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Shaming is a form of social punishment with the explicit intention of making the target feel ashamed.

Being shamed[edit | edit source]

To shame is to induce shame in others by attacking or destroying the personal dignity of a person or a group. Shame can be induced verbally by ridicule, name-calling or publically exposing a person's or a groups vulnerability or weakness; and physically by assault, rape, and beating. Shaming actions attack and diminish the human dignity of a person or group and separates them from the human family.

When someone says "You ought to be ashamed of yourself", they often mean that the target did something that they believe, rightly or wrongly, to be shameful. Sometimes shortened to "Shame on you." this form of shaming shames the target as a human being, rather than the deed itself.

Shaming attacks human dignity. Since shame is a complicated and often taboo condition, people often confuse shame with guilt (see guilt and explanations below) when they shame others. In addition, for those who care about human dignity, it is always important to separate false condemnation from genuine guilt as specious shame is often used as form of relational aggression against innocent people.

Shame campaign[edit | edit source]

A shame campaign is a tactic in which particular individuals are singled out because of their behavior or suspected crimes, often by marking them publicly, such as Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. In the Philippines, Alfredo Lim popularized such tactics during his term as mayor of Manila. On July 1, 1997, he began a controversial "spray paint shame campaign” in an effort to stop drug use. He and his team sprayed bright red paint on two hundred squatter houses whose residents had been charged, but not yet convicted, of selling prohibited substances. Officials of other municipalities followed suit. Former Senator Rene A. Saguisag condemned Lim’s policy.[1]

Despite this criticism, the shame campaigns continued. In January 2005, Metro Manila Development Authority Chair Bayani Fernando announced shame campaign to target jaywalkers by splashing them with wet rags. Sen. Richard Gordon disagreed with the shame tactic, and Rep. Vincent Crisologo called this approach "martial law tactics". Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon argued jaywalkers were being treated like cattle.[2][3]

See also[edit | edit source]

  • Pulta, Benjamin B. "Spray campaign debate heats up." Sun.Star Manila. June 26, 2003.
  • "MMDA’s shame campaign slammed," The Manila Times, January 12, 2005.[dead link]
  • "campaign' vs graft backed," The Philippine Star, March 20, 2005.
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