Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Prude-shaming, Love-shaming, Marriage-shaming, and Tradition-shaming

Based on my readings of feminist blogs, women's blogs, media messages, and conversations with certain people I think that there is such thing as "prude-shaming", "love-shaming", "marriage-shaming", and "tradition-shaming". What all four of these acts have in common is that they shame people for doing something that was once considered the norm in the recent past (10-15 years ago). People are being shamed for things that were the norm when I was growing up. A lot of this shaming is based on the theoretical ideas of certain intellectuals or activist groups. Unfortunately what these people are endorsing has not been tested enough in Western societies or many other societies for them to say that they are "good for society" and will not cause problems in the future. There is a big difference between theory and practice and sometimes ideas that sound good on paper are disasterous in real life. Of course traditional viewpoints and lifestyles are not perfect either but at least we can compare times in the past to the present and see the problems that have arisen since non-traditional lifestyles and beliefs have become more popular.

Prude-shaming: This done to shame someone who is uncomfortable with or disgusted by a certain level of sexual activity. It may be used when someone is against sex before marriage, promiscuity, pornography, strippers, prostitution, open relationships or specific sex acts that they think are disgusting. The prude is told "don't judge" something to be disgusting or undesirable when that is exactly how they feel. Prudes are people with a lower threshold for disgust and prude-shamers have a higher threshold. Therefore, a prude could be disgusted by a specific behaviour while a prude-shamer would have a neutral or positive reaction. The prude-shamer then judges him- or herself as "correct", "enlightened", "open-minded" or in some way "better" than the prude and this is used to justify their shaming of the prude. If the prude tries to shame the prude-shamer or people who engage in a given sexual practice then they are called a "slut-shamer" or "sex-shamer" (e.g., Jenna Marbles incident).

The problem with prude-shaming is that people are made to question their disgusted feelings and values and pressured to condone things that they actually don't like. In the worst case, people will engage in behaviours they don't like because everyone else says those behaviours are acceptable and they are "abnormal" if they don't agree (the basis for peer/media pressure).

Love-shaming: This is done to shame someone who believes in love, is looking for love, or who spends a lot of time pursuing and thinking about romantic relationships. This is done to men and women who make any effort to find a romantic partner (e.g., flirting, going out to meet people, approaching people, online dating, matchmakers, reading dating books etc.). These people may be ridiculed and told love doesn't exist, relationships are for suckers, it's better to be single, you are so desperate, you must have low self-esteem if you need someone so bad, all you need is yourself, etc. They are discouraged from looking for love and told that there is something wrong with them that needs to be fixed (e.g., judging them by saying they have low self-esteem, daddy issues, no life, desperate, no goals, no career focus, etc.). They are told that love is just something in books and movies and  they are judged to be being foolish, naive, silly, immature for caring so much about it. Women who appear to be very concerned with relationships are ridiculed for not having any depth (e.g., Taylor Swift is ridiculed for singing so much about relationships). Love-shaming is often done by people who have never experienced love, those who have loved and lost, and those who prefer relationships without love (e.g., casual sex relationships). 

In the worst case, people will give up on finding love, settle for whatever relationship they can get, or allow others to dictate the terms of relationships (e.g., I will use your body but I will not love you, and you will accept this because that's a normal relationship and love doesn't exist).

Marriage-shaming: This is done to shame someone who wants to get married, thinks highly of marriage, or thinks more people should get married. These people are told statistics about how many marriages end in divorce and about couples and singe people who are very happy without being married. They are told that marriage is an oppressive and antiquated practice based on the patriarchal ownership of women and has nothing to do with real love. Marriage-shaming often takes the form of warning people not to get married (especially men) and that marriage ruins relationships. Marriage-shamers love to tell people that they grew up in or know people who grew up in single-parent households who turned out fine so there is no need to get married. Marriage-shaming is frequently done when someone criticizes others for not getting married before having children or blames the decline of marriage for any problem in society. Marriage-shamers often uphold non-traditional relationships (i.e., relationships that are not marriages between 1 man and 1 woman) as being just as acceptable to society, healthy, fulfilling, common, and beneficial to children.

In the worst case, people will not ask for marriage when that is what they really want. Or they will stay with partners who refuse to marry them (because the partner doesn't really want to commit and gives normalized reasons why marriage is unnecessary). These people will feel disappointed and that they were not good enough to marry (e.g., thinking they will never get married because they are Black women :( ). People will not feel the need to get married, marriage rates will further decline, and being unmarried will become the norm. 

