Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Art of Shaming.

It seems that nowadays you can't walk out your front door without getting shamed for just about any aspect of your life.

Its the public shaming that hits home for me. I use myself as an example as I make up a good percentage of those who do follow me. I am a mother of special needs children, a wife of a serviceman and I am indeed a woman. Not saying that men don't have their own brand of public shaming, they do, but let's face it, for a woman, there is a good chance that anytime we walk out our front door we will be publicly shamed for any aspect of our lives.

I am going to break this down into the three areas I stated above.

Let's start with my parenting. Mom shaming. We are all so critical of other parents when it comes to different parenting styles. Since I started writing, I have noticed the appalling number of pages, blogs and websites devoted to putting other mothers down. If you don't breastfeed, you are doing it wrong. If you do breastfeed, you are sending the wrong message out. If you decided to circumcise your sons, you are a monster and if you don't you are setting your son up for an unclean penis. If you vaccinate your child, you are accused of child abuse because you are injecting "poison" into your child or if you choose not vaccinate your child, you are seen as uneducated. The trick for me isn't the online onslaught of mom shaming. Its the stuff that gets said to you in public. And the funny thing is, all of the stuff that is said to me, a woman in public, is never said to my husband. Another Dad will not go up to another Dad and tell him that he is doing the whole parenting thing wrong. Mothers, for the most part do a good percentage of the child rearing within the house. It doesn't matter how tired a mother can be or how much she is trying to parent her children in public, she will always get the unsolicited advice or the shameful comments about her parenting in that one minute she is out. But I have yet to hear from my husband that anyone has said anything to him about his autistic son and his stimming while out in public.

Wife. Now, I am a Navy Spouse, a Military spouse. Let's talk about all the wonderful things that get said about Military spouses. Or as some call us "Dependas" I have been married to my husband for 13 years. In those 13 years, he has been deployed for more than half of our marriage. In those 13 years, I have never once thought about looking outside our marriage.However, the insinuation is always there.

"Oh, you are a military spouse? Deployments must be hard. How do you remain faithful?"

Excuse me? How do I remain faithful? Its called marriage vows. Y'know those words that were spoken in front of a Registrar, that are legal and binding? And oh, maybe, I actually love my husband enough not to cheat on him. But that is the type of questions I get when I state that I am military spouse. Or in some cases, I get accused of cheating on my husband by others who can't respect their own marriage vows. If I were the one that was deployed, I am willing to bet that people wouldn't accuse my husband of cheating, while he was home being a parent to his children.

Woman. As much as gender equality has made it strides in the last 100 years, women are still not considered equal to their male counterparts. A woman at any given time will be shamed for being just that, a woman. If we are overweight, we are fat shamed. If we don't fit into society's beauty parameters, we are called ugly. If we call out those who deem it necessary to say sexist remarks as we walk by, we are considered a bitch. It seems that lately we don't even have control over our own bodies. We need to look a certain way, feel a certain way and act a certain way to be able to feel somewhat accepted. We are shamed into thinking there is something wrong with us. Most of the stuff said to a woman, would never be repeated to a man, but we get shamed for standing up for ourselves. Get called the "weaker sex" to which I reply, No we are not the weaker sex, in fact we are the ones that hold society together. Women have known for centuries what it means to be a fighter, not in the physical sense, but in wit, intellect and determination. No one will fight harder than a woman on a mission.

I write all of this, to point out that it really is a different world for women. There are so many double standards that aren't fair, but need to change. This is just my perspective. Now with all that being said, I love being the gender that I am and won't change it. Being a mother to children, has made me grow inside, discover a part of myself I didn't know was there. Being not just a wife, but a military wife, has shown me a world, outside of my own sphere. It has made me stronger and more independent. And being a woman? For that I look to all the powerful women who came before me. I draw from the strength they put out. Seeing the battles they have all won, either personally or publicly, makes proud of who I am.

So for all the Mom shamers, people who call military wives "Dependas" and those who need to make themselves feel better by shaming others, the art of shaming is a horrible way to show how to be a decent human being. From the websites to the memes shaming people you know nothing about. Its not funny. Nor is it in your best interests to shame people in public, it only makes you look like an asshole.

On a personal note, for all those who felt that I didn't parent my children right, or think that I have not respected my marriage vows or haven't represented my gender as society has dictated for me, its time to get off your high horse and look at yourself and the hypocrisy that surrounds you like London fog.