Celebrity Mask Shaming Is The Sport Of The Summer

Olivia Ovenden
Photo credit: BG004/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images

From Esquire

Last week, the fan account @ArmasUpdates posted a series of images with the caption: "Ana de Armas runs out to notify Ben Affleck about the new mandatory face mask order in California and makes him go back inside to cover up."

The storybook set of pictures which showed Affleck emerging without a mask then with one seconds later amassed nearly 7,000 likes, with comments praising Armas for her social consciousness.

The hope that these images showed Armas would be the mask vigilante Batman of the pandemic was dashed this week when the same fan account tweeted snaps of the actress mask-free in Los Angeles with the sarcastic caption, "Ana de Armas catches up with her friends after quarantine, but they seem to forget that there is still a pandemic going on in Los Angeles."

The global Covid-19 has forced celebrities indoors and meant that paparazzi have been starved of click fodder for months. Now, as the rich and beautiful peep their heads out of their towering gates, images of them masked or mask-free are being shared as a crude litmus test for whether they are still taking the pandemic seriously. Photographers ambushing them mean that many shots show celebrities mask-free then quickly scrambling to put one on as though they've been caught out.

Justin Bieber was photographed playing basketball in late May without a mask and hasn't been seen without one since, while Reese Witherspoon has started wearing a printed face covering while running having been seen exercising without one at the start of the pandemic.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Masks don't necessarily protect you from getting Covid-19 but they are helpful in preventing you from passing it onto others, making them the perfect symbol of selflessness when worn when you think people aren't watching. While many celebrities have posted images of them wearing them on Instagram to prove they are sticking to the rules, the shots of them strolling down the street mask-free a few weeks later send out a louder message.

If you know you're likely to be photographed when out, wearing a mask all the time is a way to normalise them and use your platform for good, much more so than each singing a line from John Lennon's 'Imagine' in any case.

Of course the rules of mask-wearing vary from country to country and depending on whether you're in a public space or not, meaning that one person's bike ride is not the same as another's weekly shop, but the best way to keep yourself safe from the shame game is to follow the lead of Britney Spears.

Yesterday Spears posted a series of images of her and her boyfriend Sam Asghari with both of them wearing masks despite being outdoors and on their own private beach. 'All you need is love and the beach' the singer captioned the image, the smile of someone who had won the game obscured by her bright white face mask.

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