Recently I wrote a post for my blog called “Facilitating Shaming Language” that among others things talked about a particular case of shaming language being used. Here is part of a response that I received:
I’m sorry your mother didn’t love you. I hope you get help.
I just wrote a post about shaming language and how do my detractors respond? With even more shaming language. This is not an atypical response. The Exposing Feminism blog which hosts a copy of the Catalog of Anti-Male Shaming Tactics received a similar response to the catalog from women that was also even more shaming language.
This tells us something important about shaming language. It is repetitive. While a user of shaming language might try to justify shaming language by claiming your behavior is “shameful”, the fact is shaming language can not be used to speak about your actual behavior. The user of shaming language is just repeating the same thing over and over again with slightly different wording despite being exposed as ignoring facts. It means that the user of shaming language is creating a strawman and not addressing their opponent’s ideas.
The Catalog of Anti-Male Shaming Tactics exists because of shaming language’s repetitiveness. We get told the same things over and over again. You have a small penis. You are angry. You make me feel afraid. You’re a coward. You won’t grow up. You’re gay. You need therapy. Man up, etc. Sure it may be worded somewhat differently, all shaming language is saying the same thing. There are many ways to say, “you won’t grow up”, but it’s all the samel.
What we can learn from this is that we should not fear shaming language. It does not and can never describe our actions or behavior. The use of shaming language means by definition that our opponents have no real argument against us. If they had a real argument against us, they would use it instead of shaming language. Shaming language is the refuge of those who want to shut down legitimate debate and men who bring up reasonable questions and concerns.