OPINION: Time To Bring Back "Shame." You Could All Use Some...
"Don't _____ SHAME ME!"
Ah, the shrill cry heard round every triggering safe-space from the far east crazy of UMass all the way out west to UC Berkeley. With plenty of digital safe havens of YouTube, Tumblr and Facebook between. Today's progressives believe holding the mere notion that human beings are flawed, in need of correction makes one a hateful bigot. Yeah, you get shamed for shaming. The irony isn't lost on me. Double-secret-irony shaming.
Trigger-warnings, safe-spaces, the ever widening definition of "hate," shaming in pop culture today is tantamount to the condonation of slavery. If you dare fall out of line by not openly embracing everyone's flaws, you're seen as the embodiment of hate. Does that mean we should go around "shaming" and "bullying" each other? No. But that also doesn't mean we should all be silenced.
Once upon a time, "shame" was used as a corrective tool. For the same reason today's Perpetual Children of the Delicate Snowflakes(TM) hate it. It works because it hurts. If your mother loved you, she shamed you. She shamed you when you failed to look both ways before crossing the street. To save you from embracing your bravado, only to be flattened by the school bus. Adulterers were locked in the stocks. To shame them after they cheated on their spouses, thus preventing them from cheating again. People don't like to be thrown aboard the Shame Train. As such, they typically avoid situations which are generally shameful.
But today, the shame-shamers shame you for the shaming. Since the result of shame is usually change, one can only assume the shaming-shamers shame the shamers to prevent human growth. Are you lost yet? No? Good, keep with me here. The shameful-shamers are stunting people, forever freezing them as worst versions of themselves. Because yes, contrary to pop culture belief, many a notable figure rose from the crucible of shame. Such as...
Teddy Roosevelt. A sickly, asthmatic child who straggled behind. He was, as kids are wont to do, mocked mercilessly. Well, like all people rich with the five senses, little Teddy didn't like being picked on. But he didn't take to Tumblr to make memes to "call out his haters." No, Teddy manned up:
Hiking with his family in the Alps in 1869, Roosevelt found that he could keep pace with his father. He had discovered the significant benefits of physical exertion to minimize his asthma and bolster his spirits. With encouragement from his father, Roosevelt began a heavy regime of exercise. After being manhandled by two older boys on a camping trip, he found a boxing coach to teach him to fight and strengthen his weakened body.
Mike Tyson was bullied at a young age, too. No, we're not condoning Mike Tyson's rape charges. Mike Tyson, though, tired of being picked on, took his bullies head on, then turned his new courage into heavyweight champion success. Instead of taking a selfie with a sign reading "Stop the #Shaming." he punched people in the face. Repeatedly. Very hard. The bullies were very confused.
Take this one and try it on for plus-sized. If a woman is told "maybe you should wait for marriage before you have sex," for *pick your reason why it's a good idea* that woman may turn around and yell "SLUT SHAMING!" at you. Even though you never once mentioned the 30 different men she'd rogered roundly. You were simply pointing to the merits of one decision over another. But the idea of judgement, of a moral right and wrong? You slut-shamed her. How dare you. If she wants to hide the salami with ten men next week, that's HER CHOICE. IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!
Also, pay for her birth control. Lest she shame you for being anti-woman.
By the way, if you're a slut, shame is not an entirely inappropriate feeling for you.
Then comes the fat-brigade. Yes, "Bodyshaming!" is an all encompassing term to mean "anyone who doesn't approve of any/all unhealthy choices. Period." The people most often guilty of this sin... are doctors. What with their healthful, medical advisement and all. Who are they to tell you that you have the BMI of a Sperm Whale?! "FAT-SHAMING!" dressed in a lab-coat is still fat-shaming.
While we're on the subject of fat, let's talk body pride. You know who gets to be "proud of their body"? People who work for their body. You know who doesn't get to be proud of their bodies? People who treat their bodies like a landfill. No, the idea that "Everyone deserves a healthy body image!" is crap. Sometimes, you have a very unhealthy body, you deserve a horrible body image.
You know what happens when you get shamed for your unhealthy body image? Well if you're semi-intellegent, you'll make some healthy changes. Goodbye fat. Goodbye shame. Hello health and real body pride. You want to love your body? Then have a lovable one. For confirmation as to lovability, please consult a member of the opposite sex. I grant it this once, you shan't be slut-shamed.
The thing is, for every public "shaming," a vast majority of shame used to be self-induced. People used to look in the mirror and see a fat body and think "I'm fat. I don't want to be fat." But that's an even bigger problem these days, because the body-priders won't allow it. People used to look at their life choices and say "I've made some bad decisions. I need to really straighten up here." The only way someone can internalize shame, is if they expect more from themselves.
But here's the biggest irony of all. The one attribute that's acceptable to shame today... is success. Rather than exalt the productive, we vilify the "1%" or the "haves," pitting them against the shameful "have nots." So fewer people use shame as a motivational tool to overcome their failures. When a woman posts photos of her post-baby body and she's hot, she gets SHAMED by the body-pride crowd. Because she worked for it. If someone proclaims the values of waiting to have sex until marriage, he or she is SHAMED for being "judgemental." Seriously go read the comment section for the post Waiting Till the Wedding Night- Getting Married the Right Way.
We're living in a time where it's shameful to strive for better, and shameless to be a festering pile of turd-nuggets. We are a generation of fat, slutty, poor, lazy freeloaders who feel no shame at all. Not only because nobody has done them the favor of shaming them, but because they no longer have expectations of themselves. They're told to love themselves no matter what. Just the way they are.
That's quite a shame.