I recently read a post by The Opinionated Man about Lit-Shaming.
I have to be completely honest – I am guilty of lit-shaming. If you read any of my other posts, you would know this. I lit-shamed the hell out of paranormal romance books in my Bizarre Surprises post. The thing is, I know a lot of people who like to read books that I tend to poo-poo. They are great people; they have great senses of humor, are compassionate, are there to listen, and tend to read other genres as well. The whole lit-shaming thing has nothing what so ever to do with the other person. It’s about my own pet peeves and how I’m projecting them onto anyone who will listen.
I think this can be applied to anything people get interested in. Movies, music, clothing – it can all be “shamed”. That’s such a drama queen term. When you tell someone you think their outfit looks stupid, you really aren’t trying to put the person down. I know, I know – it sounds stupid, but hear me out. Most of the time, the “shaming” is done with little to no thought. The words fly out of your mouth and then it’s done. Once out there, it’s really up to the receiver to decide how to handle it. My husband is a pro at this and can turn this stuff into comedy gold. He even “shames ” other people’s likes in a funny way which makes it seem more acceptable and can get people to laugh at themselves. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
I remember growing up, I didn’t like the same music as other people my age. I went through a new age jazz phase. I loved it but it drove my brother as crazy as his grunge music drove me. He would say snarky things and I would take them personally. I eventually stopped listening to the music because of it. When he noticed this, he told me that wasn’t his intent. He was just teasing me and did not mean to hurt me. It sounds like a stupid explanation, but it’s true. I think “shaming” is just our way of teasing the people around us because we seem to think that we matter enough to them for our opinion to matter – as just that: an opinion. They know better than to take it to heart and can return the same teasing to reinforce the relationship.
Sounds weird, but it seems to be my experience.
Of course, there is a kind of shaming that is done to bully. Again, growing up, I didn’t like to wear what everyone else my age wore. I didn’t want to show skin and I wasn’t into brand names. I like cheap clothes that were functional and wouldn’t show a lot of dirt. I tended to wear a lot of beige pants and flower print tops. You can imagine the type of feedback I got from my peers. It could have been considered bullying, and at times I thought it was. But then I realized that I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to change the way I did something because a stranger decided they didn’t like it.
I think that’s the difference. When someone you like and know “shames” something you like, it can be taken much more personally than someone you don’t know. It’s kind of ironic when you think about it: You are going to stop doing something because someone you know teases you about it even though you know they like you and wouldn’t change you for the world.
With all that being said, I am not sorry that I tease people about their choices in life. I expect my friends to tease me and I tell strangers who do it to feck off. Life is too short to get worked up about such nonesense.
By the way, nothing is better than cold shouldering someone who is trying to get attention by putting you down. Nothing. Well, maybe a fist to the groin, but that will get you arrested.