From RationalWiki
(Redirected from Slut shaming)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Checking our privilege
Social justice
Icon SJ.svg
Not ALL of our articles

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. It is a subset of abusive power and control, similar to bullying (the adult form of this being harrassment), and is typically done in an unethical way with disregard for the autonomy of the affected individual in favour of gaining a position of domination over them. Coercion directly undermines the freedom of others. Whereas an overtly physically abusive parent can be seen hitting their child in an attempt to get them to do what they want them to do, a shaming parent uses an emotional bludgeon that is pernicious and invisible instead.[1]

Similar to the physically abusive parent, a person who defaults to aggression and personal attacks often lacks the competence necessary to solve their problems in a more productive way and is almost certainly desperate. Whether the aggression in question is physical in nature or not is irrelevant.

Although ostracizing those who do not conform to society is a popular form of control by fascists, cult leaders, and social conservatives, as they find more positive forms of motivation too "woke" and "for sissies", shaming people doesn't actually make people conform socially. In fact, it often does the opposite, as children who experience more shame may behave in a less socially acceptable manner, not more. So all ostracization does is hurt people, really. Not that sadistic bastards non-consequentialists like fascists or bigoted reactionaries would care. They don't care about changing the affected individual's behavior as much as they care about ensuring that the affected individual suffers.


Research suggests that feelings of shame make people lose empathy that would be necessary to behave better towards someone they have harmed emotionally.[2][3] 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".[4] One study found that children who felt shame more than others behaved less socially acceptably,[5] including a propensity to illegal behavior.[6] Adults who experience high levels of shame engage in higher substance abuse than the general population.[7][8][9]


"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").[10] Slut shaming can be done to pressure a woman to be "sexually pure" or whatnot. More ominously, slut shaming is used to deter victims of sexual harassment or assault from reporting these incidents. Even if harassment was forced onto her, her involvement with something sexual is used against her – there are assumptions that she encouraged it regardless of evidence.[11] Slut shaming has become harder to get away with in the #MeToo era.

There is a double standard in society where women are often shamed for being sexually successful, whereas men are seen as 'studs' or heroic, depending on the culture they are in. In any case, there is a lack of empathy or care for the autonomy of one's partner in these cases.[12]


On the other side of the coin, men whose partners are perceived as "sluts" may be subject to slurs to as "cuck" or "cuckold". It may have originated from men getting their precious ego injured when they suspected the child their wife bore wasn't theirs. Although many times such suspicion was false, as historically the hymen has been erroneously considered a symbol of virginity, so many women have been falsely accused of cheating and murdered for it due to this common misconception.

On the other other side of the coin, the children in these situations have been historically referred to as "bastards" by some, so the "bastard" slur could be considered a form of cuckold-shaming in a sense.

Cuckold-shaming is quite popular among the alt-right, and "cuck" is often used as an insult by members of the alt-right.

See also[edit]


  3. 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.
  4. "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)".
  6. Tibbetts SG. Shame and rational choice in offending decisions. Crim. Justice Behav. 1997;24:234–255.
  10. "Slut! Tramp! Whore!", ZOMGitsCriss' YouTube Channel
  11. I’m Sick of Talking about Sexual Harassment