Study Suggests Men Are Less Likely to Wear Face Masks Because They’re “A Sign of Weakness”

Protecting yourself and others from a deadly virus? Sounds lame.

face masks
Are men less likely to wear face masks than women?
ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images
By Kayla Kibbe / May 15, 2020 6:30 am

Can you literally die of toxic masculinity? That appears to be the question brave men everywhere are trying to answer by refusing to wear protective face masks because they’re “a sign of weakness.”

A new study found that men in the US report less intention to wear face coverings than their female counterparts, MarketWatch reported. Men’s unwillingness to wear face masks is particularly high in areas where face coverings are not mandatory, which authors of the paper from researchers at Middlesex University London and the Mathematical Science Research Institute in Berkeley, California take to suggest that face covering mandates have “a larger effect on men than on women.”

Though the authors noted that the study’s sample of 2,459 Amazon Mechanical Turk recruits was “quite heterogeneous” and not representative overall, the findings suggest an interesting discrepancy between men and women’s attitudes toward face coverings.

According to the survey, many men are resisting face masks because they believe they are not at a significant risk of being seriously affected by COVID-19, this despite the fact that various reports have suggested men are actually more vulnerable to the illness than women.

“The fact that men less than women intend to wear a face covering can be partly explained by the fact that men more than women believe that they will be relatively unaffected by the disease,” co-authors Valerio Capraro and Hélène Barcelo wrote.

Meanwhile, other men have chosen to shirk masks for the simple reason that they are too cool and manly to protect themselves from a viral pandemic. “Men more than women agree that wearing a face covering is shameful, not cool, a sign of weakness and a stigma,” the study authors wrote.

Every day, millions of men suffer from toxic masculinity. There is no known cure.

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