Shameless Shaming

It’s like a social media orgy. (Almost) anything that doesn’t put you under the legal lens seems to go in there freely. Everyone’s the expert, the judge, the saint, the teacher. Suddenly everyone has an opinion and everyone has the answer. So what’s wrong in having an opinion, when that’s what we are taught to have? There’s absolutely nothing wrong.

No there isn’t. But still, there is a slight problem that taunts the human in me. People now seem to enjoy shaming, either by unthoughtful and sloppy comments, or by raising an issue in social media before approaching the right persons first. Let’s say a married person runs off with someone else. Or worse, it’s a woman with kids whose partner works abroad. The moral soldiers come flying down like a pack of vultures ready to peck away any last bit of dignity left untouched by the news media. The comments are worse than the news itself. Surveys state that at least 55% of the Indian men and 56% of the Indian women have had relationships outside marriage at least once. And that’s the count not counting those who have not been reached and those who have not disclosed the fact. And let’s not even begin with the infidelity of the heart. This would mean that a good number of the self declared righteous people would have had extra-martial affairs, but can afford to make insensitive comments because it isn’t them in the news.

Now take a quagmire that’s been raging in Kerala recently. A transgender woman happened to notice that the son of a well-known actress had sent her obscene messages over Messenger three years ago. She posted it in social media shaming the actress and son, and the grand brigade took care of the rest, with more women coming out saying he’d sent them messages as well, and many others shaming the mother for not raising her son well. I’m going to give the gender microscope and other debates a pass. What bothered me was the fact that a complaint with the cyber cell wasn’t lodged first, giving the accused a chance at fair trial. Yes, fair trial. He deserves to get it, and if he has indeed committed the crime of sexual harassment over social media, it needs to be proved, especially because the victim has noticed it on her messaging app, and there is a possibility, however thin, that the account was hacked or someone else has been bothering her under false pretences. This is just a possibility. All I’m trying to say is that there are such cases happening around the world, so directly attacking someone online is not always the best option. And I wouldn’t be saying this if the guy had harassed her in person. That’d be a whole different story.

Many years ago, my father frantically called me one day and asked my if I’d lost my mind to post such a religiously offensive picture in FB, and whether I knew I could be even killed by extremists for that. I was shocked because not only had I not posted anything of the likes online, I was brought up to respect all religions and place humanity above man-made divisiveness. And moreover, I consciously keep away from even debates that may have any religious tint. So I immediately logged in to my account, but found no such content. But my father insisted that it was there for everyone to see. So I asked my mother to check my account and there it was! An extremely offensive picture of an animal defacating over the photo of a religious place. I again logged in to my account and posted a message saying that there is something like this in my wall which isn’t visible to me, and that I haven’t posted anything like that and requested everyone to let me know if they find anything else of the sort in my account. I also immediately reset my password, after which the offensive picture became visible. I immediately deleted it and apologized again. I don’t even want to begin to think what would have happened if this had taken place in the recent times. I could have been subjected to a lot of difficulties and even physical torture before proving that my account was hacked. But then, the damage would have been done. It’s pretty easy to defame, but very hard to regain the name lost even to fabrications.

There was another case recently when a woman posted a complaint along with the photo of two guys sitting behind her in a conference hall, and speaking among themselves with a tone that she found irritating. There were speaking only among themselves and not about her or anyone else in particular. The post quickly escalated with the viewers attacking the guys and the organisers of the conference putting out a formal apology to the woman. But when one of the guys, who had a mother and 3 sisters to care for, lost his job, the media quickly switched sides and began accusing the woman of unnecessarily creating an issue which she could have easily ignored. Now, it was the turn of the woman to lose her job. The situation turned sour for everyone caught in the eye of the storm.

All that I’m trying to impress here that ever since the world has been reduced to a micro-globe and accessibility has increased, most of us have consciously chosen to act and speak before we think on everything under the sun. We lash out and comment irresponsibly because we don’t have to face the other end. We become overly spontaneous and pass on to the next post for offering our fancy opinion. We fail to separate logic from feelings. We have become insensitive to the decorum that builds solid relationships.

We’ve ended up as our own personal emotional baggage.

18 thoughts on “Shameless Shaming

  1. Oh Yes, I totally relate to your post. Blaming and lynching others is a kind of psychological disorder. It also gives a false feeling of being able to cover our own fallacies. You have brought out very well how the man and then the woman lost their jobs when probably none deserved to. Yours is a minority voice which speaks like this. But a voice which is inspired and will make a difference

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading through and commenting.
      All social media sites are threatened by reckless responses to social or individual issues. I truly believe it is a conscious choice we make when we abuse such platforms.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am with you Nisha. It stems from our inability to know the nature of the world. We see a world of cut throat competition. This makes us insecure. That causes us to follow unrighteousness. truth is that there is infinity in the world. We attract what we want. If that were known, then we would be different. Anyway, these are philosophical questions.
        The fact is that I deeply respect you for your views and strength.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s the herd mentality albeit virtually and especially when it comes to Hindi journalism for me. Melodrama, utter disregard for the person concerned, crass anologies etc. You’ve brought up a valid argument with relevant examples.
    Thanks and much appreciated for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most people conveniently fail to take that much needed extra minute to think of the consequences of their actions which in reality is absolutely not called for. Sometimes, the comments and responses become worse than the issue itself

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely. It’s a free for all with big moderator except for one’s conscience and even that is a rare commodity

        Liked by 1 person

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