'With moral clarity and powerful storytelling, Cathy O'Neil reverse engineers the 'shame machine,' revealing its inner workings and inciting nothing short of a cultural reckoning that has the potential to blow this machine to bits' - Ruha Benjamin
Shame is being weaponized by governments and corporations to attack the most vulnerable. It's time to fight back
Shame is a powerful and sometimes useful tool. When we publicly shame corrupt politicians, abusive celebrities, or predatory corporations, we reinforce values of fairness and justice. But as best-selling author Cathy O'Neil argues in this revelatory book, shaming has taken a new and dangerous turn. It is increasingly being weaponized -- used as a way to shift responsibility for social problems from institutions to individuals. Shaming children for not being able to afford school lunches or adults for not being able to find work lets us off the hook as a society. After all, why pay higher taxes to fund programmes for people who are fundamentally unworthy?
O'Neil explores the machinery behind all this shame, showing how governments, corporations and the healthcare system capitalize on it. There are damning stories of rehab clinics, reentry programs, drug and diet companies, and social media platforms -- all of which profit from 'punching down' on the vulnerable. Woven throughout The Shame Machine is the story of O'Neil's own struggle with body image and her recent weight-loss surgery, which awakened her to the systematic shaming of fat people seeking medical care.
With clarity and nuance, O'Neil dissects the relationship between shame and power. Whom does the system serve? How do current incentive structures perpetuate the shaming cycle? And, most important, how can we all fight back?
An engaging read . . . O'Neil lays out the ways in which shame drives problems such as obesity, drug addiction, poverty and political divides. She discusses how social media thrives on and is designed to encourage humiliation, and unpicks the many fallacies in how we think about shame
Striking ... O'Neil examines how the 'shame industrial complex' divides us and how we can develop a healthier, more forgiving version
A unique and riveting look at a crucial yet little understood aspect of modern life
A simple rejoinder to our digital phantasmagoria. . . O'Neil encourages readers to try to think more deeply not just about what shame is but what it might be for
What is the relationship between shame and power - and is shame being weaponised? Smart thinker Cathy O'Neil tackles the question in this book, exploring whether public shaming is becoming dangerous
In this trenchant, and at times heartbreaking, critique of the shame industrial complex, Cathy O'Neil lays bare how shame underpins the deep divides of modern society. But not all shame is bad, O'Neil contends -- used correctly it can be a powerful tool to fight injustice
An intimate and unflinching account of the many ways that shame is produced, weaponized, and turned into profit by industries that can only grow big when we feel small. With moral clarity and powerful storytelling, Cathy O'Neil reverse engineers the 'shame machine,' revealing its inner workings and inciting nothing short of a cultural reckoning that has the potential to blow this machine to bits
Cathy O'Neil's fascinating, important, and insightful book is a hard look in the mirror, but one that also gives us hope that we can marshal shame into a force for social reform and not just social punishment
Cathy O'Neil's Weapons of Math Destruction was a thunderclap -- using wonderfully vivid stories, it exposed the dehumanizing effects of a data-driven world. The Shame Machine is even more personal, but no less devastating. Whether it's through body-shaming mobs or a deeply flawed judicial system, humans use shame as a weapon to bully, demean, and devalue other humans. And with the unstoppable growth of digital tools, this power has become far too great. O'Neil reminds us that we must resist the urge to judge, belittle and oversimplify, and instead allow always for complexity and lead always with empathy
Whether it's smoking in public, masking against Covid-19, or promulgating political lies, O'Neil allows room for shame while also urging readers always to 'punch up' at the social and economic machine and its masters rather than down at the vulnerable. A thoughtful blend of social and biological science, history, economics, and sometimes contrarian politics