On Saturday, actress Alyssa Milano stirred up social media when she shared an image of herself and her family wearing protective masks, and encouraged her followers to share their own images.
Masks are an increasingly polarized issue, despite the fact that the question of efficacy is not inherently a political one, and that polarization has not only resulted in confrontations and even violence, it has put additional strain on essential workers who have been working throughout the pandemic ensuring that Americans have access to food and supplies.
The dividing lines come up on social media frequently, as dividing lines do, and Milano weighed in as pro-mask with her tweet.
The problem is with the mask’s appearance, which seems to show it is decorative rather than functional. A literal “manifestation” of “hollow virtue-signaling,” as one critic put it. And there were many, many critics.
Some of the tweet were decidedly harsher than others, as is typical of social media.
Milano’s husband appears to be wearing a standard N95 mask in the photo, and some users speculate that, as a lot of people are doing, Milano has simply put a decorative homemade mask over the more functional N95 one, but at the time of this posting she had not confirmed that speculation.
This author’s family members wear N95 under homemade decorative coverings, for the record.