Guest Post: I Ain’t Ashamed


If you were an outside observer of modern society, I think you’d probably call it the Sandra Fluke Event Horizon.


In February 2012, Fluke, then a law student at Georgetown, appeared before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee to discuss why Georgetown, a Jesuit university, should be compelled to offer health care that included contraception coverage to students. Her claims included the statement that 40% of female students at Georgetown were facing economic hardship due to this lack of coverage, and that female students were forced to endure “financial and emotional burdens.”

As of the 2014-2015 academic year, full-time Georgetown Law students must pay $53,130 in tuition fees. The median household income in America during that same time period will be about $51,000. Therefore, if the average American family was exempt from all taxes and spent every time of its income on sending a child to Georgetown, they’d still come up short.

Yet, somehow, the idea that a student at Georgetown, a student who had already graduated from Cornell with a degree in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, needed the school to pay for her contraception was not met with universal derision. In fact, quite the opposite happened. She somehow became a featured speaker at the DNC. She’s now a candidate for a State Senate seat in California. Rush Limbaugh’s comments on the situation led to the creation of the term “Slut-shaming,” which apparently means making a woman feel ashamed for behavior that back in the old days would have been, you know, shameful.

After that, we passed a point of no return. The advent of the social media era means that societal change happens nearly instantaneously. The result is a near hivemind—the community decides quickly and with great severity on every issue. Since social media is largely dominated by the liberal-trending 30 and under set, ideas that would have been dismissed as loony twenty years ago have become nearly universally accepted.

The end result? Nothing is shameful anymore.

Having sex with multiple people in a month? A week? A day? Not shameful! Just search “tinderfessions” on Twitter for confirmation of this. What used to be slutty (for both men and women, although certainly more for women) is now funny. The impermanence of relationships is becoming a serious societal issue. Oddly enough, just as courts across America are coming to the conclusion that marriage is not the exclusive domain of heterosexuals, heterosexuals are coming to the conclusion that monogamy isn’t for them.

Being overweight or, God forbid, obese? Not shameful! Search #fatkini on Instagram. We aren’t talking about women who are not just ten or fifteen pounds over their ideal weight—we are talking about glorifying and supporting morbidly unhealthy behavior. All a woman has to do is post a picture of herself on her Facebook profile with a little bit of makeup and hairspray, and within an hour, thirty of her closest girlfriends will have posted “OMG GORGEOUS!” It’s all part of the social contract they have with each other to support each other’s mediocrity.

Being poor? Not shameful! With record numbers of people on government assistance, it’s less shameful than ever to get food stamps or other forms of welfare. Rather than trying to improve their job skills or education, people would rather protest for higher minimum wages—why not just make the minimum wage $25 an hour? Or $40? Or A MILLION? Why should anybody try to improve his/her station in life?

Being stupid? Not shameful! Don’t worry about studying more or working harder in school—districts
all across America are eliminating traditional grading methodology in favor of systems that improve the self-confidence of students.

In short, the combined power of social media and traditional media outlets has made all lifestyles and all lifestyle choices acceptable. The problem with all of this, however, is that the world doesn’t really work that way. We all laugh at the Tinderfessions twitter account…but does anybody want to bring one of those guys/girls home for the long haul? Someday, you’re going to have to have the “number” conversation with your girlfriend—we already know she’s lying when she says “three,” but wouldn’t you rather have the number be closer to three than three hundred? You may say you don’t care, but you still get a sick feeling in your stomach thinking about all the other men who have already been there before you, don’t you?

Sure, we may have discouraged people from outwardly mocking the fat or the ugly, but who gets the most attention in the real world? When I recently got back on the workout horse and dropped twenty pounds in twelve weeks, everybody noticed. I have received more compliments for my weight loss than I ever have for anything I’ve done or for any music or words I’ve written. My Facebook posts about my weight loss have received five to ten times as many likes and/or comments as anything else. While we
are all trying to make each other feel better about being fat, we all secretly want to be thin. Society pretends to accept the obese while rewarding the fit.

The poor and stupid are celebrated in society simply because it suits society’s purpose for the poor and stupid to be happy. As long as they are placated with their own version of soma in the form of food stamps, cable television, and cell phones, they’re content. They all thought they voted for a revolution eight years ago. They largely haven’t noticed that the world is exactly the same for them that it was then, it’s just a different flavor of soma now. They should be mad about being poor and stupid, but they aren’t.

There’s just one remaining sin — hypocrisy. Anyone who fails to get on board with the general trend is accused of being a closet case, a hater, a hypocrite. Yet this society, in its inequality between what it claims to value and what it actually does value, is the greatest example of that hypocrisy one could imagine.

Still, appearance isn’t just more important than reality in many cases. It has the power to shape reality. The longer society appears to celebrate these things, the closer we may get to truly celebrating them. Do any of us want to live in a world where the morally loose, fat, stupid, and poor are glorified? The choice is up to us.

14 Replies to “Guest Post: I Ain’t Ashamed”

  1. Chris

    “Do any of us want to live in a world where the morally loose, fat, stupid, and poor are glorified?”

    Honey Boo Boo.

    We are living in that world already. It started before Obama (or Bush, or Clinton, etc.). We simply have more screens available to us now than we did back in the day.

  2. Luke

    “Popular opinion” is a toilet. It always has been and always will be. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and all the rest aren’t the real world, they are conduits by which we observe popular opinion and popular culture. Has the bar been lowered? Maybe. But it’s also true that the past always looks better than it was because it’s in the past and it’s easy to gloss over the bad, embarrassing, or tacky things that existed then.

