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The phrase Shaming tactics is familiar to many Men's Rights Activists. It conjures up the histrionic behavior of female detractors who refuse to argue their points with logic. Yet women are not the only ones guilty of using shaming tactics against men. Male gynocentrists use them, too.
Shaming tactics are emotional devices meant to play on a man's insecurities and shut down debate. They are meant to elicit sympathy for women and to demonize men who ask hard questions. Most, if not all, shaming tactics are basically ad homimem attacks.
Anyway, it might be helpful to categorize the major shaming tactics that are used against men whenever a discussion arises about feminism, men's issues, romance, etc. The following list contains descriptions of shaming tactics, some examples of quotes employing the tactics, and even color-coded aliases for mnemonic purposes. Enjoy.
- 1 Charge of Irascibility (Code Red)
- 2 Charge of Cowardice (Code Yellow)
- 3 Charge of Hypersensitivity (Code Blue) - The Crybaby Charge
- 4 Charge of Puerility (Code Green) - The Peter Pan Charge
- 5 Charge of Endangerment (Code Orange) - The Elevated Threat Charge
- 6 Charge of Rationalization (Code Purple) - The Sour Grapes Charge
- 7 Charge of Fanaticism (Code Brown) - The Brown Shirts Charge
- 8 Charge of Invirility (Code Lavender)
- 9 Charge of Overgeneralization (Code Gray)
- 10 Charge of Misogyny (Code Black)
- 11 Charge of Instability (Code White) - The White Padded Room Charge
- 12 Charge of Selfishness (Code Silver)
- 13 Charge of Superficiality (Code Gold) - The All-That-Glitters Charge
- 14 Charge of Unattractiveness (Code Tan) - The Ugly Tan Charge
- 15 Threat of Withheld Affection (Code Pink) - The Pink Whip
Charge of Irascibility (Code Red)
Discussion: The target is accused of having anger management issues. Whatever negative emotions he has are assumed to be unjustifiable. Examples:
- "You're bitter!"
- "You need to get over your anger at women."
- "You are so negative!"
Response: Anger is a legitimate emotion in the face of injustice. It is important to remember that passive acceptance of evil is not a virtue.
Charge of Cowardice (Code Yellow)
Discussion: The target is accused of having an unjustifiable fear of interaction with women. Examples:
- "You need to get over your fear."
- "Step up and take a chance like a man!"
- "You're afraid of a strong woman!"
Response: It is important to remember that there is a difference between bravery and stupidity. The only risks that reasonable people dare to take are calculated risks. One weighs the likely costs and benefits of said risks. As it is, some men are finding out that many women fail a cost-benefit analysis.
Charge of Hypersensitivity (Code Blue) - The Crybaby Charge
Discussion: The target is accused of being hysterical or exaggerating the problems of men (i.e., he is accused of playing "Chicken Little"). Examples:
- "Stop whining!"
- "Get over it!"
- "Suck it up like a man!"
- "You guys don't have it as nearly as bad as us women!"
- "You're just afraid of losing your male privileges."
- "Your fragile male ego ..."
- "Wow! You guys need to get a grip!"
Response: One who uses the Code Blue shaming tactic reveals a callous indifference to the humanity of men. It may be constructive to confront such an accuser and ask if a certain problem men face needs to be addressed or not ("yes" or "no"), however small it may be seem to be. If the accuser answers in the negative, it may constructive to ask why any man should care about the accuser's welfare since the favor will obviously not be returned. If the accuser claims to be unable to do anything about the said problem, one can ask the accuser why an attack is necessary against those who are doing something about it.
Charge of Puerility (Code Green) - The Peter Pan Charge
Discussion: The target is accused of being immature and/or irresponsible in some manner that reflects badly on his status as an adult male. Examples:
- "Grow up!"
- "You are so immature!"
- "Do you live with your mother?"
- "I'm not interested in boys. I'm interested in real men."
- "Men are shirking their God-given responsibility to marry and bear children."
Response: It should be remembered that one's sexual history, marital status, parental status, etc. are not reliable indicators of maturity and accountability. If they were, then we would not hear of white collar crime, divorce, teen sex, unplanned pregnancies, extramarital affairs, etc.
Charge of Endangerment (Code Orange) - The Elevated Threat Charge
Discussion: The target is accused of being a menace in some undefined manner. This charge may be coupled with some attempt to censor the target. Examples:
- "You guys are scary."
- "You make me feel afraid."
Response: It may be constructive to point out that only bigots and tyrants are afraid of having the truth expressed to them. One may also ask why some women think they can handle leadership roles if they are so threatened by a man's legitimate freedom of expression.
Charge of Rationalization (Code Purple) - The Sour Grapes Charge
Discussion: The target is accused of explaining away his own failures and/or dissatisfaction by blaming women for his problems. Example:
- "You are just bitter because you can't get laid."
