Criticism of mask wearing in privacy communities

During question time of presentation “Privacy Is Our Dignity” (34:15), the speaker criticized an audience participant’s wearing of a mask before they attempted to ask their question.

I wanna see your face brother.
You’re wearing a mask!?
Remember it starts with the face brother.

For context, before the above happened, the speaker made a reference (29:02) to Emmanuel Levinas’ philosophy of the human face.

However, to me the speaker’s criticism shows intolerance and (in my view) a fascist-leaning “if you wanna be one of us you need to take your mask off” attitude. For someone speaking about privacy and dignity, that is disappointing.

More generally, I have trouble understanding the anti-mask sentiment that exists even within communities that believe in privacy. The above presentation is not the only on-record example of criticism of mask wearing in a privacy community.

Why do I think this is a problem? Individuals can believe whatever they want about wearing or not wearing a mask, but confronting mask wearers or imposing one’s own view on them is unacceptable. There may be reasons why people wear masks: to maintain their privacy, out of concern about contagious disease, being immuno-compromised, another medical reason, etc.

I have a few questions for people in this community, please freely answer any of them as you like.

  1. What are your views and experiences of mask wearing (technical, practical, political or otherwise)?
  2. What are your experiences of mask wearing or lack thereof (by you or others) within communities that lean towards privacy? For example privacy communities, minorities, survivors, activists.
  3. What are your experiences of mask wearing or lack thereof (by you or others) within wider/mainstream societies where you live or have experience in? Is it banned, stigmatized, voluntary, mandatory etc?

The simple answer is that some privacy communities are “privacy because we’re edgy losers who don’t want consequences and accountability for our actions” rather than “privacy is a fundamental human right”

I wear a mask basically any time I’m in public, I’ve only caught the flu once in the past 4 years and only caught covid once, prior to mask-wearing, so it works pretty well ha

Everyone basically stopped when the gov stopped mandating it, but there’s some people (including myself) who still do and I have never had a negative experience due to wearing a mask


I wear a mask when I’m in public too. I caught COVID and influenza multiple times after the COVID pandemic began, and I never agreed to having my face scanned. I oppose mandates, but ironically things were more pleasant for me while mask wearing was mandated.

Interesting. I assumed the former have motivation to cover their face. Maybe they don’t mind showing their faces in meatspace while they live life in cyberspace. Or Western people are emotionally against mask wearing because they see it as antithetical to free speech/expression or something, maybe?? I haven’t found an explanation that fits in my mind.

lmao. true though.

You’d think people might be more interested in the privacy-protecting properties of wearing a mask :thinking:


We all may or may not have a very good reason to wear masks again soon, all the time:

1 Like

Some countries culturally do it regardless of COVID. I’ve also found masks help a lot during allergy season.

1 Like

Hi, I’m new here, and I’m laughing at myself that this is the first post I’m commenting on. I personally don’t have a problem with people wearing face masks to each his own. I don’t wear one. I have immune issues, so doc insisted until I caught phenomena while at the pharmacy and ended up in hospital for 7 days. After that I didn’t wear one. What I do have a problem with is the mandate of wearing a mask and the do it or else attitude. I also didn’t like what the mandate did to people. Just another way for the government to cause division.


Personally, if I have the opportunity, I greatly value seeing someone’s face to have a more human connection. Masks are fine, but if I’m with friends I’d prefer to see their face.

As for people choosing to wearing them, I have 0 thoughts about it. We should have the right to wear a mask. It can be for health reasons, privacy, or even style I suppose. In America, it’s extremely strange to see anti-mask sentiment given it’s supposed to be a very individualistic and country of freedom. I think the sentiment of anti mask largely comes from the galvanization of groups to believe it represents mandates, no health benefits, or that the wearer subscribes to an ideology (just my take, could be wrong). Strange stuff.

1 Like

I work at healthcare outside the US.

Not wearing mask seems outright silly because this has always been the standards of healthcare practice in all hospitals even before all this Covid madness has befallen us.

Side rant

Politization of wearing masks seems fundamentally wrong, ethically speaking.

I guess the US does not have a strong sense of social responsibility compared to the more far eastern cultures.

I wear mask to protect myself and others at the time of pandemic. I continue to wear it because I measurably and significantly get less colds compared to my non-mask wearing years. The added benefit of not being identified by CCTVs is the cherry on top. I dont mind being the weirdo.


That may explain a lot of the anti-mask sentiment that now exists. Many people who oppose masks and vaccines may merely be conflating those things with the mandates. There may be many people in privacy communities that don’t like government.

However, thinking about it for a moment, there must exist some reason for anti-mask sentiment that predates COVID. Mask mandates were not introduced at the beginning of the COVID pandemic but some time after. WHO ridiculously recommended against mask wearing early in the pandemic, and at the time some governments echoed that people should not wear masks.

Indeed, the mask/vaccine mandates that governments imposed have caused division. Even now long after COVID restrictions swept the world, there are some people who dislike the masked and the unvaccinated, and the converse. I despise governments’ weaponization of COVID as a divide-and-conquer tactic, and the “comply or else” and “us vs them” attitudes. I would have liked to see people unite together and voluntary wear masks (as appropriate of course) but I guess that’s too idealistic.

From what I heard, Hong Kong immediately masked up when they had SARS. Many other East Asian societies appear to culturally support mask wearing.

I see mask wearing as respect towards the health of other people and the community. It’s also effective for self protection when for example pollen or pollution counts rise.

I agree seeing each other’s faces is valuable for human connection; it improves communication and emotional connection. Text messaging often isn’t enough, and it’s often difficult to understand someone who speaks while wearing a mask.

Assuming a low health risk for me and people I’m with, I show my face if I’m somewhere that is private enough and has only few people. For example in a house or hotel room, in nature or at a park, or a restaurant that doesn’t point surveillance cameras at their customers and is secluded. For me, maybe an inaccurate evaluation, but the risk profile changed too much that I should prioritize health and privacy, and (unfortunately) erosion of human connection is a price I often pay.


I’m sensitive to scented products and I noticed during Covid wearing a N95 greatly reduced how much perfume I can smell spewing off of people.

My attitude is if someone doesn’t like my mask that’s on them.

So far, I haven’t had an issue wearing the mask anywhere I go.

1 Like

Thank y’all for all these comments!

It doesn’t look like there are any answers specific to privacy communities so far. Does anyone here have experience with mask wearing in any privacy communities?

In mainstream society, I have experienced a few issues so far, like threats and refused entry. I’m also fearful of attracting violence from anti-maskers, police, gangs, lone thugs etc. But those risks depend on which place or community I’m in, and being unmasked is not an option for me. Maybe I was just unlucky. In some places, people just tell me that I don’t have to wear a mask if I don’t want to.