When women in geek communities call out a man in the community for bad behavior towards women, the responses often focus on the claimed intrinsic negative qualities of shaming, "call-out culture", or social ostracism, rather than on the behavior that elicited the shaming. The implication is that whatever harm the man did, the purported harm his critics did to him by talking about his behavior in public is worse. Thus, excoriations of "shaming" can be a silencing tactic.

The list of Geek Social Fallacies includes "Ostracizers are evil" as geek social fallacy #1: "...in its pathological form, GSF1 prevents its carrier from participating in -- or tolerating -- the exclusion of anyone from anything, be it a party, a comic book store, or a web forum, and no matter how obnoxious, offensive, or aromatic the prospective excludee may be."


Shaming and Privilege

Because of privilege, it's important for those in a non-privileged position to be able to speak openly about problems that they face. 

If someone cannot speak out, this is what happens:

  • A man is often believed before a woman is believed. The woman gets accused of shaming, and her story about her experience get suppressed.
  • Likewise, the same is especially true in situations with intersectionality, e.g. the white woman is believed before the woman of color is believed.

It's important to enable them to share their viewpoint, rather than suppressing it as "shaming", "unprofessional", "excessive", "ruining his future", etc. 

After all, the original behavior was the real problem, not the follow-up comments to call it out.

See also

Further reading

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