(I’m well aware this will not be popular, but it is written as more of an intellectual essay, so if you take offense, that’s your problem, not mine. I don’t write to be popular.)
Humankind is by nature a social animal, regulated by its society and, in turn, regulating its society. Putting aside the high talk, our friends’, family’s and neighbors’ opinions weigh on us. They are, perhaps, the most effective way we learn our behavior. You can be told what is right and wrong, but until you are punished for doing wrong, most people don’t actually learn.
That brings me to the point. Many children today – and make no doubt, they are children – engage in questionable sexual acts. (Yes, I realize I classify these as questionable according to my personal hang-ups, but that’s all I have to go on. Also, I will show they classify them that way themselves in a bit.) At times, these acts are captured in picture or on tape. Then, sometimes those pictures or tapes make it onto the internet, where the children are then ridiculed.
If the children were not ashamed of their actions, if they were, in fact, proud of them, it would be impossible to ridicule them. The attention the pictures or tapes garner online would only serve to encourage them to continue the behavior. There would be no “shame” by definition.
The only way slut shaming works is if the person in the pictures is actually ashamed of the actions they committed. They buy in to the societal norm, and therefore are ashamed. If they didn’t believe in the “rules”, they wouldn’t be ashamed of their own actions, wouldn’t care about the condemnation heaped upon them. They are ashamed of their actions.
No one can shame you but yourself. If you are being “slut shamed” you do it by your own choice. You took the actions. You knew they were wrong, but you did them anyway. Now you feel shame. It was your choice, your actions, your consequences.
And so I say, if we hold to the same beliefs that created the shame in the first place, we should encourage, not condemn “slut shaming”. It could be the most effective learning tool we have to correct bad behavior. Most children crave their peers’ approval more than they crave to obey seemingly arbitrary rules. The shaming would most likely result in proper behavior much faster and more reliably than any other method.
Yes, it hurts. The children allow themselves to be ridiculed in their own minds, which brings about real pain. But pain is also a great teacher. One that we’ve avoided too much in recent time, if you ask me.
So, decide what behavior you want, and move in that way. Right now, both our media and the prevailing actions of our society are schizophrenic. We claim to hold the beliefs that the children’s actions are wrong but then also hold that the retribution they face is also wrong. Make up your mind and act accordingly. And do it soon. This current mess is getting tiresome.