Response: In this case, it must be asked if it really matters how one arrives at the truth. In other words, one may submit to the accuser, "What if the grapes really are sour?" At any rate, the Code Purple shaming tactic is an example of what is called "circumstantial ad hominem."
Charge of Fanaticism (Code Brown) - The Brown Shirts Charge
Discussion: The target is accused of subscribing to an intolerant, extremist ideology or of being devoted to an ignorant viewpoint. Examples:
- "You're one of those right-wing wackos."
- "You're an extremist"
- "You sound like the KKK."
- "... more anti-feminist zaniness"
Response: One should remember that the truth is not decided by the number of people subscribing to it. Whether or not certain ideas are "out of the mainstream" is besides the point. A correct conclusion is also not necessarily reached by embracing some middle ground between two opposing viewpoints (i.e., the logical fallacy of "False Compromise").
Charge of Invirility (Code Lavender)
Discussion: The target's sexual orientation or masculinity is called into question. Examples:
- "Are you gay?"
- "I need a real man, not a sissy."
- "You're such a wimp."
Response: Unless one is working for religious conservatives, it is usually of little consequence if a straight man leaves his accusers guessing about his sexual orientation.
Charge of Overgeneralization (Code Gray)
Discussion: The target is accused of making generalizations or supporting unwarranted stereotypes about women. Examples:
- "I'm not like that!"
- "Stop generalizing!"
- "That's a sexist stereotype!"
Response: One may point out that feminists and many other women make generalizations about men. Quotations from feminists, for example, can be easily obtained to prove this point. Also, one should note that pointing to a trend is not the same as overgeneralizing. Although not all women may have a certain characteristic, a significant amount of them might.
Charge of Misogyny (Code Black)
Discussion: The target is accused of displaying some form of unwarranted malice to a particular woman or to women in general. Examples:
- "You misogynist creep!"
- "Why do you hate women?"
- "Do you love your mother?"
- "You are insensitive to the plight of women."
- "You are mean-spirited."
- "You view women as doormats."
- "You want to roll back the rights of women!!"
- "You are going to make me cry."
Response: One may ask the accuser how does a pro-male agenda become inherently anti-female (especially since feminists often claim that gains for men and women are "not a zero-sum game"). One may also ask the accuser how do they account for women who agree with the target's viewpoints. The Code Black shaming tactic often integrates the logical fallacies of "argumentum ad misericordiam" (viz., argumentation based on pity for women) and/or "argumentum in terrorem" (viz., arousing fear about what the target wants to do to women).
Charge of Instability (Code White) - The White Padded Room Charge
Discussion: The target is accused of being emotionally or mentally unstable. Examples:
- "You're unstable."
- "You have issues."
- "You need therapy."
Response: In response to this attack, one may point to peer-reviewed literature and then ask the accuser if the target's mental and/or emotional condition can explain the existence of valid research on the matter.
Charge of Selfishness (Code Silver)
Discussion: This attack is self-explanatory. It is a common charge hurled at men who do not want to be bothered with romantic pursuits. Examples:
- "You are so materialistic."
- "You are so greedy."
Response: It may be beneficial to turn the accusation back on the one pressing the charge. For instance, one may retort, "So you are saying I shouldn't spend my money on myself, but should instead spend it on a woman like you ---and you accuse me of being selfish?? Just what were you planning to do for me anyway?"
Charge of Superficiality (Code Gold) - The All-That-Glitters Charge
Discussion: The charge of superficiality is usually hurled at men with regard to their mating preferences. Examples:
- "If you didn't go after bimbos, then ..."
- "How can you be so shallow and turn down a single mother?"
Response: Average-looking women can be just as problematic in their behavior as beautiful, "high-maintanence" women. Regarding the shallowness of women, popular media furnishes plenty of examples where petty demands are made of men by females (viz., those notorious laundry lists of things a man should/should not do for his girlfriend or wife).
Charge of Unattractiveness (Code Tan) - The Ugly Tan Charge
Discussion: The target is accused of having no romantic potential as far as women are concerned. Examples:
- "I bet you are fat and ugly."
- "You can't get laid!"
- "Have you thought about the problem being you?"
Response: This is another example of "circumstantial ad hominem." The target's romantic potential ultimately does not reflect on the merit of his arguments.
Threat of Withheld Affection (Code Pink) - The Pink Whip
Discussion: The target is admonished that his viewpoints or behavior will cause women to reject him as a mate. Examples:
- "No woman will marry you with that attitude."
- "Creeps like you will never get laid!"
Response: This is an example of the logical fallacy "argumentum ad baculum" (the "appeal to force"). The accuser attempts to negate the validity of a position by pointing to some undesirable circumstance that will befall anyone who takes said position. Really, the only way to deal with the "Pink Whip" is to realize that a man's happiness and worth is not based on his romantic conquests (including marriage).