Why is doing something small like wearing a mask during a global pandemic such a controversial topic? It seems simple, so what deep vein of concern is it tapping into? At first glance it appears to be about politics — but things are rarely what they appear to be at first glance.

By following suggestions to wear a mask — or, in the case of some cities and businesses, complying with mandates or requirements — are people being submissive? First, I suggest looking at what submission means. Submission is the action of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will/authority of another person. Is it possible that is playing out now? Is it possible that we are like puppets on a string being played by people behind the scenes? Is it really for safety? Or could there be a deeper motivation behind it all from entities seeking political gain, or even globally strategic entities such as The Tavistock Institute?”

Rules are not always right. This is not the first time society has been asked to follow the rules when the rules were wrong. She illustrates the century-long quest for women to follow the rules/society/expectations, including the practice of taking the last name of your husband — a practice known as coverture, which means “property of.” Another angle could be when the country was segregated, what would have happened if we had continued to follow those rules too?  Are the rules you are being asked to follow really right?

Big changes start small. Talk to women in Turkey today and they share how they grew up without the hijab. It has been a shock to their culture to be thrust back into what many call the “dark ages”. In America we think our freedoms can’t be taken away, but that is what many countries have thought in the past.

Expected submission for religion. Here in the United States, we have the illusion of submission in a religious sense. I experienced that personally as the “dutiful Southern Baptist wife.” I also uncovered it with corporate women who struggled with speaking up due to the “Catholic school girl syndrome.” Are these beliefs fueling our internal need to appear “dutiful” as we fulfill the demands to wear a mask, stay six feet apart, and other “patriotic” things we have been told to do? Have we been so indoctrinated that even a literal mask is symbolic of our willingness to submit?

Masking your voice. The popular show “The Handmaid’s Tale” talks about a totalitarian society that is forced to comply with guidelines against their will. They wear a hat — today we wear a mask. The genesis of both is submission and the power behind it.

I was surprised at how quiet conversation is when I travel to states with a statewide mandate to wear masks. Masks naturally inhibit communication and connection. It is a well-known fact that a key element of declaring war is to stop the dissent of citizens — sound familiar?

3 Tips to Determine Submission Versus Choice

1. Be aware of your intention: Do you really believe in wearing a mask or are you simply following the rules, scared of being punished or speaking your truth?

2. Learn the why behind the choices you make each day: Do you know the genesis behind the long-standing rule to wear no white pants after Labor Day? Did you know taking the practice of taking the husband’s last name is due to coverture? Know your why and make a conscious choice.

3. Don’t be a boiled frog: Much like gaining weight, a few small choices add up when we are not looking. The same thing happens in society. Don’t abdicate your responsibility for the life you want by trusting others that may or may not have your best interest at heart. 

Submission has a long history. Only in today’s fast-paced micro-message Twitter world, we don’t connect the dots from a week ago, much less 75 years ago. We are smarter than that!