Shame and Call-out Culture

FIRST: I freely admit to being over 60 and that I became a feminist in the 70s. There are many reasons for people to be unhappy about those facts, but there they are. I did not grow up in a culture where it was considered a good idea to make sure that everyone in your social circle was very aware of any faux pas, poor word choice, or “moral” screw-up any other member of the group was unfortunate enough to commit. We called that gossiping, spite, just plain not being a good friend.

Oh no. She’s in a mood.

SECOND: Navigating society in a way that respects other people’s beliefs, cultures, preferences, and sore spots has never been easy. When I was a kid, it was polite to call darker-skinned Americans “negroes.” When “black” became preferred, some took longer than others to transition, but we did it, out of respect. Those of us who are not black, do our best to say “African-American” when relevant (knowing full well that not all dark-skinned neighbors identify that way).

When I was a kid I knew exactly TWO gay people, which I’d guess to be two more than most 60s kids. I’ve watched with awe and pleasure as stigmas have fallen away and people can express their gender and sexuality however makes them happy. What would my life have been like if I’d known “gender fluid” was an option? The point to this is that if you are still learning all these wonderful possibilities, you might mess up. Older people are human.

This guy is species fluid.
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Hey, You! Stop Doing That!

I feel like crap.

First off, let me admit that I’m in a more fragile and sensitive state than usual, so things I might usually brush off as, “Oh, that’s just Person X being person X,” are hitting a raw nerve today. And as we noted with Vlassic last week, hitting a nerve can cause pain and involuntary reactions. Ow!

At first I was thinking that I was just bugged by stuff on Facebook, but then I spot the annoyances popping up in LinkedIn articles, Tweets (naturally, and why am I reading Twitter when I’m feeling overwhelmed?), and even in face-to-face interactions.

It happens all the time, and is one of those habits I started noticing when I had small children and was practicing very hard to adhere to the directive to:

Give information, not advice

La Leche League

The idea was that people don’t react well when told what to do and what to think about any topic (breastfeeding being a great example). My training also reminded me over and over again not to give out advice if I wasn’t asked for it. In other words, if someone parents differently from me, that’s their right, and it may well be working out just fine for them.

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