Change the World, One Monday at a Time (Part 5)
If you've been on Facebook or Twitter or any of the other social medai sites, you've probably seen those adorable picture compilations where people "shaming" there cat for throwing their poo around when they want their litter box cleaned. And who can forget that infamous pic of the siblings in their "get along shirt". For some reason, these pictures bug me.
Let's take the "get along shirt" picture. Now, I am not at all judging the parents for their discipline methods. In some ways, the get along shirt is pure genius. (Granted, the kidlets would rip that bad boy within two seconds of being confined to each other when all they want is to get away from each other, but that's why we don't have a shirt like that.) And it's not even the taking of the picture that bothers me. Are you kidding... in twenty years, that's going to be hilarious.
In twenty years.
What bothers me about this pic and the ones that have followed, because it's "trendy" and "funny" is that they are cruel. Okay, MAYBE the animals don't care... especially the ones who got into the catnip. But for the human creatures, this is symptom of the shaming epidemic that is exploiting people with no positive outcome.
Maybe this is shaming BS is something that I'm fixated on because I'm a "plus size" girl. Oh, who are we kidding? I'm fat. And if you tell me I'm not, I will look at you like you have lost your mind. Because I'm not ashamed of my body. Saying that I'm not fat when I am is implying that there is nothing worse than being fat and honestly, I can think of a lot worse things to be. I have had to deal with a lot of crap in my life and my vice is not drugs or alcohol or cutting myself. My vice is food.
But because of my weight, I know there is a chance that somebody is going to feel it necessary to shame me into feeling bad about my weight. I've seen it happen to others. I've seen total strangers take a picture my friend posted when she was feeling pretty in a wickedly awesome dress, and use her as a punchline to a joke. The key word in this is TOTAL STRANGER. (For the record, yes, I do have a practiced response should someone feel the need to belittle me and since I like words, I would really, really like someone to record the verbal evisceration. Not for public consumption, of course.)
So what does this have to do with the pictures on social media that show a girl who has been sleeping while she started her period for the sake of a laugh have to do with fat shaming or slut shaming or political shaming? It's all the same... a degree of humiliating people for the sake of creating a spotlight moment for your own satisfaction. (And please, know that, when I refer to you, it's not really you. However, if you did put this picture I'm referring to up on Instagram, I'm glad they removed it from their site.)
But we don't need spotlight hogs. We need champions. And champions don't shame. They don't take advantage of someone in a time of oblivious slumber or when they have already been punished or when they feel good about themselves. We don't need people who will throw around deplorable names to humiliate and degrade someone. We need individuals who will challenge the accepted practice of hurting people for sport.
No one is perfect. Everyone makes choices, some good, some not so much. We have to live with the consequences. But no matter, everyone deserves to be respected.
So, balls in your court. How can you be a difference maker and stand up against public shaming? Have you been shamed. Please feel free to share your story. And no matter what, know that you aren't alone. And there are people who've got your back!