Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Raves & Rants: Social Media "Shaming"

Raves and Rants, Twitter shaming, Instagram shaming, fat shaming, slut shaming, cyber bullying, skinny shaming

We live in 2015 so that means we are going to "reinvent" and reclaim just about every word or phrase  within the English language that can be used to make ourselves seem witty and in-the-know in 140 characters or less.

[Fill in person, place, thing, or idea here] is bae.

Throwing shade.

On fleek.

The tea has been spilled.

And now we've entered into the genre of 'shaming." More political than comical, the word shaming has been tagged on to the end of a half dozen different words on social media to condemn the behavior of making someone feel bad, guilty, or anything short of encouraged for living, looking, or acting a certain way. Fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, slut-shaming, victim-shaming... the list goes on. In theory, the idea of fighting against "shaming" is a good step towards a better society but like all things on the internet, it went overboard before it even got its sea legs. It quickly shifted from "hey it's not okay to believe women deserve to be hacked because they've taken risque photographs" to "whoa, it's never okay to tell a woman that too much sugar is bad for her." This type of over-sensitive use of shaming diminishes the legitimate purpose of getting rid of hateful ideologies by calling out judgmental behavior. Expressing the importance of understanding white privilege is not "white-shaming" and sharing your disbelief in Wicca is not "religion-shaming" so let's stop sensationalizing social media and bring it back to what it once was: an open community to connect with others. Tweeting about social injustices is a definite DO in my book, but taking it beyond its bounds and labeling every opinionated comment or strong belief is unfair and incredibly unbecoming.