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Shaming is a phenomenon in human social interaction where a person is publicly humiliated for their behavior and/or appearance, in an attempt to alter it.


Research suggests that feelings of shame make people lose empathy that would be necessary to behave better towards someone they have harmed emotionally.[1][2] Some researchers regard shame as inferior to shameless-guilt in changing behavior in that shame turns a person inward to the point that they focus on ego-building rather than behaviour-"correction".[3] One study found that children who felt shame more than others behaved less socially acceptably,[4] including a propensity to illegal behavior.[5] Adults who experience high levels of shame engage in higher substance-abuse than the general population.[6][7][8]


"Slut-shaming" occurs with women who are open about their sexuality, with various slurs such as "slut" or "whore" directed at them (in contrast with men, who are labeled positively with "pimp" or "stud").[9] Slut shaming can be done to pressure a woman to be chaste or at least to pretend she is chaste. More ominously slut shaming is used to deter victims of sexual harassment or assault from complaining. Even if harassment was forced onto her, her involvement with something sleazy and sexual is used against her – there are assumptions that she encouraged it regardless of evidence.[10] Slut shaming has become harder to get away with in the #MeToo era.

See also[edit]


  2. Tangney JP, Marschall DE, Rosenberg K, Barlow DH, Wagner PE. "Children's and Adults' Autobiographical Accounts of Shame, Guilt and Pride Experiences: An Analysis of Situational Determinants and Interpersonal Concerns". Fairfax, VA: George Mason Univ; 1994. Unpubl. manuscr.
  3. "Moral Emotions and Moral Behavior", Annu Rev Psychol. - "[...] proneness to 'shame-free' guilt is positively correlated with constructive intentions in the wake of wrongdoing and consequent constructive behaviors (e.g., nonhostile discussion, direct corrective action)".
  5. Tibbetts SG. Shame and rational choice in offending decisions. Crim. Justice Behav. 1997;24:234–255.
  9. "Slut! Tramp! Whore!", ZOMGitsCriss' YouTube Channel
  10. I’m Sick of Talking about Sexual Harassment