A SHAMING EPIDEMIC

We live in strange times. Thanks to social media, an epidemic of public shaming is spreading among us. According to Jon Ronson, author of the book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, social media has given ordinary people like us the extraordinary power to call out those in power who are caught abusing their power.

And it feels good!

The problem is that this power, like any other, also corrupts. We call out those whom we believe need to be called out, correct them, and even demand reparations from them. Because the power can be exhilarating, we can get carried away–which probably explains all the self-righteous, unforgiving–and even more disturbing, jubilant!–online bashing that goes on.

Ronson’s book documents prominent cases of online bashing and social media shaming that have resulted in jobs lost, reputations ruined, and relationships destroyed.

Case in point: Last year, a video involving a high school bullying incident in Manila went viral. The violence captured in the video was very disturbing, to say the least–but even more disturbing than the acts committed in the video were the acts committed online in response to it: the bashing of the minor involved in the incident, as well as all his parents and his school!

Many of the reactions of those who felt they had to join in the fray was so full of rage and self-righteousness that many resorted to using foul or violent language to condemn the violence in the video. The reaction went so viral that if you googled that minor’s name, chances are, the posts that will show up in your search are related to that bullying incident.

More responsible netizens called for sobriety, pointing out that their victim of social media shaming–and ironically, of cyber bullying–was a minor, but many of them ended up themselves getting bashed!

Of course the minor commited a major mistake, but very few seemed willing to give him a second chance. And in this unforgiving call-out culture that we have these days, with that mistake permanently documented on the Internet, victims of public shaming, whether deserved or not, will have to learn to live with their reputation.

This seems to be the culture we live in today, a culture that is unforgiving and that relishes bashing and shaming.

Shame, however, is a poison. Again Brene Brown offers us a helpful distinction between guilt and shame. Guilt is healthy and it leads us to admit that “I made a mistake.”

Shame, on the other hand, is harmful because it condemns not the mistake, but the person. It doesn’t say “I made a mistake,” but “I am a mistake.”

The enemies of our Lord were hellbent on getting Him crucified. The reason is that no death is more shameful than this form of public execution, where the person is stripped not only of His clothes, but also of His dignity, His so-called crime placarded for all to see. In short, they wanted to shame Him.

An Examination of Conscience of sorts is called for here.

Do we engage in shaming–whether in our actual or digital lives?

Have we, in some way, engaged in any form of people-bashing, bullying, or worse, shaming? 

Let’s pause for a few moments for the duration of the music provided here to ask ourselves these questions.

Julian Lloyd Webber (“L’ Heure Exquise”)

Feel free to post any insight or comment below, if you wish.

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67 replies on “A SHAMING EPIDEMIC”

What about those who do not join the on-line bashing, but are equally enjoying and are getting entertained by the bashing they read? Are they accessories to this fault?

In addition to these questions:
Do we engage in shaming–whether in our actual or digital lives?
Have we, in some way, engaged in any form of people-bashing, bullying, or worse, shaming?
What about those who do not join the on-line bashing, but are equally enjoying and are getting entertained by the bashing they read? Are they accessories to this fault?

Admittedly, yes. I do shame people so recklessly, especially at work. I feel so low being this kind of person. I likewise bash people who do not conform with a few close friends, thinking it’s harmless. A bash is a bash. It would have been better to pray for that person and even talk to that person rather than backbite.

Lord forgive me for shaming people in public. I do not stop nor pause in calling out the mistakes committed by others. So sure someone made a mistake and so quick to call it out. Help me to be a gentle person. Teach me to be like You.

I am sorry for how I acted because I was in pain, I wanted others to feel my anger, hatred and how much pain I was feeling. I have shown hate to people. I have become selfish and only thought of my pain. I just hope they are happy so that my pain will not be in vain. I want to be far away from them. Please give me a new life, please let me begin again somewhere.

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Lord forgive me for shaming people in public. I do not stop nor pause in calling out the mistakes committed by others. So sure someone made a mistake and so quick to call it out. Help me to be a gentle person. Teach me to be like You.

I’ve experienced being shamed, and because of it I learned not to cause others shame. It’s the most unloving thing to do.

I pray that I am given enough grace to stop if I am led to cause shame to others.

Sometimes, I tend to exchange banters with others in jest, but not being mindful of the way they get affected by my words. I usually intend no harm. But I guess I should also temper on these seemingly innocent jokes.

I was also a victim of bullying in the very same school where it happened. Sad to say, we can only do so much to avert such incidents.

That time the incident happened, I wanted to shame my bullies. I wanted (and sometimes still want) to shame them so they can experience my pain. But the Lord reminds me to be merciful, unless I myself am sinless.

Truth is, some bullies DO NOT change even if they have grown to become fathers. One bully during my high school days managed to become part of my barkada. I’ve tolerated him for the longest time. Until I said enough. He doesn’t live and respect my values, and tolerance by the rest of the group is tantamount to condoning.

