The Thing About Masks

In honor of Halloween, we wanted to talk a little about masks. They get a bad wrap. And rightly so. Masks have been used to deceive and to scare, to conceal someone’s identity, which is usually done to commit some scary or deceitful act. We wear them to hide our true selves behind a plastic shell, frozen into a static, permanent expression. It’s tempting, in this state, to break free of your normal behavior and do something “unlike you.” Under the cover of anonymity, who knows what we’re each capable of?

Yes, masks are scary, but they can also be a tool for building and unifying community. When the ethos behind it is positive and expansive, the mask can serve as a motivator for positive and expansive acts. Like the masks of certain tribes that unify its members, who when they come together are a force greater than the sum of its parts.

In the same vein, masks are celebratory. We wear them to a costume party and dance with abandon. We wear them on stage to become celebrated literary heroes. We wear them in front of children to honor their imagination. Old and new traditions have this in common, and it is an elementary part of the human experience. With all the cover masks provide for deceit, they also provide permission to get lost in fancy.

This is where we tell you about a mask that is re-framing device. It’s digital, and it comes in the form of an app from the non-profit organization Howl For Change. When you open it up, your face is covered by a futuristic-looking wolf’s head (You can also flip the camera around and cover your friends face with the wolf mask). You then have the opportunity to record yourself (or your friend) doing what you do, showing us who you are without preconceived notions being brought up in your audience so they can fully hear your story. We make sure of this also by disguising your voice.

You can keep your identity hidden, or if you choose, you can reveal your true identity at anytime and remove the mask from both your face and your voice by tapping on the screen of your phone or iPad. If you want to tell your story about how you are supporting other women to empower themselves or how you have survived discrimination and want to have your story help change this type of behavior, the mask becomes a tool to open and expand hearts and minds.

But we also invite you to tell your personal stories of triumph. Maybe you’re a person who is known for their fear of spiders. (Hey, it’s Halloween. We’re staying on brand here.) Imagine you’ve been working on facing this fear, but your friends don’t yet know. You could record yourself with the Howl For Change app, your face covered by a digital wolf’s, holding a tarantula. Maybe you even pet the tarantula. Then, tap the screen to reveal yourself to your friends. They never thought you could do it, but there you are, forging your own story, your own way, about you, and your new best friend, Charlie, the tarantula.

What stories are you ready to tell? We would love to know. Download the Howl For Change app for Android or IOS and share them with us and help us inspire change and end bias. Let’s celebrate what makes us different to unite us as equals to create a World of Wolves that howls together and can’t be ignored.

Happy Halloween from all of us wolves!! Awoooho 🐺 (sometimes we were real-life wolf masks)

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