Friday, February 12, 2021

To Shame or Not to Shame Shouldn't Be a Question

 Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

frozen ~ demand ~ catastrophe ~ exempt ~ relieved

They were submitted by:

Since I'm all fired up on the subject of Facebook groups (and fb itself)--see last week's post--let's air out some more pent up ranting.

Why the fuck are so many people in shaming groups?

Here we are, mostly adults, using social media services like facebook where we could reach and educate the populace, introduce political theory, combat misinformation, form social bonds and strong communities, and do actual for real mutual aid and instead we just shitting all over everything folks do.

There are groups filled with tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of folks who post pics from their own friends list or that they see in other spaces that should be private just to make fun of someone. I have seen ring shaming, make-up shaming, eyebrow shaming...decor, crafts, how clean a person's house is, tattoos that aren't done well, the whole concept of a person's tattoo, art, marketplace posts, hair, eyelashes, freckles, recipes, cars, pet collars (and let's face it probably people collars too), weddings, food pics, home design, fat people, fat animals, graphic design, announcements, eyeliner, proposals, handmade disney ears, disney crafts, sisters in law, mothers in law, names, LGBTQIA folks... I mean the list here is endless. Endless.

I have been aware of these groups for some time. I do belong to quite a few fb groups myself though they're mostly for tagging (using the name of the group to make a point) and I rarely interact. Within the same week I saw in crafting and home decor groups I am in that people had their pics/posts put in shaming groups. The person responsible for putting them in shaming groups is always removed, but by then the damage is done, right? Can you imagine posting and loving this thing you made and put your creative heart and soul into just to see it in end up in a different group where hundreds of people trash it in the comments? These folks were absolutely mortified and ashamed  and sometimes retraumatized after spending all of their school years being bullied. Mean Girls moments revisited.

I don't post things I make or my art very often in these groups because I know my taste isn't for everyone, but I do post it for friends to see. But after these events, I checked out some of these shaming groups only to be shocked at how many friends I actually have in some of them in both places--accepting groups and shaming ones.

I don't exactly feel safe posting a lot of things anymore. People will find a way to violate any and everything sacred.

I did my first actual painting just a couple weeks ago. I made a post recently about crafts and things I'd done at home including a little halloween mural in my kitchen, and I guess that counts as painting, too, but this was sitting down at a canvas and making an idea from my head come to life, and it feels remarkably different from throwing some generuc halloween characters on the wall no matter how much I love the wall. I don't know if I have the right words for it. So I finish this painting, my first ever, and it makes me so happy to look at it. I love it. I framed it and hung it on the wall. It has one of my favorite music artists in it, and it's as weird and melancholy and gay and beautiful as he is. And when I went to share it like I normally would but I was frozen with dread. Because I know I would be so embarrassed if it ended up in one of those groups, and my ode to a person I greatly admire was trashed endlessly for not being up to some people's standards. A catastrophe for my budding artistic skills really... I fucking hate that feeling.

I shouldn't have to feel relieved because I post some art to friends and don't wind up with them dumping on my limited skills with strangers for a fleeting moment of superiority and laughter. It's like laughing at the weird kid in class. And I wonder why I would know so many "empatheti"c people who should know better but who also love to conform and ridicule things they don't even have to personally see beyond a social media post.

And I know what you're thinking--I shouldn't care and I should post what I want and even if I end up in one of these, to take it on the chin. And sure. If you want to deal in shoulds and ideals, then yeah that's the best way to frame it. But not everyone is built the same, not everyone can be okay with something like this happening. After a year at home during which I got covid despite taking all precautions and not being over it and my mental health suffering from it all, I don't think I would be.

Every damn day I see people hop in the comments section either in a group, on a page post, or even on friends' posts to say "WELCOME TO THE INTERNET!! IS IT YOUR FIRST DAY" when a person makes a point about the meanness of some people. And I have a few things to say to that 1. It ain't just online. There are literal serial killers in the "real" world willing to torture and assault and kill people for the fuck of it. No, it's no one's first fucking day living amongst humans. We know how societies are and very few societies with this level of technology are exempt from this type of bullying. So? 2. Why should folks on the internet get a pass to say things they probably wouldn't in person or would face consequences for (like getting their ass beat) if said in person? Oh it's the internet so words lose effect? Oh it's the internet so we just let people be as depraved as they like and we all have collectively decided to deal with it because oh well it's the internet? Fuck that. When do we give in to abusers' and bullies' demands and gaslighting? 3. People should never be given a free pass to do harm without repercussions no matter the setting in which that harm takes place.

What we do matters. The communities we build matter. The way we take care of each other or not matters even in online spaces. So while you might find it funny to make fun of someone who made a resin ashtray out of hot cheetos, I also encourage you to have a little empathy, to try and be the bigger and better person here, and to report these groups for bullying and harassment. They shouldn't exist, and if you think they should, I recommend really searching yourself for why you think so. Free speech? Do better. A private company isn't the arbiter of your rights. Really think about why you want to embrace that harm and do better. Be better.

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:


Baking In A Tornado         

On the Border                 

Wandering Web Designer   

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

The Crazy Mama Llama               


  1. This is the reason my blog went from having a huge following and thousands of page views to small with just hundreds of page views. I refuse to maintain friendships with back stabbers, users, and mean people in general, I just cut them out permanently, tightened my circle and don't see or hear what these types of people are up to. It's a price I decided long ago to happily pay. As much as possible, I actively carve my corner of the social media platforms into what I choose them to be.

  2. People can be such assholes.
    What's wrong with them, does it make them feel superior if they get to make fun of others?

  3. I've never understood the 'I'll trash you so I can feel better about myself' attitude. At least, I'm assuming that's what's behind this penchant for being cruel. I've not seen any of these 'trashing' sites. And I hope I never do. Isn't it sad that, the more we seem to have, the less we seem to care? Jenniy, I would love to see your painting! And I GUARANTEE you will get nothing but love, admiration and encouragement! <3

  4. I hate that part of "social" media. I personally have no experience with these groups, but it makes me sad all the same. People don't care how much damage they are doing to someone else. It breaks my heart. I would never want to make someone feel bad. That's just not me. I want to build up not tear down. I want to see your pic!! Congratulations it's a huge accomplishment!