There’s nothing wrong with having power, but there’s right way of using it.

I used to be a cyber bully without being aware of it. Good thing two friends admitted that I have hurt them online. Since then I only post positive Bible verses, quotes and feel good pics and memes. I don’t make any more room for negativity in my social media presence and I just ignore trolls or negatrons who shame me online. I don’t need that negativity in my space ?

I am wondering if this might count as bullying:
Forcing others to my point of view without really trying to understand their point of view first, their reality, the differences in experiences.

I feel that not allowing to hear others – or those times when people refuse to give me an opportunity to hear out my world view/reality/take on an experience or situation – is a subtle form of bullying and shaming.

I have been a victim of shaming by family and friends. Sadly, Filipinos are prone to say hurtful words to their own family members whether in public or in private. Some relatives relish this experience for every gathering or chance they get. Loaded words like “Ikaw dapat ang mag-alaga sa mga magulang mo kasi wala ka namang anak” to “Hindi ka maganda kasi nagmana ka sa side ng Tatay mo.” I know how toxic social media could be, so I do not participate in it as much as I used to. I have forgiven the shamers and guilt-trippers, but I have blocked them from my online feed. I just do not have the patience or tolerance to deal with them. I beg the Lord to make me see that what they have done to me is not as important as my relationship with my family, but it is very difficult when I have been subjected to shaming for decades because of the way I looked and because of my untraditional way of thinking.

i’m a bully, I shame people in front of others, I am guilty. I have to be conscious of these tendencies, help me Lord to change. I’m sorry my Lord.

I am guilty of speaking ill of others, sometimes under the tricky guise of “just venting” or “just wanting to understand them” or “did I interpret it correctly?” Or ” if you were me, would you get offended too?”

I think what matters most here is to choose who you share it with well. In my case, it is a confidant who is close to Jesus, who helps me see the other side, and helps me deal with things with kindness and compassion, someone who also calls me out when I’m at fault or when I’m being judgmental.

Other times, with other people, it’s gossip and public shaming. Which makes me feel closer to the person I’m sharing it with, because we have a hot topic to talk about.

I’m embarrassed about judging others.

Sometimes, I also am unable to help others when they vent to me. It can feel good to be trusted with their thoughts and feelings, even negative ones toward others. But at this time, am I like the Jews, pressuring them to act negatively? Or do I help them gain compassion and insight?

It is difficult to fight for truth while wanting to be liked by others.

Jesus, forgive me for my weakness, and help me to want and seek only your approval.

Excluding people because I judge them based on their actions could be a form of shaming.
Lord, grant me the humility to recognize that I am sinful too, and to forgive those who have hurt me.

It is sad to see that many of us choose to be silent as few people manipulate our country. The temptation by pain is obvious in our case as we fear the consequences of our actions if we go against others who work on dividing our nation. When will we realize that there can be no future for our kids if we allow hatred and lies to thrive in our society?

I realized that I am a bully to my own siblings… and I am really sorry for wounding their hearts and for giving them hurtful memories…

I learned it the hard way. I hate bullies as I grew up I’d been bullied They created a big hole in me. But sad to say, I was too, once a bully. I don’t intentionally bully someone but with the ways I talked about other people sometimes I end up bullying others. It may not be directly but still it create negative impact to them. I’d learn my lesson, so I make sure to always remind myself this situation.

More often than not, because i want to think that I’m right, I put others to shame by making them feel guilty and end up refusing to be more loving.

Why is it so easy to point fingers at people who committed sins and mistakes, as if we ourselves are without any blemish? How unforgiving and judgmental have we become!

Ironically, God never shamed us despite the gravity of our sins. He makes us realize our shortcomings and allows us to face Him with guilt. We recognize our faults and admit that we did sin. To Him, we are not the sum of our faults and weaknesses. He sees us with the eyes of love. His hope for us never runs out. He continues to believe in our capacity to ask for forgiveness, forgive, repent and love.

May this challenge the hardness of our hearts. He doesn’t condemn the sinner but tells him/her to sin no more. He offers His mercy to the undeserving and unworthy. That includes us. Who are we, then, to not do the same?

I was raised too proper to shame but I enjoy the funny, witty shaming remarks against the clearly shameful people in government. What does that make me Lord? I pray for our president that he may have a soul-changing experience.

I may have not publicly shamed others but I realized now that I have, privately. It dawned on me that I talk bad about other people with my friends. I judged these people and shame them to my friends. It is a nasty attitude and a thing that I really want to change. I want to see the goodness in each person. Life is better that way.

I hate it when people judge me or finds fault in my ways. Nonetheless, I often find myself condemning others, most of the time, silently/ in my head. I realized that what I don’t want done to me is the very thing thay I do towards others.

