How can wearing masks become the "cool" thing to do?

I’m thinking back to seatbelts. There was resistance. I didn’t wear mine all the time at first. Now I buckle it as soon as I’m in the car. Hell, I wear it in my driveway and when I’m going through the car wash.

A national mandate to wear masks ain’t gonna fly IMHO. (Joe pretty much said that the other day. No cite.) There’s no efficient way to enforce it and plenty of people are just contrary enough NOT to do it just 'cause the gummint says I hafta. Cf. creeping socialism.

Is there a way to make mask-wearing the cool, trendy, hip, “in” thing to do?

Endorsements by people’s role models and idols? Tough, macho, gun-toting, musclebound, hairy, tattooed guys wearing them while holding up the body of some bullet-ridden animal? I’m saying this because I’m hypothesizing that this is the most resistant group.

Celebrity promotion? Top Hollywood stars and musical performers? Priests and pastors promoting masks? “WWJD? He’d wear a mask!” The Pope could offer plenary indulgences out the wazoo for mask wearing. Prizes, contests, tax benefits???

I’m wracking my brains here.

Until there’s a vaccine that most people will take (another obstacle :roll_eyes: ) near-universal mask-wearing is the only thing that will keep the stores, restaurants, small businesses, schools, etc. functioning in the near and near-ish future. And I suspect we’re going to need to keep wearing them for a couple more YEARS before we’re truly over the hump. That’s just my opinion and please, let’s not go down that rabbit hole.


Cough in their face.

I don’t think it would work. After 2 weeks, any cool, trendy thing that everyone is doing will no longer be cool and trendy. It could only save its cachet if not everyone is doing it, at which point, well, not everyone is wearing masks.


That’s the best ya got?

Seat belts still aren’t cool because they’re basically selfish. Masks have always been cool, look at Zorro, Batman, El Kabong (the cartoon character, not the Doper). We do need to make the Covid masks more cool though, they could have a lot of cool looking images on them. I wear a neck thing with the image of a skull over a surgical or regular cloth mask. It’s cool looking and it keeps the other mask in place.

The problem is that masks have become a political issue, cool or not cool doesn’t matter there, it’s about tribalism. The mask wearing tribe has one big advantage though, we’re staying alive. That’s kind of cool in itself.

I think the masks will be more appealing when the weather is cooler, so when the temps are cool, it will be “cool” to wear the mask. I am eager to see if more masks are worn when it is below freezing. My county is mask averse, and it is horrifying to see reality totally ignored out here, especially after the spike of cases in the past week.

Excellent point. One hopes that issue will become less fraught after Biden takes office and DJT leaves the country. Ok. I said it. It’s my thread, so I can. …um…in the future.

I think it’s going to take a concerted effort to constantly and consistently show all celebrities and politicians ALWAYS wearing the right kind of masks.

Currently, we have lots of TV shows where they are socially distanced, but not wearing masks (Wheel of Fortune, for example), and others, like college/pro football where the coaches are wearing masks, bandanas, face shields, mesh face masks(WTF?) and whatever they want. Or nothing at all. And then you have numb-nuts like those in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government who refuse to wear masks at all, along with some Senators, Congressmen, Governors, etc…

I suspect that lots of other entertainment types aren’t necessarily wearing masks in public appearances/tweets, etc… either.

I think if ALL the people on TV consistently and always wore masks, that would get the message across. Right now, it seems to be much more of a scattershot and inconsistent thing, and I believe that sends mixed and confusing messages to people, and the ultimate response is that not as many people wear masks as often as they should.

Anecdotally I’d say most of the people I know generally wear seatbelts for 2 reasons: The car will not stop beeping until seatbelt is put on and the police could be anywhere and failure to wear a seatbelt is a quick £100 fine. Many others would wear a seatbelt purely for theirs and others safety, but it’s not “cool” and the 2 negative consequences of non seatbelt use overweigh the positives.

In some areas, it might work to promote mask-wearing as the neighborly thing to do.

Get more people reading and posting here. I am quite concerned about the potential long-term liberty and freedom consequences of the pandemic here is the US, but firmly and strongly believe nobody should be in a crowd or public indoors spaces without the best mask they can get a hold of, and support state and local rules to enforce it.

I’d probably fall more in the personal freedom camp if I wasn’t reading here so much.

It was never going to be cool, but it could have been patriotic. Any other president, Democratic or Republican, could have framed it as an issue of national pride to wear a mask and keep infection numbers down. The incumbent could have made a mint selling masks in red, white, and blue.

