WHERE’S OUR SENSE OF SHAME?
Some people seem to lack a proper sense of shame. They do things in public that should properly be kept private. That's a problem. But this problem is made more complicated by the fact that shame is socially constructed. What is shameful in one culture may not be so in another.
Consider the swimsuit. Old-time swimsuits look silly in the era of the thong. But there was a time when men swam nude in some public pools. And while some people are embarrassed to wear a Speedo, you can't play water polo without one.
Social norms shift. So does our conception of the ideal body type. This is also true of sex, gender, race and a bunch of other things. Tattoos used to be for bikers and sailors. Now they are for grannies and cheerleaders. What was once shameful is now accepted.
These shifting norms are different from the stability of morality. Fashion changes. But honesty and courage do not. Conceptions of beauty change. But the idea that each person has dignity remains fundamental, even though we struggle to remember that a person's value has nothing to do with their body type.
Fat-shaming is not only mean, it is based upon a strange view of free will. We think that weight is only a matter of will power. But in the long run our bodies are ultimately not under our control. We age, get sick and die. Our bodies betray us every day in small and large ways. Instead of shame, we could all use more sympathy.
So rather than shaming people, how about loving them? An inclusive love should wrap its arms around each of us. Love begins with humility about our own imperfections. And love values people as they are, rather than as we want them to be.