feel comfortable traveling were telling people that did feel comfortable traveling that they were wrong.
What has filled that void? Because we have to always have a hot button issue in America to take out on others. Enter in mask shaming. What is unique about this is the shaming goes both ways. You heard that right, people are being shamed for not wearing masks and also for wearing masks. It has gotten pretty ugly out there and I wanted to share our recent experience from this weekend.
This Isn’t A Mask Wearing or Not Wearing Debate
I want to start this off with saying that I don’t want this to be a debate about whether wearing masks do, or do not, make sense. If you listen to the podcast then you know that myself and Shawn prefer to wear masks in the public. I, personally, feel more comfortable being inside a public place when others wear them too. We have always tried to be very clear that we are not shaming people that are not wearing masks. We are simply discussing our feelings on the topic and what makes us feel comfortable when traveling etc.
Our Experience This Weekend With Mask Shaming
Restaurants just opened this week around Michigan. After driving around for a bit and checking out some neighborhoods for a potential move in a year we decided to grab some dinner. The protocols in Michigan were for people to wear masks when entering and leaving the restaurant or when going to the bathroom. You can remove them while you are seated at your table since all of the tables were properly social distanced. Because of this we wore our masks into the restaurant and my wife took my daughter to the bathroom while wearing her mask.
Upon entering the bathroom another patron of the restaurant took that as her chance to mask shame my wife and daughter. She said the following upon them entering the bathroom:
“I just feel so bad for your daughter that she has to wear that mask. She’s not going to have an immune system – she’s going to get so sick. Haven’t you learned anything from China? And I’m a nurse – I know.”
My wife said please mind your own business. That is the point where the lady said she would not mind her own business and looked at my daughter and said:
“I’m sorry hunny that your mommy is uneducated on this subject”
My wife responded, do not address my daughter. She then tried to get out of the bathroom while the woman was still rambling on.
My wife was obviously upset about this encounter when she got back to the table. Another patron who was in the bathroom apologized to my wife and said she was sorry she had to deal with that. The same woman also alerted the server to the altercation, who then spoke with the manager. The manager went over and addressed the woman, I am not sure what was said. She then came to the table and apologized for the experience and told us she was taking care of the meal. A totally unexpected and unnecessary gesture by the establishment since it wasn’t their fault. I could understand if it was an employee etc. but it was appreciated nonetheless.
Final Thoughts About Mask Shaming
I get that these are stressful times and people are taking time to adjust. But I am not sure that anyone has the right to parent shame someone when their child is not in danger. Unbeknownst to this random stranger is the fact that my wife has treated Covid-19 patients for work and seen what it can do up close. She has a pretty good understanding of the situation and is far from “uneducated” on it.
And that is the real point. You do not know anyone’s background, medical history or their family members medical history. So how can you make a judgement on their decisions? That goes both ways, you don’t know if that person not wearing a mask has a medical condition so it is best not to judge.
I will say our family has decided to follow the mask wearing policy for two reasons. First, because it is actually required by our state to enter public places. Most establishments have signs requiring them to enter as well. Secondly, we do it to make others feel more comfortable and out of respect for them. It is a courtesy that woman did not deserve but got anyway.
Please be kind to others in this time of stress. Or at least mind your own business if you are unable to. Our first night out in months was somewhat ruined by a woman that could do neither, and that is a shame.