Tradition-shaming: Prude-shaming, love-shaming, and marriage-shaming can also be considered types of tradition-shaming. Tradition-shaming occurs when someone is shamed for a belief or lifestyle that is traditional and has been acceptable for a long time. Disgust with promiscuity and certain sex acts is traditional and present in many religions. Belief in love and having romantic relationships is also traditionally accepted (but in some places arranged marriages are just as/even more acceptable). Belief in marriage is of course very traditional all around the world and in many religions. Tradition-shaming also occurs when anyone is shamed for endorsing and embracing a traditional feminine appearance, traditional feminine activities (e.g., cooking, sewing), or gender roles. Tradition-shaming is often applied to people who try to maintain their cultural roots or those who are religious. Tradition-shamers judge that there is something wrong with those who uphold tradition and call those people old-fashioned, brainwashed, non-thinking, closed-minded, afraid of change, sexist, zealots etc. because they are not following newer trends or beliefs. Tradition-shamers believe in modern beliefs and lifestyles and judge them to be superior to those of the past.

In the worst case, people will abandon their beliefs and traditions in favor of modern lifestyles that have no track record of being better for most people or beneficial to society . Instead of doing or asking for what they want people will suppress these desires and do/accept whatever other people say is "the new normal" (e.g., Many men and women are settling for just "hooking up" when they really want relationships because the media keeps saying traditional dating is dead. Women will settle for not getting married because the media says marriage is becoming rare. Women will accept open relationships if the media says open relationships can be healthy and satisfying. Women will put up with being "baby mamas" if everyone says it's acceptable and fathers are unnecessary).

The purpose of this post was to show that shaming goes both ways. Progressive people shame and judge conservative and traditional people for their views. This shaming and judging has become very prominent with the media, intellectuals, and activism groups (e.g., feminists) who become outraged when traditional people shame and judge them back. They make up terms like "slut-shaming" and "fat-shaming" when someone states their being promiscuous or very overweight is unattractive for them or romantic partners they are seeking. People are shamed for having opinions that are not super liberal and modern. Just as these modern thinkers call traditional people closed-minded, small thinking, or brainwashed, traditional people call modern thinkers irresponsible, unrealistic, lacking self-control, and brainwashed by the media and activists!

Who is the real free-thinker with strong beliefs that will not be swayed by the opinions of others? Is it the modern person who follows every trend and thinks we should just accept and adapt to whatever other people choose to do? Or is it the traditional person who compares the past to the present, thinks some things in the past were better, and fights against the loud voices of those who want to abandon everything we have learned in the past? Traditional people have their books and theories and modern/progressive people have their books and theories. Both groups JUDGE their views to be better than the other group and they both SHAME the other group for their views.

I think it is abnormal to not have any opinions or values and people who say "I never judge" and "I accept everything and everyone" are lacking self-awareness. They are unaware of their biases and preferences but you can pick these things out by looking at the way they live and the choices they make for themselves. Beware of people who say they support lifestyles that they have never engaged in and have NO DESIRE to engage in. Ask them why because that will reveal their biases and preferences. This is a big red flag! For example, some feminists say they will support any woman (including a friend's) sexual lifestyle even though they have never engaged in that lifestyle, and have no desire to do so. If they have no desire to engage in the lifestyle under any circumstance then they do not really approve of that lifestyle! If they can not list reasons why they think that lifestyle is valuable, good, justified etc. then they do not approve of that lifestyle! If under different circumstances they would not engage in that lifestyle (e.g., no one would find out, no danger, trusted people, nothing to lose), then they do not approve. I liken this to you asking someone if doing A is a good idea, they say sure, you then ask them to do A with you and they say "No way I'm not crazy!" These people will NEVER give you honest and good advice about important life choices because they will nod their heads and support ANYTHING! Should I quit school? Sure! Should I be a stripper? Sure! Should I join the circus? Sure! Should I sleep with the entire football team? Sure! Do you see how useless and potentially destructive that is? They either don't think or they don't care to protect you from harm. True friends and family members would never do this. They would talk to you about your decision, make sure you were informed about the pros and cons, and discuss alternatives. Don't bother seeking approval for people with no standards, you may as well talk to a brick wall.


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  5. You've hit the nail on the head. Where did this come from?

  6. Speak the truth and shame the devil. I'm so happy someone is finally speaking up against some of this ridiculous brainwashed, loud mouth, man hating femnazi spewing their nonsense all over the net. They are just as bad as the misogynists. In fact I think those two extreme social movements are toxic to both men and women. There are woman like myself who value marriage and want to met a man (not some weak beta male who has been emasculated) to continue my family's legacy and build a great life. I want to be treated, protected, and provided for. Black women who want to have an abundant life, successful marriage, health, wealth, prosperity etc need to stop having these other people with their own political agendas speak on their behalf. These women promoting promiscuity instead of marriage and faux equality which is not in the best interest of womanhood. In fact we only see the public image of these women. We don't know what goes on when they are in private. I know some of these public fem-nazis and many of them have unresolved issues with men. Do you want someone who is emotionally damage to represent you? I don't. Black women have been caught up in the matrix thinking that they should follow social trends that are not beneficial to their personal well being like Fat acceptance which is another load of crap. Anyway thanks for this fantastic blog post. You inspired me to explore this topic on my own blog.

  7. This article is great on so many levels. We are living in an age where Women are beginning to reshape their identity by moving away from both ends of the spectrum in hopes of finding the middle. There are some hard core feminist women and also there are some women who need to have a voice and not let men walk all over them. I think if your blog continues to have these well thought out articles it will help women find a the happy functional healthy middle of the spectrum. In the main time what to do but love our women.

  8. I think the problem is less about shaming and more about people feeling like they didn't have a choice for so long. And now that women have more choices they choose to exercise them. But if you look at the state of women, from a global perspective at least, the staunch feminist voice is in the minority. And it's not an either or, many of those same feminist voices are happily married and living wonderful lives. While on the flip side I had a friend who grew up in a very traditional home and her dad beat her mom and all of the kids. I'm not saying all traditional households are like that, but what I am saying is that it's about choice not about shaming. The pendulum will continue to swing until women and men learn how to relate in the new gender paradigm shift that's happening, because things are never going back to the way they used to be, the world's just a different place. In the meantime, we're all still trying to figure it out, hopefully without blaming or trying to kill each other.

  9. I think that you nailed it with the correct wording SHAMING. When someone openly mocks, ridicules, or puts down someone whose views and lifestyle if different from their own it is called shaming. Mature adults can agree to disagree without attacking a persons viewpoint that they don't agree with. I am sure there are happily married feminists out there who have the ability to disagree, but not attack or put down the person in the process, but more times than not that is not the case. Most are beligerent and see any woman who wants to be a wife and mother as a traitor to the progress of women like it is pushing women back into the 1950's

    I remember when I was in High School the "Popular" girls made fun of and teased those of us who were still virgins like it was some form of scarlet letter and they would not let up and made it hell for us. Funny thing is now some of those same females are now are mothers with kids by different guys they slept with those years ago.

    The funny thing about this shame game is that the behavior that was condemned by the people with more conservative views 50 years ago is now widely accepted and those with the more traditional views are the subject of a witch hunt. A girl getting pregnant out of wedlock 50 years ago was almost burned at the stake for what she had done and was hidden away like some shameful secret now this behavior is rewarded with money, book deals and 15 minutes of fame with shows like "teen mom" and "16 and pregnant" and young girls and women who want to wait til marriage to be sexually active and have children are looked at as "weird".

    There is a saying, the proof is in the pudding. I have cousins and other young men in their 20's who actually long for women who have more traditional values and carry themselves like ladies instead of being so open legged and mouthed. these are 20 something men born in the late 80's early 90's not the 50's. Many of these guys want to marry and have children but see no examples to follow. People like the Duggars and their 20 kids which they provide for and take care of are looked at like side show freaks, but people flock to celebrate bed hopping Kim Kardashian getting pregnant by Kanye west. These are the "role models" that our young men and women have to look at??? Some of these young people are waking and realizing that all this so called "freedom" is leaving them empty.

    There is a reason these retro shows are so popular, because despite the drama and mess in the characters lives, the traditional structures were still needed and respected. Most people long for the basics; to love and be loved and have a sense of purpose beyond themselves. To their credit there are some reformed feminists out there who have exercised their freedom and realized that there was some sense to those more traditional structures. I wear vintage clothes and some of my friends do too and they told me that when they wear more feminine vintage clothing, they men are alot more respectful and attentive to them than the women with half their butt hanging out of their skirt.

    Even Gloria Steinem who made the phrase "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" and encouraged women not to be defined by being a wife and mother got married a few years ago and was very happy until he passed away a few years later.

    I for one refuse to be shamed for wanting to be more traditional and conservative in how I govern my life, if those around me don't feel that way, I change the people I associate with and let the outcome do the talking.

  10. Thanks for all the positive comments. It's good to know that there are some people out there who notice the same thing and feel the same way. Thank you for sharing your thoughts :)