“I am Captain Planet! I’m gonna save you from the evil green monster who is going to take over the world! *pow, wham, bam!*”
“Look at my beautiful long hair and pink dress! I am Cinderella and I would love to be a princess one day!”
“Who is that little girl who refuses to eat her porridge? The bears are coming to eat it! Gulp it down nowww”
Been there, done that? I’m sure you have. Most of us, if not all, have grown up playing roles of our favorite characters from books or television. We have fought evil, felt beautiful, had tons of money or like in the last example, we have been blackmailed into downing broccoli and beans before the ‘monster’ gets us, right? It gives a chance to fantasize being something that we are not. But apart from that, it gives us an excuse to do things we may not imagine. I think this is akin to the veritable mask bender mentions in his article that I found to be very interesting and profound.
While researching material for the RCR module, I came across the 3 loose terms of power, prestige and pressure to perform and put them together to form the 3 Ps of motivation. with reference to that I realize that those in power use that very power as their mask – to do as they please. The public remain themselves, screaming and vying for attention while those in authority trample over them with ‘regulations’.
Most often than not, when we talk about such ‘masks’, we seem to only consider the bad things that one would do under disguise. There is a lot of good that can be done too, but somehow I think people want to do that with their real face on so that they can be known and recognized as the do-gooder. Like the CDC (I’m trying to link their supposed act of righteousness to a pesudo-good act) and their MMWR. They disguised their intentions as a well-intentioned, caring, public-health message only and only for the welfare of the people. How did they do this? Because they have the power to do it and the prestige to throw around (with their names).
From an individual’s standpoint, I don’t feel it is wrong to have a mask because I know a friend who is a totally different person when she dons the role of a writer. Her imagination runs wild and she is sooo creative but she doesn’t have more than 5 words to talk/ conversation. We used to always tell her, in jest, that she should perhaps write to us when we meet just because she cannot talk. But I honestly feel that removing the mask would be a good step for self- realization. If all the perpetrators could get out from behind their respective masks and just be what they really are – human beings, citizens, lay people, they may find the need to apologize for their mis-deeds. They may finally see light of what all the hue and cry that the public is making, is about. This, is important.
There is no point in being complacent behind the mask because when it is removed, you are exposed. And so are your vulnerabilities.
Bender, K. 1992. The Mask: The loss of moral conscience and personal responsibility. The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.