The 'Breathable' Mesh Face Mask Is the New Choice for Karens Everywhere

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Jul. 17 2020, Updated 11:50 a.m. ET

The Karens of the world have done it again. Since many cities in the United States are requiring that people wear face masks when they enter stores, some anti-maskers have started "maliciously complying" by wearing ineffective "breathable" mesh masks that do little to protect them or others from COVID-19 but are, technically, pieces of fabric that cover their faces. 

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These masks do not at all fit the CDC suggestions for non-medical face masks and are obviously ineffective. If you can see the holes in the face mask, it's definitely not doing enough.

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This picture, which was taken at a salon in Brazil, is a good example of what these masks tend to look like. The salon is actually selling these masks, which you'd think has to be some sort of joke! But it doesn't seem that way.

The Facebook translation of the caption reads, "Folks! A new batch of masks arrived, beautiful and super comfortable. It allows for much easier breathing, in addition to the delicacy and femininity that his tulle mask brings to the female face. You can now order, girls!!"

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Nowhere do they mention that these masks are 100 percent just for show, that they won't actually protect you or anyone else from the coronavirus, or that wearing this face mask is basically like wearing nothing at all. But this salon is not the only one trying to sell these mesh face masks. Etsy is full of them. 

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Some of them are actually advertised as "Anti-Mask Face Masks." It's infuriating. As @Shattered_Earth points out, "If you are going so far as to make and buy FAKE MASKS like really can't just wear a real one at that point? You have to trick people and endanger people who justifiably do not want to be around your stupid a--?" 

These people are so close to wearing actual face masks that it's almost more infuriating than those who refuse to wear them at all. Almost. 

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One man who wore a mesh face mask into a Walmart in Florida said, "I wore a mask that is designed for protecting your face in a paintball battle. You can easily breathe through it. I walked all around the store, talked to employees, and other shoppers, and ever one of them could see my mouth. It was almost like not wearing a mask at all. Nobody cared. That's because it's not about safety. It's all about compliance."

Many of these people truly believe that we're being told to wear masks as part of some secret government scheme to get us to follow a rule for no reason other than to make us follow it. Never mind that the evidence is clear that wearing face masks works to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. 

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While it's unclear just how many mesh face masks are being sold on platforms like Etsy, The Verge reports that more than 12 million face masks were sold on Etsy in April alone. Etsy is one of the main places people go to buy face masks, and an increasing number of Etsy shops are selling these "anti-mask" face masks.

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One company that sells mesh masks said that "its masks are meant for festivals like Coachella or Burning Man and that they've been offered since before the pandemic. The listings say the masks are 'NOT intended for Covid use.'" They claim that most customers wear their stylish mesh masks over the disposable medical masks or N95s. 

But it's certainly true that some people are buying and wearing these mesh masks in a frustrating effort to do the absolute minimum to comply with the mask mandate while not actually helping to curb the spread of the virus. One Twitter user wrote that they saw an article about people wearing mesh face masks and thought it was "exaggerated clickbait" until they saw a woman wearing one in real life. So it is, very unfortunately, a thing.

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