Venetian masks are a centuries-old tradition of Venice, Italy. They were used to hide the wearer’s identity and social status allowing the person to “be who they wanted to be, and do what they wanted to do” for that day. A poor man could be a nobleman, a woman could act like a man, or vice versa. Traditionally people were allowed to wear them during the Carnival of Venice, from the start of the carnival season (The festival of Santo Stefano, December 26) and throughout the festivities. They were also worn at midnight on Shrove Tuesday, during Ascension and from October 5 to Christmas, thus people could spend a large proportion of the year in disguise. Mask makers (mascareri) enjoyed a special position in society, with their own laws and their own guild. Perhaps we could wear similar masks during women’s
month of August allowing people of all sexes, race and age groups to enjoy equal rights, and privileges, but then maintain the momentum throughout the rest of the year!