So­cial Sham­ing: ‘A Selfie Got Me Sacked’

Dani Mathers, 29, is the woman who lost ev­ery­thing af­ter post­ing one photo. Why will we go so far for on­line ap­proval?

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‘If I can’t un­see this, then you can’t either,’ Dani Mathers typed, post­ing a pic­ture of a naked woman in the LA Fit­ness chang­ing room in Los An­ge­les – only paus­ing to take a selfie while laugh­ing at her own joke. But that off­hand, ill-thought-out mo­ment is no laugh­ing mat­ter and now it’s cost the model ev­ery­thing from her 500,000 In­sta­gram fol­low­ers to her ra­dio-host­ing job.

So­cial sham­ing – a la­bel that’s only come into ex­is­tence in the past five years – where you take pho­tos of some­one with­out their per­mis­sion for ridicule has be­come a com­mon oc­cur­rence. In 2014 the Face­book page ‘Women who eat on tubes’ be­came a vi­ral hit be­fore it was closed by Face­book due to the back­lash of dis­gust, while live-tweet­ing cou­ples on first dates has be­come the norm. How have we ended up tun­ing out our morals just to get a ‘like’?

So­cial me­dia cul­ture pri­ori­tises the ‘share’ over ev­ery­thing for the ego points it brings, says psy­chother­a­pist Dr Aaron Bal­ick. ‘By hom­ing in on that per­son’s “dif­fer­ence” on­line, you’re re­as­sur­ing your­self that you’re a part of the “in group”. You re­as­sure your­self that you be­long by show­ing

Dani’s con­tro­ver­sial post from her gym chang­ing room

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