When did “shaming” become something that people did to others they do not know? I understand that there has been some sort of this happening for centuries. I know that there have been instances of adultery and people making horrible mistakes in the workplace and situations of that nature when one or more people would make people feel ashamed of their behavior. I also know that people being mean to others, people judging other humans based on one action or characteristic, isn’t new. Still, there are things on the inter webs that I simply do not stand. Parent shaming. Mom shaming. Fat shaming. There’s even a show called something like “The Internet Ruined My Life,” and some people claim that their entire existences have been altered for he worse because of their actions on Facebook or their unwitting presence in memes. But shaming seems like a sport lately and I just don’t get it.
I’ll tell you upfront that I am a huge fan of social media. In all honesty, there are times when I post things I probably shouldn’t because I need the support of the community at large, and for whatever reason I go there for the ego building I require. I read a lot of articles that my friends post, a lot of stupid lists. I take tests to see the size of my vocabulary, how much I really know about elementary school science, and which house at Hogwarts I belong to. (I’m a Hufflepuff, in case you were wondering. Go Badgers!!) My absolute favorite thing about social media is my birthday. My absolute least favorite thing about social media is election season. But the whole shaming movement has been eating away at my heart quite a bit lately.
There have been many instances in the news of people who have made huge mistakes as parents, or at least that’s the way it looks to the outsider. These mistakes have led to tragedies for the families and in some instances have led to pretty horrible situations for others, animals, or corporations as well. The mistakes have been no more or less tragic than situations that have occurred in the past, I’m sure, but the media being what it is, we now have a ton of information and cell phone footage and onlooker opinions and open posts and articles that we would not have had before the rise of the Internet. The thing about it is, that means that every Joe Schmoe out there can voice his opinion for all the old to see and share and tag away. People who have no idea about what actually happened in any situation, who have no idea about the people involved, special circumstances, anything. And they feel like their main job is to judge the parents, call them terrible and irresponsible, say horrific things about their character, and make insults and threats that are just sickening.
The same thing happens to fat people like me. There have been photos taken on planes, in locker rooms, at restaurants and grocery stores of people who look like me. These pictures are then posted on the Internet with disgusting comments and jokes. Who are these people who think it’s ok?!
Now it’s leaving the relative safety and anonymity of the Internet into the real world. People are being attacked for parking in handicapped spaces and not looking “disabled enough.” Parents are being scolded and told to control their disrespectful children, who are sometimes having a rough day and other times are struggling to process the world through autistic eyes. How can this ever be thought of as acceptable?
Why am I writing this? Well, I’m making a personal pledge to not judge these people. I am not going to assume I know what is happening for a person by seeing their worst moment magnified times a million. I am going to love my fellow man. I will offer empathy and support. I will not be the shame in the world.