It’s Time To Stop Shame-Shaming, And Start Making a Difference
Activism’s got a new friend.
By Laura Donney
Whether you’re Catholic or Jewish (that’s all there is right?), you’ve probably, more than likely, definitely had your (un)fair share of shame and/or guilt. And if you don’t belong to either of those faiths (hello, most of the world!) you might have parents, or grandparents, or a conscience — rendering you equally eligible for such feelings.
For so long, for too long, shame has gotten a bad rep. “You should be ashamed of yourself,” “Shame on you,” and Showtime’s “Shameless” (kidding, the latter is in it’s 4th or 5th season and is sexy and gross at.the.same.time). But you know what I’m saying. And I, myself, as a person, I’ve always rejected shame as a sort of nasty and cheap means to an end. Making people feel bad, projecting a morality, ignoring my feeling pallet for someone else’s (I’m looking at you, Grandma).
Shame, in general, attacks an identity, a self-ness. Women feel shame about their bodies, their periods, their anger, their desire, their family-size bag of hot Cheetos (just me?) Men feel shame about — well wait actually I don’t know but like maybe they do. Even dogs feel shame when they pee on the rug and you put their nose in it. Or wait was that men? Kidding!!! I love guys.
Anyway: NO MORE. NO MORE SHAMING SHAME, my friends. It is time to shame from the rooftops, the ground-bottoms (?). It’s time to let shame into our hearts and start changing the fire pile of a country we live in.
Since the election (RIP), my friend — shout out to Katrina — and I have been chugging away, founding a “group,” an “organization” to keep our contemporaries and allies, and ourselves, active in the White House Dark Hole of 2017–20??.
Her Time Now is dedicated to advocating and protecting the rights of women and girls through interdisciplinary action. And in these three months we’ve assembled an exciting and growing group of people who want to be involved outside of just a march here and a march there — though obviously shout out to the marches. We want to flip seats; we want to elect women; we want to empower young women and women of color and gay women and mentally ill women and trans women and disabled women and 3-shifts–in-one-day women and military women. All the women. We want to do it through legislation and art and science and law and love.
But sorry, back to shame. So lots of people “RSVP” to our meetings, and while enough show up that there are no donuts left by the end, many don’t. And at a recent meeting I was talking to my friend — shout out to Nora — and she very candidly mentioned that she showed up because she didn’t want to “disappoint Laura” (me, shout out to me). And it occurred to me how powerful that feeling is. Because certainly hope is powerful and so god damn beautiful, but I’m wondering if hope can’t do it all by Herself. I’m wondering if we need to shame the hell out of each other, hold one another accountable, and embarrass both strangers and close relatives into changing the world.
So to those of you liking photos on Instagram, to you who figure everyone else is calling their senator, and yes, to you sir, retweeting all of Patton Oswalt’s politically sassy tweets: You must do more. You must show up. Get in your car, go on your bike, sit at a strategy session, march, sacrifice two hours on a Saturday, sacrifice a goat (obviously don’t do that), go to a distant and different part of your city. Do not just be available; be active (something I wish of the men I date). If you don’t feel tired and inconvenienced by your activism, you’re simply not doing enough.
And you should be ashamed of yourself.