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Gender, shame, and the pantsuit

Edwards, Mary 2018. Gender, shame, and the pantsuit. Hypatia 33 (3) , pp. 571-577. 10.1111/hypa.12412

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Shame is widely regarded as an awful feeling. It is usually characterized as an involuntary, negative, other‐mediated emotion about oneself, and differentiated from other uncomfortable self‐conscious emotions such as embarrassment by virtue of the fact that it involves a “negative global assessment” of oneself (Manion 2003, 2). I may feel embarrassment if, for example, I discover that I have been walking around a public space with a trail of toilet‐paper attached to my shoe; I will feel silly, self‐conscious, and possibly a corresponding desire to hide from the view of others, but this experience is not shameful because it does not prompt me to reassess my overall self‐worth. Shame emerges from an appreciation of why another would perceive one as inferior or lowly, not merely ridiculous. It has a moral dimension, distinct from that associated with guilt, because it is concerned with the status of the self. The subject of guilt is conscious of how she may have harmed others, whereas the subject of shame is aware that her personal failings may be visible. Hence, the student caught cheating on an exam may undergo the shameful realization that others have now seen her bad traits (laziness, willingness to cheat, and so on).

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0887-5367
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 January 2018
Date of Acceptance: 15 November 2017
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2020 15:08

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