Katie Glass: Slut-shaming, tattoo-shaming, salad-shaming… Where will it end?

Wall-of-Shame

Should we humiliate the haters? Stigmatise the shamers? In theory, I’m all for it. I refuse to accept the world’s opprobrium

You can’t notice that someone’s got a bit porky these days without being screamed at for “fat-shaming” them. If I even mention that my flatmate has finished the Coco Pops, I’m food-shaming her; observe she’s got through the vodka and I’m drunk-shaming; casually enquire why she hasn’t come home for three nights running and I’m slut-shaming. The word “shame” is ringing in my ears constantly, but not in the way you’d expect. Because, instead of actions drawing disapproval, now it’s the shamers who are being shamed.

A generation has turned the concept of humiliation on its head. We get angry about slut-shaming (how dare you notice Miley Cyrus’s camel toe when she straddles a giant hot dog); fat-shaming (yes, this is my third cream cake, what of it). We disapprove of “thin-shaming” when skinny girls are teased about their thigh-gap and call out tattoo-shaming and piercing-shaming as class war.

When the Canadian teenager Lindsey Stocker was admonished by her high school for wearing shorts this summer she shot back complaining they should not be “shaming girls” — they should “teach boys that girls are not sexual objects” instead. Girls at a Utah high school said they’d been shoulder-shamed by administrators who photoshopped T-shirts under their summer dresses in school photos.

Should we humiliate the haters? Stigmatise the shamers? In theory, I’m all for it. I refuse to accept the world’s opprobrium. I’ve always found people who force their superficial norms on me far more offensive than any supposed faux pas. My friends are outraged by anyone who tries to vilify us. We use the phrase “the Walk of Shame” not to describe the misery of the morning after but to satirise the suggestion we’d be embarrassed by it. But are we in danger of making shame redundant?

George Orwell complained in Politics and the English Language that “prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house”.

Read more: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/Magazine/Regulars/article1423292.ece

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