    I think your own biases against people who don’t act, look, or live by your definition of “correct” is pretty obvious here. You want them to be ashamed for their behavior, or at least keep it to themselves, because it’s objectionable to you and you don’t like having to deal with it. Well, they won’t, and you will. Either they don’t agree that it’s shameful, or they just embrace the fact that they have a soapbox to speak from. That’s the way it’s always been, and it’s happened in one form or another even during the most socially repressive times in history. These people aren’t going to realize more success, defy the rules of nature, or avoid negative personal consequences just because some people on the internet approved. The only thing in the world that I’ve found to be really true is that what goes around, comes around.

    I would also be willing to bet that the positive feedback you’ve gotten on your weight loss has more to do with the fact that you’re happy, proud, and feeling good. Your friends and family are going to love you no matter how you look, but they are certainly going to respond in an approving way when you have worked so hard to get the results you wanted. You’re happy, so they are happy.

    My own personal crabby old man rant is that I feel like our society has forgotten the old rule to keep your mouth shut when you don’t know anything about what’s being discussed. The fact that you brought Sandra Fluke into the conversation really set me off, Bark, and here’s why: Between the end of the “we’re seriously dating” stage and the beginning of the “we can no longer physically have children” stage, reliable family planning is a subject that most men don’t have to worry too much about. The girlfriend or wife carries that burden until we either get the snip or baby production ceases to be an issue. Since the vast majority of families don’t include an unlimited amount of babies, the vast majority of women are obviously dealing with it somehow or someway.

    Ms Fluke was the spokeswoman, not the message, and that message was about treating contraception as a medically necessary health care purchase. On that topic, the best course of action for all men is to either ask our girlfriend/wife, or to keep our goddamn mouths shut lest we want to carry the proverbial load (pun intended).

    • Bark M Post author

      Sorry, but I can’t agree with you. The Fluke situation dealt with the Conscience Clause. Catholicism finds contraception to be morally reprehensible and akin to the murder of a post-birth human being. As the Supreme Court correctly ruled in the Hobby Lobby case, a Catholic school should not be forced to provide a service they find morally objectionable.

      • Luke

        I think we missed each other. The ruling aside, I was speaking more to the fact that she was used as a political stoolpigeon and was mercilessly slut shamed for expressing her opinions by the right. The way she was spoken about by Rush and his ilk was especially disgusting. They took a serious issue of conscience and constitutionality and made it into a sideshow to further their own brands among the hard right in this country. She was nobody until Rush hung her in his gallows. Serious issues deserve serious talk, not political thrill killings.

        That particular serious issue is a bad yardstick to measure such trivialities as fatkinis against. There’s not always a broader societal meaning behind things. Sometimes crap is just crap.

  3. Tomko

    In my view we’ve been watching the deline of western civilization since the days of the Holy Roman Empire.

    More specifically what we see today are the final regurgitations of America the short-lived global superpower. Be it Sputnik in 1957, Dallas 1963 or WTC 2001 our gooses have been in that Rival slow-cooker your in-laws gave as a wedding gift.

    The only reason why we are not in the midst of revolt is that everybody is getting fed and porn of every imaginable permutation is only a click away on your smart phone.

    In the meantime our birth rate is dropping like a stone and China’s one child policy has created a standing army of one million unmarried men.

    So who do you think is going to win that long march while the band played on?

  4. jz78817

    “Rush Limbaugh’s comments on the situation led to the creation of the term “Slut-shaming,” which apparently means making a woman feel ashamed for behavior that back in the old days would have been, you know, shameful.”

    only for a woman. This is the problem; if a woman dares to have “too many” partners, she’s a “slut” or “damaged goods,” something to be avoided and/or shamed. A man can never have too many partners. In fact, the more “bitches” a guy has the more of a man he is. The double standard is reprehensible and sickening. But go ahead, be a bro.

    • Snavehtrebor

      Sigh. Might do you some good to study a bit of evolutionary biology, JZ, to gain an understanding of why there are very real and purposeful differences in reproductive strategies for men and women.

      We have arrived at a time when liberals/progressives/extras from “Idiocracy” spend a lot of time trying to deny their biology. Women should be held in a different regard because they are different. Dare to suggest that many women would be happy at home raising kids? Sexist. Dare to suggest that women should not have the privilege of being shot, burned, crushed to death, asphyxiated, tortured, or otherwise killed or maimed while serving in front-line combat? Sexist. Dare to suggest that many women don’t have the right personality traits, inclination, or even necessity to succeed in the cutthroat world of modern business? Sexist. Dare to suggest that it’s not admirable or tasteful for a female to compete in MMA-style human chicken fights? Sexist.

      Progressive women can be as promiscuous and man-like as they want, but they need to accept that without the traditional societal model, most of them wouldn’t have been conceived in the first place.

  5. Nessuno

    Value of the image over value of the object. Social media has provided an appropriate vector to speak about change, to support change and most importantly not change anything at all. Awareness its called, as long as enough people know someone will do something, like forsure.

    Its all simply a defence against impotence, we carry no actual impact on anything that actually impacts our lives, yet if you can placate the masses by making them FEEL like change is happening change never HAS to happen. Value of the image over value of the object.

    Is it too early for rye?

  6. safe as milk

    interesting rant. i think you should take a deeper look at the origins of this phenomena. it may appear to be caused by the moral decay of our society and social media but those are just the symptoms. the real cause is the manipulation of society by our corporate oligarchy. if you are not already familiar with it, i recommend adam curtis’s bbc documentary series, “the century of the self.” it was a real eye opener for me.


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