I came up with the term “shamejacking” the other day when I was reading this submission because all I could think was, “Is she going to start harping on about how, if Michael was a woman, he’d know what it’s like to have menstrual cramps?” I don’t understand the obsession some people (mostly women) have with shaming other people (some of the time, men) by making some kind of obtuse comparison that’s incongruous to real life. “Just imagine, if you were a woman, you’d be doing yoga with breasts. You’d have to run while wearing a sports bra. And then you’d still have to go home and make meatloaf and mashed potatoes for your husband while doing a strip tease AND ironing all at the same time!!!” Seriously?
I touched on this subject in a recent Mommyish column, but in all honesty I do not understand or relate to the comparisons between women and men and housework. I say that not just as a feminist, but as a person who grew up with her dad making the school lunches, doing most of the grocery shopping, running a ton of kid-related errands, and so forth. In my house, and what I’d like to believe is most homes in 2012, two partners share household duties. Dishes, laundry, that moment when you finally clean your television screen after like five months of wondering why the picture seems blurry - all of these tasks can be performed by both sexes. I know that sounds CRAZY, but in my experience, it’s actually true!
That aside, shamejacking is about more than just making comparisons. It’s about someone feeling superior and bitter enough to “remind you” about stuff in which most people need no reminding. I don’t need my Great Aunt Gertrude (oh, how I wish I had one) telling me to pay my credit card bill each month. I’ve got Google calendars for that. And I certainly don’t need another mother reinforcing “the basics” on my Facebook page. Just sayin’ !!
Poor Ben. He’s such a nice guy. Pandering to Linda (Great Aunt Linda?) is the only reasonable thing to do in this scenario, because Linda is insane. I’m impressed with his humility and generous acceptance of her shaming. Also, the word “shaln’t,” which is supposed to be either “shalln’t” or “shan’t,” but god love him for trying. I sure hope he gets promoted soon.
(submitted by Anonymous)