A few thoughts on shaming

This is a subject I’ve seen pop up a lot lately in the news and some of the blogs on here. “Shaming” is the act of denigrating or belittling someone because they are doing something deemed inappropriate. Slut shaming and fat shaming are two common examples. Feminists like to express rage over slut shaming in particular because they believe it to be an exercise of socially controlling someone’s sexuality.

Please do not misunderstand me: I am NOT anti-feminist or fattist or whatever, and those feminists are making legitimate claims. And while I’m all for pride in who you are and how you live your life, I’m about ready to give all these anti-shamers a big, fat “get the fuck over yourself.” This, to me, is just another branch on that giant political correctness tree, and quite frankly I think the whole PC movement has gone too far, and these anti-shamers are not exempt from that idea.

Folks, like it or not, you are going to meet people throughout your life who do not like you and who don’t always agree with you. This is a lesson that I learned back in grade school. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. If you dress or act like a slut and someone calls you out for it, who cares? They have a right to their opinions and you have a right to yours; shrug it off and move the fuck on. I got teased a lot in high school for being into some geeky things, but I didn’t hide under an umbrella of “nerd-shaming.” I simply stopped giving a fuck about what other people thought.

And that’s what I think bothers me the most about the PC movement and the shaming movement in particular–it assumes that everyone should share the same universal set of values–namely those of the “victim.” Sorry, folks, but that isn’t the way the real world works. There are people who think being a slut is wrong–and their ideas are perfectly legitimate. Just like your ideas about actually dressing or acting sexually provocative are perfectly legitimate. See, the entire idea of shaming is predicated upon some sort of universal definition of right and wrong. Except that right and wrong are completely relative. So in reality, the shamers and the anti-shamers are both simultaneously right and wrong.

Be who you are and be proud of it, but realize that there will always be people who do not like you or approve of your opinions or actions. Just also realize that that’s perfectly fine, and what other people think has no bearing on your value as a human being. Social norms are constantly evolving from generation to generation, so just give it time. But please, enough with force feeding people your own agenda or values.

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5 thoughts on “A few thoughts on shaming

  1. I totally agree that the PC movement has gone too far. I’ve always had a problem with that, and it seems that the movement will not be going away. Rational discussions are nearly impossible.

    1. I totally hear what you’re saying. When you have to spend most of your brainpower censoring the words coming out of your mouth, the ideas and inspiration behind your words become utterly lost. Thank you for the comment! 🙂

  2. I can’t really disagree with you. I am not an overly PC person myself. In some sense I can see why there is concern however. In calling somebody a slut, I think feminists fear that the negative connotation associated with the word (the person wants to have sex wantonly with anybody, anywhere) that this will not only make someone feel bad for their own sexual choice, but will promote rape. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I think the real answer comes down to education. Making everybody aware of the possible consequences of their choices, but ultimately giving them the freedom to make the choice for themselves. By openly talking about the word “slut” and discussing what it means to various people or genders gives that person knowledge and knowledge gives one power for self-determination. Just like if someone is fat, of course you shouldn’t shame them, but make sure they understand the consequences of poor nutritional choices, and lack of exercise, and try to get to know them so you can maybe understand what conditions might have led them to become overweight. Of course maybe kids don’t have this level of maturity but that is why education is so important. I think there is a tendency to hide kids from the harsh realities of the world so that they can maintain their innocence as long as possible but I think we do them a disservice when we don’t educate them about people who hate and shame, and judge someone summarily based on superficial observations. When I was 5 years old my younger cousin died in a fire. At that age I could not comprehend the depth of sadness, I simply took in the information. Fires are bad, people can die, and it makes people sad. Kids aren’t naturally racist, or religious, or hateful, they are taught to be like that. I think we can give children a much better and more meaningful education than we do.

      1. Like I said, I don’t really disagree with you and I think that you made a great point as both sides perhaps being off the mark. The answer is usually somewhere in the middle. And it is difficult to find that delicate balance between protecting people or being concerned about their well being, and giving them a sense of self-determination to struggle through adversity on their own. Being PC only creates a temporary solution, but the new grammar can be used to hurt just as easily in time. Language is only a mask for behavior and when you teach someone to understand the behavior, the language becomes immaterial. At last that’s my opinion. 🙂

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