On Shaming, Bullying, and Public Humiliation

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On Shaming, Bullying, and Public Humiliation

Postby millerdan2009 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 10:10 pm

Hi, all,

In 2015, British journalist Jon Ronson published So You've Been Publicly Shamed, a journey into the lives of those who in recent years have fallen victim to very public humiliation on Twitter, Gawker, 4chan, and elsewhere, often losing their jobs and seeing their lives transformed into a shambles in the process. SF/F fans are no stranger to public humiliation in such a manner, as GamerGate, various instances of slut shaming, and the like have proliferated. Ronson notably concludes his book with the observation that "[w]e are defining the boundaries of normality by tearing apart the people outside it"; what can So You've Been Publicly Shamed teach us about specifically SFnal forms of public humiliation, and what we can do about it?


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Re: On Shaming, Bullying, and Public Humiliation

Postby AndyRobot800 » Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:18 pm

I think this is a great idea for a panel - hopefully with some discussion of "why marginalized groups sometimes see 'Public Shaming' as the *only* way to counter a specific, socially enforced power imbalance" (i.e. can anything positive come from this? Has anything positive come from this?), as well as "are there cases when those same people, with the best of intentions, went too far?"

I'd argue that the latter is exactly what happened with... whatshername, the PR person who tweeted the dumb joke - Ronson talks about her in the book. My reaction to that whole thing was the same as *his* - "yeah, that joke was in pretty bad taste, but it's pretty obvious that it's a joke at the *expense* of her own privilege, not a joke *reveling* in it... how are all of these otherwise intelligent people missing the point? Are they *intentionally* missing the point?"

Then again... people can pretty much go ahead and shame Bill Cosby all they want, and you'll hear no complaints from me. That's a series of crimes, though, carried out over several years and covered up time and again, so maybe the comparison isn't even valid.

Then again *again*, when we talk about things like Gamergate, slut-shaming, etc., it's *not* redressing a power imbalance - it's enforcing it. That's pretty clear to me, to you, and to most people with functional logic circuits. And yet, if you listen to GG, they seem to have convinced themselves that *they're* the marginalized minority.

So, when people say "well, this behavior happens on both sides," the polite thing to say is "that's a false dichotomy!" whereas the actual answer might be "Of course it does, and it sucks when *anyone* does it, but one side actually has a point." i.e. systematic racism and AIDS are Actually A Thing, whereas no one's actually taking your damn games away.

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Re: On Shaming, Bullying, and Public Humiliation

Postby Gecko » Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:32 pm

For me, it's not a question of power imbalance entirely. It is the lynch mob mentality inherent in all people when confronted with an affront to their views. Look at what happened with that dentist.
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