A few years ago, I went through something that I never thought I would get over. I was the subject of degrading rumors which spread through my university hall. I was deeply hurt. I felt so many things that are hard to put into words. It was like a part of me had been taken away. This is why I’m spilling the tea about the rampant online shame culture taking over our social spaces.
Almost every week it pops up. There it is- sparkling in all of its scandalous glory. Even if you don’t follow celebrities to intentionally read gossip pages, it’s hard not to miss the latest drama, especially if you unwillingly capture all the juicy details from the hosts on the radio station at work.
It seems increasingly common for influencers, reality t.v stars, and celebrities to take part in, or become victims to public shaming. Some celebs are publicly confronting other famous people about a very personal problem which has nothing to do with the world of the internet. A move made to look acceptable because it is “correcting” a wrong. We’ve given it sass- pledging terms like “spilling the tea” to replace: “spreading misinformation and emotional blackmail”.
I’m all about sass, but I’m sorry honey as interesting as your personal dramas are, they have nothing to do with me. Instead of creating a space to communicate and resolve the crisis, public shaming exploits everyone to bullying and emotional harm. Online public shaming can often appear innocent and justified, and even trusted (and I use that word lightly!) entertainment platforms like E! get behind the puritanical cause by giving you every opportunity to have a say on a developing drama involving disputing celebs.
Every private matter taken to Instagram becomes the property of the internet within seconds. The drama may seem like it needs everyone’s opinion, but it is likely it doesn’t. It is under-regulated and vicious and gets out of control. In reality “calling someone out” or “canceling” them is actually destroying that person’s reputation and relationships.
Renowned speaker Brene Brown spoke about shame in a recent podcast. Her views reflect the very essence of my complaint on public shaming. You don’t have to be a victim of rumors to understand how awful and unhelpful these experiences are for everyone involved.
“For me, I think shame is a tool of oppression, humiliation, berating…Shame doesn’t just change the person who is target of shame, shame changes people who use it against other people…I will not participate in using shame as a social justice tool. It is the justice tool of oppression.”
Yes people should be held accountable for their actions. But public shaming is not holding a person accountable. There should not be a space online for bullying to grow. I will not hold a space for it.
For the honeys at the receiving end of rumors, I know you are hurt beyond words. I felt that too. Keep your beautiful head held high.
The following videos on this topic are a worthwhile watch: