What do each of these images have in common? …. #x-shaming.
We are in an era of shaming. Whether its selfie-shaming, fat-shaming, or tattoo-shaming, we as a culture are constantly shaming. Each of the individuals above has dealt with aplenty of shaming on their route to success.
Yesterday Kim K. posted this incredibly scandalous picture in a faux?-fur bikini, inciting outcry from all arenas of social media. Whether people were fur-shaming her (are we even sure if it was in fact real fur?), digital-altering-shaming (did she even filter the image?), or just shaming for having no shame, Kim K. is subjected to unrelenting shaming scrutiny.
Then there is Whitney Thore, star of the new TLC show “My Big Fat Fabulous Life.” Thore speaks openly about being fat-shamed. Thore was made famous after a YouTube video of her dancing went viral. Many people encouraged Thore’s love of dance and called her openness an inspiration, while many others poisoned her positivity with harsh comments and hurtful judgements. What most of those haters don’t know is that Thore suffers from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which causes her to very easily put on weight. According to Thore, there is never an equilibrium, if she is not actively losing weight, she is gaining it. While Thore acknowledges she does need to get healthy, she under the unceasing social stigma levied against an overweight American woman. In the last episode someone even called her “shamu” from their car…that person is a coward and should be ashamed.
Finally there is Dr. Matt Taylor, one of the scientists responsible for landing the Philae lander of the spacecraft Rosetta on a comet last November. The Rosetta mission was the first spacecraft to land on a comet nucleus (whatever that means, basically huge space-deal). Dr. Taylor, the project scientist on said mission, was tattoo-shamed for his full sleeves. For years we have heard people with tattoos won’t get hired or ever have a “real” job, I guess he proved them wrong in a BIG way. Dr. Taylor was later shirt-shamed for wearing an “offensive” button-up of a scantily-clad woman, which apparently is grounds for #permna-shame.
Since the onset of social media shaming has taken to all new heights. We shame everyone from celebrities to our peers to our parents. We fit-shame, skinny-shame, rich-shame, poor-shame, race-shame, slut-shame, food-shame, fashion-shame. We do A LOT of shaming. It seems as though you can’t win anymore. You are either too skinny or too fat. Too fit or too lazy. Too passionate or too ambivalent. Too provocative or too uptight.
All we do is shame, and this shaming is so damaging. I am literally scared to post a picture to Instagram or a post to my blog for the worry of being shamed. The shamers are much more willing to say something negative than consider taking a productive point of view. Its one thing if we are shaming celebrities, they are in the public eye; unfortunately it comes with the territory. But shaming our friends? Shaming the normal person? Let people live.
However, I too am guilty of shaming, mostly out of envy. I believe jealousy is at the core of a lot of shaming, whether we want to admit it or not. I fit-shame the people I can’t look like. I blonde-shame the blondes because well, they are beautiful. I plastic surgery-shame because I wish I could have those lips or that ass. The moral of the story is that I really just need to get a life…and some confidence. I need to put more effort into bettering myself, and less effort into bringing down others.
In other words, if you don’t have anything nice to say…just try not to be an asshole. In 2015 take a serious look at social media, and think before you #hashtag. Social media has made the world so much more accessible, but it has also made the world a much scarier place. As we express our freedoms of speech we find ourselves shamed for that expression. We need to take a lesson from Kim K., Whitney Thore, and Dr. Taylor, tell the haters to take a long walk off a short pier, success comes to those who are true to themselves, or at the very least, their brand. Shamers gonna shame, keep calm, and post on.