The “Shaming” Phenomenon

Is it solely because I am in my 50’s that I am dumbfounded by this epidemic? I grew up in a time in which shaming was often a daily occurrence.  If you weren’t mocked for one thing it was another; from your cheap-ass Kmart shoes, to your glasses, your teeth, your weight, your haircut, your physical short-comings, the musical instrument you played, your mannerisms, your financial status, and on and on and on.

Part of who many of us are is due to mocking, bullying and yes, shaming we were subjected to over the years. Hell, I have been shamed right on through my entire life.

Now in many ways I am sure it has effected me, especially in my youth but when I think about it, it isn’t so much an issue of my mine as it is about a short-sighted, immature, angry external source. Maybe its just magnified by the people on the internet which immediately publish any and all stories that even hint at someone being wrongly treated. Maybe its because of the actual issues at stake, issues that went unspoken in my generation, such as sexuality.

Shaming sensitivity is fairly new, bullying has been a hot topic for a while now, but I think we are actually onto something.

Behind many of the crimes in our society, the hopeless addictions and possibly even deep depression are well-entrenched root systems, causal effects if you will. Crimes happen for many reasons, but many, many are due to how a person is treated either in a singular event or over an extended period of time. Addictions snare is tightened by how a person sees themselves and much of that is provided by others. Depressions grip is strengthened when we are made painfully aware of our so-called short comings and inadequacies.

Our choice has been to throw the people who act out wrongly away, old habits die-hard. But just maybe this new awareness to bullying and shaming are getting closer to the roots that end up manifesting in later negative behavior.

Shall we all take a more clear and honest look at ourselves and our personal contribution to another’s shaming? Lets be real, you have done it and so have I, yet we like to point out the most destructive occurrences as horrendous and wink at our own actions.

Yes, when we start to realize there are things we all do that negatively impact others in the short and long-term, we might be scratching the surface on actually doing something positive… that might, over the next 100 years or so, have some sort of miniscule positive return on the investment.

So while I type away with these opinions, I go from being incredulous about shaming, to enlightenment and ultimately land in a belief that it is another thing we do that will never change. Why? Because we think shaming the shamer will fix it when it is good parenting, mentorship, teaching respect for others, giving people hope in hopeless environments, distancing ourselves from racism, accepting each individual for who they are and not who we think they should be. Its more work than a slogan, or a fleeting movement, it’s all of us changing…and that is practically impossible.


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