Wayne – If you have a firm opinion on personal appearance, physical fitness or sexuality, then chances are you have participated in shaming someone, somewhere, somehow.
Place any word before the verb “shaming” and you’ll be expressing a genuine movement. I mean it. There is dog shaming, game shaming, food shaming and even passenger shaming, where random people post pictures online of passengers who enjoy cutting their toenails during flights. Today, if you so much as disagree with another person’s opinion on pretty much anything, you should be ashamed of yourself.
Body shaming, slut shaming and religion shaming are only a few of the deep-rooted acceptance issues that exist in our nation. This article is not an attack on all movements against degradation. However, there is currently an overuse of the concept behind the ideology.
The Art of Shame
Shame, or shaming, is the act of causing someone to feel humiliated, according to Merriam-Webster. American culture has perpetuated high, and often impossible, standards of living, beauty and health. The advertisement industry spent just over $76 billion in 2016, according to Statista. Surely most of the ads featured pretentious messages of perfection which can adversely affect how people perceive themselves and others. Much of the influence of the media on an individual relies on the perspective of the person.
I was recently tagged in an Instagram video that a girl made to denounce the idea of getting a “bikini body” before summer. The young girl believed that bikini body posts placed unnecessary pressure on women who may not be bikini-ready. I imagine the young girl displays the same commitment to outerwear shaming when hoodie season comes around. Some people may want to wear a knitted hipster hat and there is nothing wrong with that.
Calling people out for underwear lines targeting skinny or curvier models is like hating car insurance companies for concentrating services on car owners. People choose particular lifestyles and have specific aims in life which may not align with other beliefs and yet are not meant to shame. There is no shame in choosing to eat steaks over salads or sporting clothes you feel comfortable wearing. Taking pride in yourself diminishes the possibility of outside influences affecting your self-esteem.
My grandmother once told me that for every person who thinks me perfect, there is always someone pointing out my flaws. What I gathered from that lesson is that you cannot please everyone in this world. Author and journalist Anais Nin once wrote, “Shame is a lie someone told you about yourself.”
The existence of standards should not be muddled with the existence of limitations. If you want to become a professional weightlifter, you have to work out every day. If modeling is your dream, then be prepared to do what it takes to get on the runway. However, be mindful of the possibility of failure while believing in the power of confidence. Shame blaming highlights the insecurities of the ideal individual.