This is in today’s NYTimes covid briefing newsletter:

The power of mask mandates

They’re restrictive, tedious and hotly contested, but since the early days of the pandemic we’ve known masks to be an efficient and cost-effective way to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

And they’re even better, it turns out, when you oblige people to wear them.
Take Kansas, where a real-world experiment in face coverings emerged this summer. In early July, Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, issued a statewide mask order, but was forced to let counties opt out of it under a law limiting her emergency management powers.

Only 20 of the state’s 105 counties enforced the order, which required residents to wear masks in public. Those 20 counties saw half as many new coronavirus infections as the counties that did not have the mandate in place, according to a new study from the University of Kansas.
Cellphone-tracking data from the University of Maryland showed no differences in how often people left home in the counties with or without mask mandates, so it seemed likely that the masks made the difference.

Experts say it’s part of a countrywide trend: Localities that impose mask mandates often see fewer cases, fewer hospitalizations, fewer deaths and lower test-positivity rates than nearby localities that do not.
Other studies have turned up similar results in Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. A recently published report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 75 percent drop in coronavirus cases in Arizona less than a month after mask-wearing became enforced and bars and gyms were shuttered.

The country has to figure out a way to get people to do this, if not a national mandate (Ibid. “Creeping socialism”), then maybe there’s a way for state or local gummints to seriously get on the mask bandwagon. It seems incredibly STOOOPID to me for people to resist it so much, screaming about individual freedumb! :angry: Until one of them gets sick-- too bad so sad. And how many people did they unknowingly and uncaringly infect while on the road to enlightenment??

IMHO there are only two things that would convince many of the people who still refuse to wear masks to wear them: 1. If the virus mutates and becomes significantly more deadly in general or 2. the number of children who die or have serious side effects increases significantly.

That’s it. We’re not going to win any hearts and minds through human effort.

You could try promising them a quarter in the morning if they put their mask under the pillow.

There are two ways:

  1. Make mask-wearing a chic, good-looking thing to do. Some people actually look pretty nice with masks on; elegant and fashionable. Make this a “thing.”

  2. Have conservatives get cracked down on (Brer-Rabbit and the briar bush style) by some “liberal” for daring to wear a MAGA mask. Have that “liberal” get all hot and worked up about “how dare the conservatives wear those vile Trump masks???” and you’ll suddenly see conservatives wearing masks by the millions (as long as they have a defiant message). You need to beg not to be thrown into the briar bush; it’s all about reverse psychology.

Great idea! But lets up it to a dollar under the pillow.

That’s a real possibility. It was 1F this morning. I’m already used to neck gaiters and have a gaiter type mask that I double over. Very easy to just pull down to your neck if there is no need for it (say driving by myself). But it’s always there to pull up and cover. It’s comfortable.

And yeah, I know it’s not n95. But by doubling it over my ‘exhaust’ doesn’t just go around the edges like it does on other masks. It wraps around my entire head.

These are exactly what I was going to recommend. Push masks as fashionable, like in the countries that had then pre-pandemic. Patterns and such, color coordination, add shiny parts that cost more (while keeping cheap ones around). Have famous, fashionable people wearing them for fashion even when in situations where they aren’t required. You can even throw in a backlash for those who want to keep them simple and rustic, or otherwise creating a fashion war where not wearing a mask isn’t even treated like an option.

And, yes, take advantage of the conservative anti-liberal defiance. Get mad at them for wesring MAGA masks like we did MAGA hats. Have some prominent atheists go on about Christian masks. Put out the “war on Christmas” masks and start going to town on that. Maybe even mock those handkerchief masks as making them look like redneck outlaws.

Sure, it seems childish and easy to see through, but so was the anti-mask push. And since it only takes a few, you can later point them out as the exception and disavow them.

I stumbled across this this morning. Could be relevant.

In their invaluable book Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath describe how an antilittering campaign successfully changed the littering habits of Texans, after messages such as “Please Don’t Litter” and “Pitch In” failed with the target demographic (the typical litterer was a man, between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five, drove a pickup, and liked sports and country music).

For the campaign, famous Texans such as George Foreman, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Willie Nelson, and various sports figures made TV spots with the message “Don’t mess with Texas.” The campaign convinced viewers that a true Texan—a proud, loyal, tough, virile Texan—doesn’t litter. During the campaign’s first five years, visible roadside litter dropped 72 percent. Our habits reflect our identity.

From the book Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin