There’s an abundance of negativity in the world. So much that if we were to create the encyclopedia version of the types of shaming, there would be no end to it. Depending on where you’re from and the life experiences you have had, the kinds of shaming that you’ve personally undergone would vary. But closer home, in India, there are a few types that really stand out and need to be dealt with an equal amount of strictness and swiftness.
Fat, thin, tall, short, fair, dark have grown from being simple opposites we learnt in kindergarten to being labels of insult easily churned out at others. We are a nation obsessed with beauty, whatever predefined notions of that there may be. But in recent times, social media has come a huge help in spreading pockets of the revolution that celebrate big hips and stretch marks.
Being a mother is tough as it is. Add to that the jabs of others, especially other moms who don’t agree with the parenting methods of a mother. In India, working mothers have it even tougher with traditionalists still itching at the idea of this concept. And if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you still don’t escape because “What kind of an example are you setting for your child?”
“Look at what she’s wearing.” Every woman has at least once been called out for wearing clothes that are “too exposing” or “too inviting”. The sad thing is that women themselves do this more often than men. According to studies, this comes from a place of low self-esteem and self-worth. It becomes ego boost for them when they indulge in such activity. But consider giving a woman a compliment instead. Wouldn’t that be a much bigger ego boost?
4. Mental Illness shaming
Have you ever casually said you feel depressed about something, or that your friend was such a clean-freak that he’s OCD about how his stuff is organised? These are subtle ways in which we indulge in mental illness shaming, often not even realising what we are doing. When we make such statements, we demean the illness and every person who has had to struggle with them. Making a conscious effort to inform others of this is the first step to stop this form of shaming. And if someone does, in fact, have a mental illness, acknowledge their pain instead of mocking them for seeking therapy.
5. LGBT shaming
The LGBT community are shamed for various things, not just by outsiders, but also by people belonging to the community as well. They are shamed for displaying behaviour that is believed to be gay-like or transgender-like and shamed when they don’t fit into the boxes we have created. With self-loathing being a very common phenomenon among the LGBT community, we desperately need to learn to mind our own business.