Sometimes that it is hard for others when we point their mistakes and interpret it as shaming instead for correction.

Bashing can happen without words. It can be done with a disdainful expression, by excluding others, through a curt and cutting reply… and I am usually guilty of such.

Never occurred to me before that I was shaming/bashing, but painfully i admit now that it was….

I don’t consciously bash or shame others because I wouldn’t want others to do that to me. I believe in second chances. However, I may have unconsciously done so to show that I am right. This righteousness is what I need to correct in myself.

I recall this one time when, while I was speaking with tutee A, tutee B misbehaved. So I called tutee B over to where I was. Tutee A was whispering/begging, “not in front of me, not in front of me,” to cut the story short, I reprimanded tutee B in front of Tutee A. Now that I look back to that situation, I shamed Tutee B.

As teachers MAYBE I believed that if others heard what happened and learned about the consequencea of the action, they would learn not to do that again. In my defense, so far, it has worked. I don’t talk to a student twice about the same thing… and once they’ve seen the consequence, warnings will work. (When asked if they find me scary, no one said I was… but that they wouldn’t want to see me get mad – feeling Hulk ako)

Now, amidst the ranpant bashing and hating, I have learned NOT to take part in it. It createsso much negativity and ugliness!

In this group that I recently joined, there was one whom people talk about because of the person’s propensity to pick fights or to borrow money to make ends meet (but the person refused to apply in a company). I’d just listen because I don’t really know the person. But I’d avoid lending the person money – just in case. Nowadays I tell people to just be thankful and you’re not in the same position/boat;to pray for the person; to NOT answer when the person is picking a fight. It’s hard but hating and bashing HAVE TO stop. And we have to start somewhere

reflecting on this, i have been committing shaming, bashing for the sake of projecting an image of myself as righteous and concerned person.. to find sympathy with everyone around me.. only to end up suspecting those whom i shared shaming bashing are the same persons “backstabbing” me by their own version of shaming bashing.. this is really not good

As hard as it is to admit this, I do realize that I am guilty of spreading stories about people and what they have done. Sure, these are true stories, yes, but shaming people instead of giving them the chance to correct their mistake is still wrong.

My initial response is “no”, but a deeper look at my daily life reveals that I actually shame people, particularly those who fall short of my expectations.

For my own sanity, I am trying to limit my social media activities, and now more active at Instagram where there is less politics.
Admittedly this started when current administration came into power. I was, and am, just really disgusted. I used to be much more vocal about my political views, but I have joined the ranks of the indifferent.
I justify it by saying I am just avoiding confrontations.
But the famous Elie Wiesel quote continues to haunt me: ‘We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.’
Bearing in mind that even taking sides, must always be respectful of everyone.

I tend to stay on Twitter when I want to comment about the many things the Ph government gets wrong. The wittier the comment, the better. And I do engage trolls so actively that it tends to take a good amount of my free time.

But when this minor and the fighting/bullying incident occurred, and people I know, in my social media circles, started sharing the videos, bashing, calling him and his parents/ siblings names, it was shameful.

Sometimes, we think we’re being woke/cool by pointing out wrongs. Are we really? Or are we just being trolls?

But how about those who have committed so many crimes against our nation and continue to get away with these? Even continue to hold positions of power? How do we deal with them?

Guilty! I’ve shamed others, by talking about their faults to other people. I tried – and am still trying — to correct this habit. My excuse before was, how do I let off steam when I’ve been wronged or when person X is not really doing a good job?

I came across an article which gave me useful guidelines. As much as possible, talk to the Lord about it, instead talking to other people. To ask ‘is it the truth?’ and more importantly, ‘is it necessary?’ Can the person I am talking to help make the situation better?

Thank you, Jasmine, for sharing these guidelines. I’ve memorized them. Yesterday, I recited the questions in my head when I caught myself, as I was about to talk about others’ faults. It worked!

I think shaming comes from the belief that people will learn from it or that they deserve it, politicians included. But I feel this has to be evaluated against Jesus saying that the rain falls on the just and the unjust.

I hate corruption and will definitely not support plunderers, but to disapprove of someone with an infamous family name from attending a university event sounds a bit like people accusing Jesus of eating with sinners.

I came across an article today about “being the bigger person” in situations wherein you want to correct the situation because in your opinion that it the right way. But, not all share the same sentiments as you. There will always be another who is in contrast to your opinion. I guess today’s lesson is to just simply “walk away” not necessarily “beaten” but perhaps there are just certain things that need to be left unsaid esp when social media is involved. You can choose to just cut your ties without having to announce it not bec you don’t care for that person but rather than say anything more that you can’t retract, just let it go. It’s hard to do and everyday with social media, it’s difficult to actually stay away from any social media fight.

