PVV – Shaming “Pornographers” …Really?

Never in all my days…

Never in all my days as a researcher, scholar, professor, mentor, organizer, community member, activist, volunteer, friend, and ally fighting for civil rights and social justice have I ever seen a more egregious and problematic example of shaming.

Shaming is when you attempt to dishonor and/or condemn an individual (individuals, entities) via guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace.

Put simply, for example, when two people are arguing and one (probably the one who is losing) says something like – “Whatever, you know nothing because you’re so [insert mean attack about any number of unrelated personal characteristics, perceived failures, etc here]!” – that’s shaming. That’s also acting like a sore loser asshole who’s lashing out rather than growing, yielding, and/or opting to try again another day (perhaps after doing some work to be better prepared/informed). It’s unnecessary.

Sometimes shaming just (just?) makes you look like a total douche. But other times, when you take it up a notch, shaming can make you look like a bully… like someone who’s simply outright evil or narcissistic or egomaniacal (or all three). In addition to indicating that you’re a person who doesn’t know how to “use their words,” this level of shaming can also reveal one as outright underhanded and cruel.

Trust me: I’ve seen a lot, but never in all my days have I seen an example of shaming quite as blatant as this one:

(pictured: what’s on some AHF billboards seen around LA)


Really? The “pornographers” say? That’s the game you’re gonna play, AHF? Reeeeally?

Thank you, AIDS Healthcare Foundation for shaming “pornographers” in this way. Thank you for using donor funds – monies that I’m sure were given to your “own self-created social enterprises” under the auspices of working to “rid the world of AIDS” (quotes from AHF mission statement here) –  to shame “pornographers” in this way.

Because I know that’s what you’re doing! I know what you’re really saying with this ad is “Eww look at these evil nasty people who say ‘No on B’ – pornographers!! Ewwwwwww!! They’re too gross and awful to know anything about what they know, and you don’t want to be associated with Them, do you?”

How dare you?

How dare you, an organization that claims to want to help so many oft-shamed-throughout-history and continuously marginalized communities, how dare you behave in this manner?

How dare you rely on stereotype, myth, and urban-legend horrors born from decades of speculation and misinformation about “pornographers”? How dare you engage those cultural fictions in such a manipulative manner? How dare you pass judgement on working, tax-paying members of LA County (and the human community as a whole)? How dare you dole out shame-by-proxy to everyone even obliquely associated with porn? How dare you?!

You know what they say: you can talk shit when you’re perfect (or something like that)… and I’m far from perfect… So guess what I’m gonna go ahead and do right now, AHF? Without engaging stereotypes or slurs, I’m calling attention to the fact that I know what you’re up to.

Shame on you.

If you want to see this billboard in all its bullshit glory, there are three opportunities to do so: on Sunset at Van Ness, on La Cienega and Lennox, and on Sherman Way east of Coldwater.

If you want to know more re why Measure B is problematic in of itself, read up –> here.

And honestly, Californians living in LA Country – regardless of how you vote, please vote!!

You can register up through October 22 right –> here!!

*UPDATE (10/16/12)*

For further nuanced discussion of shame and shaming, see this post from Charlie Glickman.


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PVVOnline – Critical Commentary on Adult Production