Posted: Saturday June 26 2021 7:04 AM
No one remembers with much precision the first day they put on a mask in Spain, except for a few cases. After these months of confinement where the days merged, where weeks passed and life remained frozen, we got used to going out in the streets, squares and covered shops. Protected. From a distance.
After the legislative mess, after the shortage of supplies that caused us to first say no, then yes, and start over, the guest star of our pandemic has crept in. An element which would characterize an era and which would become another complement in our life: the mask.
Until today. From this Saturday, the mask can remain in the pocket outside, as long as the safety distance is respected.
Involve ? What changes can this bring us? Can it be a trigger for insecurity or anxiety? laSexta brings together experts to talk about the implications of the mask, an extraterrestrial element until very recently… and, always, the protagonist of our lives.
From surgery to normal life
“The mask is an element that has radically changed its interpretation since the pandemic,” smiles at the end of the line Eduardo Irastorza, professor of strategy and marketing at OBS Business School. “Until now, he identified with medicine, surgery or the idea of Japan, where people put on masks so they don’t infect others at work.”
Now we are doing it with confinements, with terrible numbers, with swabs, with vaccines. But also with solidarity, with colored masks, in fabric. With fashion accessory. “With the mask, we learned to interpret people differently too, because it prevented us from seeing part of their face. Before, that meant he was going to do something wrong, in a robbery, in a demonstration.”
Nothing is further from reality for the moment. “We associate it with all kinds of people in all kinds of circumstances,” explains Professor Irastorza. A 360 degree view, complete, where everything fits. Nervousness too.
At the beginning, with the first uses, “we did not know very well what was going to happen with the mask”, admits the sociologist and professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology of the Complutense University of Madrid Amparo Lasén. “It was a new thing that has become part of our normalcy. Moreover, if we compare it with neighboring countries, we Spaniards are among those who are most aware of it”, explains the expert.
How to deal with change
It has become something natural in our environment to see series, films, images of crowds with a fresh outlook. Missing the mask. To seek her in a dream or to seek, dazed, who would have forgotten her in the street.
Perhaps with the new standard sponsored by the government Pedro Sánchez the same week in which he approved the pardon of imprisoned Catalan politicians and announced a reduction in the price of electricity, the transition to life without going unnoticed. But it won’t be for our brain.
“Los tipos de reacciones que va à haber, dentro de lo lógico, todas son normales, porque responden a diferentes opiniones. Depende de lo que has pensado de las mascarillas, así reaccionarás”, asegura la psicóloga clínica Elena Dapra, experta en bienestar psicológico in the business. “The absence of a mask will give us a shock – slight, to which we will adapt quickly – because it has been the symbol of our safety.” A symbol, in his eyes, misunderstood, because what really embodied him was social distance.
Conflicts and politicized uses
In the eyes of the vocal section also of the College of Psychology of Madrid, there were three types of people, with regard to the masks: the one who accepted the mask “strictly – they set the moral and legal standard and the have accepted- “, the one who” accepted the mask and that seemed like a good measure with social distancing “, and the one who” did not accept the mask and felt it was not useful “.
Thus, depending on the attitude with which it is assumed, “conflicts” will appear. The perception of risk will depend on each individual. “Even the use of the mask has become politicized,” laments economist Pedro Rey, professor of behavioral economics at ESADE.
“It is a symbol, not as much as in the United States, but by autonomous community, almost. According to your ideology, it seems that removing the mask is a political symbol, as much as leaving it”, appreciates the economist.
Misunderstanding and over-information
There are those who comment that it may be that from this Saturday, what is called empty face syndrome will occur. From the General Psychological Council in Spain, they point out to this channel that it has no scientific proof. That it is not a disorder as such.
However, clinical psychologist Elena Dapra believes that “coming to be used to seeing only part of the face, seeing the whole face will become overinformation.” “The adaptation is going to be quick, but despite this it will make us realize that people are not just the gaze. That we are talking with real people.”
“We’re going to re-appreciate emotional facial introspections. And now we’re not used to interpreting them anymore, and misunderstandings will occur. Misunderstood micromanagement, confusion.” In view of this, his advice: first, ask; then validate and finally give yourself some time. Make sure what I think I understand is what they are trying to tell me. “
Anxiety about not having a mask
Any anxiety about vulnerability is normal, “within reason”, for the psychologist. “What comes to the consultation are radicalized tendencies: unless someone already has something that would make them particularly vulnerable to change, the rest will adapt well,” he said.
“It doesn’t have so much to do with feeling in front of the other, but because I don’t know what will happen if I take the mask off.” Question of perception, according to him.
Because there will be “a lot of very surprised people”. In work, social or everyday environments in which we have always encountered people with a mask. “In the spirit, they’re not empty, we’ve filled in the rest of the face. People who we thought had a face one way, and had it another.”
The facial mask, pop icon
Will the mask then become a cult object, a pop icon? “The mask had a very interesting component: it had the capacity to be included in fashion, at the origin of the personality”, appreciates the expert in marketing Eduardo Irastorza.
“In brands like Nike or with autonomous communities, or with football teams. Its health function has transcended. The mask has been included in who we want to show that we are,” he deepens. Because of this, he does not believe that “it will look like damn thing.” We will remember this stage of the pandemic and reverse it, we are Spanish. Five minutes later, there is a meme, there will be masked parties, with a mask and nothing else. People’s imagination, the more Latino the better, we’ll see this in a more fun way. “
In the world of advertising, we have already seen the mask advertise another type of product, always with an aesthetic component, such as dental treatments. Its value, on the other hand, will not vary, according to economist Pedro Rey. Not so its price.
“In department stores there are already masks reduced to 70%. The market tells you directly that there will be less demand. Production will decrease, but also demand”, analyzes the expert in behavioral economics.
And for example, a button: the bag. “In the stock markets, the companies that made masks have slowed down, and the market value of airlines is starting to rise. The market is already anticipating the slightest use, ”winks at the economist.
Perhaps the crux of the matter now is the signal traffic on the masks. Where yes, where no, where it is recommended and where it is mandatory. “In the summer, we’re going to be grateful to take the mask off on the beach, or in open places. But I don’t think we’ll all have the same attitude towards the mask, there will be people willing to take it off. Relaxing. And others who will continue to wear it. Put it, ”affirms, with force, the sociologist Amparo Lasén.
The UCM professor refers to “older, more sensitive people, who are vaccinated against the flu every year, who will save the use of the mask. Every time I go to a closed place with a lot of fluids. world, they are going to use it. In short, a more Asian use and not so pandemic. “
Economist Pedro Rey agrees on this point. “We’re so simple that we can stick to simple rules. And it’s expensive to change them. As the message about the mask’s usefulness has changed so many times, I’m not worried if we use it outdoors. , but if we are going to be able to use them well. inside “. Remains to be seen … from today.