Does calling out the Marcoses recently count as bullying? Shaming? Negative?
I would never use foul language or like/agree with posts that are unkind.
And, how about the sitting president? Should I , like Jesus, be silent, and accept that this world is not our Lord’s domain?
So confusing …

I may be guilty of shaming sometimes to point out some wrongdoings. But I could have handled it differently.

Yes, I have, in my thoughts, mostly, because I feel small and inadequate in the eyes of the world. I have nothing to show for — beauty, wealth or outstanding achievement, so I lift myself up by pulling others down.
How shameful!
After years of struggle with this, through prayer and by God’s grace, one day last January, I woke up and the feelings of envy or feeling small were mostly gone.

I had been shamed and shamed others as well. I had been trying my best to get rid of this after I realized that shaming of others is my way of having power over them.

During my corporate days, I’ve had my hard lessons as a people manager. I was called out by my immediate boss for “shaming” my staff via e-mail wherein he and some other fellow department heads of his were copied. He took me aside (offline) to deliver a valuable lesson in managing people, which humbled me much. At the end of the day, a leader should assume responsibility for the blame and stand up for her people.

I had been shamed and have shamed people. I admit to being a snob and have little tolerance for people who are a little slow in uptake or spread what I call utter lies. But I also had been shamed by others for their intolerance for my attitude, and at times, to faults that are not really my own.

I reflect that though my shaming may be justified, I should also put myself in their position. Sometimes, we also need to look beyond the weakness and show compassion. Educating will always be better than shaming. Be kind, always, even to the people who do not understand.

I have been bashed in a group page. I also have experienced fighting bashers. The best thing to do is not to go down to their level and be the better person.

we are all guilty of doing this whether we are the victim or we instigate the action.i think we should reflect on how we can handle thos,to think first before even posting anything or even saying anything to anyone.let us ve sensitive to each and everyone. as we dont want to be put to shame as well.

Shaming people is so.common nowadays. I don’t get it when they do so bec they are also.shamed by others as well. I fear for the time that we no longer feel.and becomes indifferent to everything.

I experienced public shaming in the past. It is a bitter moment. To be ridiculed and humiliated in front of people who mattered to me is really a devastating experience. Hence, I vowed not to make this happen again and not to do such a thing to others. But I at times failed to live out this promise. #guiltyAScharged

I am never good at hiding my emotions. If I am guilty of something, it shows and there will be no way of denying that I have done something wrong. I have always been mindful and careful of other people’s feelings because of this.

Whether we are the target of shaming or the instigator of shaming another, we are all victims of this shaming epidemic. How did we get here? Once upon a time, shaming words spilled out from a person’s mouth. They came with facial expressions that emphasize the horror of the shame. It was up front and personal. Because of this, shaming words were well-suppressed. Nakakahiyang manghiya ng kapwa.

Then the grapevine climbed the trellis of our social relationships. We shared in whispers, with trusted friends, what’s shameful about another. Our faces have limited exposure.

Now with the internet, shaming has become cruel in its facelessness; unrestrained in its speed; ignorant of consequences.

Is there a way of turning back this shamelessness?

I just realized that the way/manner I call attention to the mistake committed by my children and our helper have led them to feelings of shame, not just guilt. 🙁

There are times we treat our co-workers better than our family and I think this is one good example. We are more mindful of how we treat our co-workers that we sometimes take for granted our family; perhaps, it is because we are confident of their love. But, as my eldest said, “We love you but it doesn’t mean you can abuse that love.” What wise words from a 12-year old!

I don’t like shaming people because I know the feeling of being on the receiving end, and this happend long before there was social media.

I agree with the comment made previous to me, I have been guilty of “shaming” in the workplace when I raise my voice to reprimand my subordinate. I apologized to her afterwards. I should work on managing my anger better. I will work to become a kind and considerate person.

I have to learn how to give criticisms constructively instead of resorting to make people feel the shame of making a mistake, especially at work.

In the workplace and other areas of our live there are really people who use shaming as a way to make others to feel guilty and humiliate them. But when they are confronted they make a righteous stand that they did nothing wrong.

I just realized that at work, I need to be more sensitive and mindful of how I correct other people. I’m guilty at times of shaming, and I realize that this is not right. I move forward to be a better person at work.

There is always a better and more effective way of calling out people when we think they are getting out of bounds and shaming is not one of them. Shaming pushes people against the wall and there is no way but to fight back and the situation worsens and there is no resolution.

My reflection is on reprimanding people at work bc of mistakes. It happens in front of others and maybe important for others to hear so as not to make the same costly error. The errors done in my workplace have a great impact on others welfare and so there is a small margin of acceptable mistakes.

What I am reflecting now is the manner in how the reprimand takes place. Sometimes it is at the expense of one’s dignity and is unkind. It is very difficult and frustrating especially when with some people.

Lord, I ask you to restraint me whenever I am about to speak words which will cause shame to others, especially my family members.

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