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Coronavirus, the brutal murder of George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matters movement have indelibly marked how 2020 will be recorded in history. All of these revolutionary social, medical, cultural and historical movements intersect with the body and we felt strongly that we needed to honor this historical moment within this issue. Our call for papers resulted in an issue focused on “masking.” From our online presence and the figurative “masks” we wear on videoconferencing platforms to the literal masks worn for COVID-19 mitigation and the psychological impact of the pandemic to the use of portrait masks during WWI, this issue has us considering masks and the body. We look forward to continuing the important discussion about the Black Lives Matter movement, policing of bodies, and the long-term impact of the pandemic on our bodies in future issues.

Mind the body: Psychological well-being and body image at the time of the COVID-19.

Cristian Di Gesto, Ph.D. and Elisa Cheli, Psychologist

Well-being is a complex, controversial, and heterogeneous construct that largely relates to the individual’s experiences and optimal psychological functioning. The research on well-being has grown considerably in recent decades and there is still an open dispute among researchers about what constitutes the good life.

The Mediating Role of Self-Compassion on Self-Esteem and Body Satisfaction in Females who Participate in Physique Competitions

Tracey Greenwood, Ph.D., EP-C. , Yolanda Turner, Ph.D. and Ian Jennings, B.A.

There is a plethora of research on self-esteem and body image in relation to women’s self-worth residing in their physical appearance (Barker & Galambos, 2003; Breines et al., 2008; Clay et al., 2005; John & Ebbeck, 2008; Overstreet & Quinn, 2012; Paxton et al., 2006; Rothblum et al., 1988).

photo: Library of Congress

Re-mantling the Face:
The Facial Politics of WWI-Era Portrait Masks

Eric Daffron, Ph.D. 

        It is unexpectedly Edgar Allen Poe who will accompany our investigation into World War I-era portrait masks. In Poe’s short story “The Man That Was Used Up,” the narrator is introduced to Brevet Brigadier General John A. B. C. Smith.

The Constitution of the Hathras Victim’s Body

Amrapali Mondal, Ph.D. Candidate

This paper attempts to make sense of the spine-chilling crime committed in September 2020 against a young Dalit woman from Hathras, Uttar Pradesh who was brutally gang raped, mutilated and left to die in the fields. This was followed by the casteist and heartless behavior of the Uttar Pradesh police who burned the woman’s body in the dead of the night while locking away her family in their house.

Mask and Masking:
Exploring the Offline Grotesque Face and
Online Tech-face

Jharna Choudhury, M.A. 

The crisis of Covid-19 pandemic enforced a paradigm shift in understanding the corporeal, from a tangible subjectivity to a digitized version of the (post)human body. Primarily due to the high death rate across the world, owing to the virus, multiple infection control measures like isolation, wearing of masks, social distancing, temperature checks, increased online interactions have been taken; in the process, the discourse of human body has been reinvigorated through art and technology, with everyday creativity.


Michael C. McShane III

Utilizing Yakuza Kiwami’s (2016) portrayal of transgender persons as an example, this paper seeks to examine such portrayals in the video game medium at large, dedicating particular attention to the real-world effects of negative portrayals. In relation to Yakuza Kiwami, this paper finds that the particular portrayal in question is overtly negative, placing upon transgender persons a negative connotation and engaging with oppressive behaviors.