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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

How can it be said that shaming doesn’t work when it influences people’s behavior even if they don’t admit that it does?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26821points) October 20th, 2015

Call it what you may, peer pressure, shaming, etc. it has been done for ages and will be used for some time in the foreseeable future. It appears those who are shamed or pressured by society, their family, their homies, school chums, community, etc. will defend to the death they are not changed, directed, steered, etc. by what others think. Even if one doesn’t admit to it, in ways, small and innocuous to bold and ostentatiously they have. In time passed it was smoking, even if you did not care to smoke, you’d be seen as strange if you didn’t smoke because that was the social thing to do. Growing up in the 60s and early 70s if you did not sport long hair (guys) you were seen as weird. Today it might be sagging pants, definitely wearing of bras, or in some ways leaving a big “carbon footprint”, even down to how many times a day one bathes. To some point (maybe small) everyone is shamed into doing something or to avoid something, so why try to allege “It doesn’t happen to me”?

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6 Answers

_Seek_'s avatar

No one says shaming doesn’t influence behaviour – it’s just a dick thing to do, and by this point in time we should know better than to think we have the right to dictate other peoples’ behaviour in ways that have no effect on us, just to fit our own personal worldview.

I wouldn’t consider attempting to educate people on issues that affect the public (like the public discussion on climate change and carbon emission) the same as, say, saying shitty things about people because of their weight, health, or fashion choices.

Pandora's avatar

I agree that it works temporarily . But where do you draw the line. People have been known to kill themselves for not living up to others expectations.
It’s one thing to shame someone into recycling and another to shame them about the way they were born or to shame them about being fat without knowing that they have a medical condition or that shaming them can have the desire effect of making them thin but now they have an eating disorder and are starving themselves to death.
Or lets take shaming women for having sex and praising the boys they have sex with.
And yes the ones who cannot change their past or their weight may take their lives.

Then there is the person who will lose weight because they were shamed into it. More often than not, they will gain the weight back, plus some extra pounds and feel worse than before. Why? Because they never dealt with the real issue behind the weight and they did it for all the wrong reasons. I believe that is where people make the point that shaming doesn’t work. It never works for the long run.
So how is it really helpful? The long hair grew up, got a job and cut their hair, the waster grew up made more money and bought new things. The recycler may stay recycling but may think it’s ok to buy tons of crap to throw away so long as they continue to recycle. Only thing is not everything can be or will be recycled. The meat eater may go vegitarian because all their friends stopped eating meat. Then they start to notice the friends that got them started, claim their doctor told them they need meat in their diet because they were getting sick.

Point is that following the crowd to be popular or to not feel ashamed doesn’t work in the long run, unless you are really doing it for yourself.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with both @Seek and @Pandora
Everyone has their flaws and no one flaw is any better or worse than another. Change is always an inside job motivated by self and inner desire not shaming, pressuring or any other controlling means subjected by another.
Let he whose pot is free of soot call out the kettle for their smudges.

Shaming is the reason a lot of people end up in therapy, because they are not allowed to be human, warts and all. Just like charity, forgiveness begins at home and self forgiveness is part of coping with our human shortcomings.

zenvelo's avatar

There is a vast difference between peer pressure and shaming.

Peer pressure is an adolescent developmental issue of trying to fit in with a group as one also explores separating from parents and also defining oneself. Most people grow out of peer pressure by the time they get into their twenties.

Shaming is an attempt at manipulating behavior through humiliating someone. And often that humiliation is more egregious than the behavior being condemned.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@_ Seek _ […by this point in time we should know better than to think we have the right to dictate other peoples’ behaviour in ways that have no effect on us, just to fit our own personal worldview.
Regardless that is should not affect one’s personal world somehow people still make inference on what others do or don’t do.

@Pandora Point is that following the crowd to be popular or to not feel ashamed doesn’t work in the long run, unless you are really doing it for yourself.
I do not believe anyone who does it has any long-term thought to its lasting ability or permanency; sometimes they do not even know they are doing it. All that is notwithstanding to the recipient of the action denying it is even being applied to them or they yielding to it.

@Coloma Everyone has their flaws and no one flaw is any better or worse than another.
But if a group has mostly the same or like flaws, then it is easier to point out the flaws that are different in someone else. For instance, if there were a group who did not feel the smell of human as offensive as it is to most industrialized nations, so they did not bathe as often, they might not say anything to anyone slightly malodorous, but if they had a think on women leaving the home without all the war paint on and hair teased and sprayed, they can make inference of that, either intentional or slight.

@zenvelo Peer pressure is an adolescent developmental issue of trying to fit in with a group as one also explores separating from parents and also defining oneself. Most people grow out of peer pressure by the time they get into their twenties.
As much as that SOUNDS GOOD, people do not grow out of peer pressure, it just takes a different name. While shaming can be done on a one-to-one basis, and thus not be peer pressure per se, group peer pressure exist way into adult life. For instance back when if Lars, Billy, and Jake walk over to Alex during their lunch break and tell him, ”Say, Alex, we are attending the Klan rally tonight, Billy, Jake, and I are going to join, you know, we have to stick together to keep those filthy n****** inline, you in?” Today it is easy to say “I know the answer”, but go back to the 1930s, or 1940s, if Alex was not a racist, and thought the whole mess repugnant, do you believe he would refuse to go, simply because he did not believe in it? If he did not want to go, do you believe he would not manufacture a near bullet proof reason not to go other than he just don’t care too? What would you call it? Sounds a lot like peer pressure to me.

cazzie's avatar

Shaming and peer pressure works on the insecure. I hope we all do better raising our children than to leave them susceptible to the judgmental and weak minded.

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