The lure of mask fishing


You are probably familiar with the term “catfish” as it has been used widely on the internet. To catfish means to fake an online identity to deceive your followers or certain people online. That is where the root of “mask fish” comes from. 

What exactly does it mean to mask fish? Urban Dictionary describes the term mask-fish as “A person who appears attractive while their mask is on, but is unattractive as soon as they take it off.” 

This term has been used increasingly recently, especially in our environment due to the mask mandate being lifted. Before, you may have perceived a person’s face to look a certain way, but once they took off their mask you found yourself completely shocked to learn that their actual face was not what you had expected. 

You may have experienced this if you took off your mask to eat or for a sip of water, or you decided not to wear your mask to school and you heard, “I didn’t expect you to look like that” or something along those lines. How would that make you feel? It is not uncommon for people to get embarrassed or feel insecure after hearing what others think about their face.

“I feel like it’s a real thing,” said Alexis Sanchez. “I’ve certainly thought people are cute, but when they take off their mask, it’s like, no.” Senior Daisy Rodriguez shares her opinion on the issue, “mask-fishing points out people’s insecurities and it’s a pretty messed up trend; people took it way too far with the mask to hide how they look.”

  Personally, I can say that when I first heard about this term I felt a little insecure and was wondering to myself if I was mask fishing. I began to feel insecure about what my face really looked like to others; so I think that this can affect someone’s self esteem to an extent, based on my own experience. 

Earlier in the school year, one of my classmates repeatedly asked me to see me without my mask on. When I finally decided to show my face, his response was “That’s not how I expected you to look.” Back then, this really caused me to overthink about the situation and question what he meant. Now, I do find a little relief when I decide to not wear my mask in public, and have regained my confidence. Some days I decide to go in public without my mask because I am confident that I look decent, other days I may be feeling insecure or sick and I decide to wear my mask. 

Trends like this, where people check or make fun of others’ looks are never good for society and teen’s self esteem in general. It can change the perception of how we see ourselves and the people around us in a negative way. No one’s purpose is to look perfect every single second of every single day, it is simply irrational. 

Judging people based on their features that they can’t control is baseless and rude; which is one of the things that trends like these bring. However, I expect this “issue” to be resolved once most of society goes back to showing their whole face because you will realize how normal everyone around you looks and there is nothing to worry about.