Slut-shaming is wrong. We all know that – even Robin Thicke could probably hazard a guess in that direction. Ditto fat-shaming. It’s never OK to publically humiliate someone because of their gender, weight or relationship history.Observe the woman's dilemma. If slut-shaming and fat-shaming is wrong, then so is perv-shaming. And if perv-shaming is right, then what is the argument against slut-shaming and fat-shaming? After all, sluttery and obesity are considerably easier to prove than a claim to have been bottom-pinched.
But what about shaming someone for being sleazy?
Welcome to the murky world of perv-shaming, where young women are publically naming and shaming men who have supposedly sexually harassed, or assaulted them. There was a prime example this week, when American bartender Laura Ramadei wrote an open letter on Facebook to a man who allegedly groped her.... In posting Lederman's personal details online, Ramadei’s actions reflect a wider trend - that for seeking justice via social media. She is relying on people power to hand down a public and humiliating punishment.
There's no mention of reporting Lederman to anyone official.
Of course, this is a one off. An isolated incident. But, other recent examples are more serious - I'm thinking of the movement started by video games fans, called #Gamergate, aimed at publicly shaming certain female players.... These women are victims of online mobs. Just like victims of revenge porn - where ex-partners post explicit photos and personal information about women online - they have been publicly and unfairly named and shamed.
They deserve our sympathy. But does someone like Lederman?
After all, he allegedly groped a young woman. And he definitely made a sexually inappropriate joke about taking her ‘to go’. But does that justify Ramadei posting his personal details on the internet and perv-shaming him?
It’s a complex issue. On one hand, raising awareness about sexual harassment is incredibly important. Websites like the Everyday Sexism project have shown us that. But there is a difference between highlighting a problem and becoming a vigilante.
These are the deep philosophical questions with which the feminists of today must wrestle. Notice that male occupations such as the Beautiful and the True don't come into it, as the central concern is "could it have the consequence of making women feel bad".