Taiwanese Health Officials Wear Pink Masks to Comfort Boy Who Was Bullied for Wearing One


Apr 15, 2020


Image Credit: Hong Kong Free Press

Health officials from Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Control Center (CECC) showed up to a press conference in pink masks on Monday, April 13th to show young boys that pink has no gender.

After Taiwanese Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung made a Facebook post about a young boy who faced bullying due to his pink mask, the health officials decided to wear the mask to support him, and encourage people to understand that all masks are same, regardless of color.

Citizens currently cannot choose the color of the mask they are sold, according to Taiwan’s mask rationing system. In Taiwan, anyone can buy disposable surgical masks at designated drugstores and pharmacies on Sunday, after they present their National Health Insurance cards (NHI). On the other days of the week, sales are staggered depending upon the last digit on an individual’s NHI card.

Support poured in from colleagues and higher-ups in the Taiwanese government for Chen’s initiative. Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-Chang also wore a pink mask on Tuesday, after which the visibility of pink masks soared. The President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, added her support to this show of solidarity, saying via Facebook post, “(I) urge everyone not to limit their choices based on color stereotypes.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan also took time to applaud the move, tweeting, “No color is exclusive to girls or boys. #GenderEquality lies at the heart of #Taiwan values. “The Taiwanese Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education also showed their solidarity by changing their social media pages to pink, Focus Taiwan reported.

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This move was both an attempt to ensure safety and challenge gender norms that lead to young boys being bullied simply because they chose a color associated with girls. Plus, it sets the disaster at hand into perspective against the pettiness of gender norms. As the world fights for supplies that continue to dwindle, a mask’s color is of no great importance — the only thing that matters is a mask’s protective abilities.

During the press conference with the CECC, Chen also quipped, “Pink is actually not bad,” adding that the color was all the rage during his time due to the popularity of Pink Panther — a cartoon series involving a shocking pink feline detective.

President Tsai added in her Facebook post, “Whatever the color of a mask, the ones that protect you are the most suitable.”


Written By Aditi Murti

Aditi Murti is a culture writer at The Swaddle. Previously, she worked as a freelance journalist focused on gender and cities. Find her on social media @aditimurti.


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