White feather

Shame, what is it good for?

Note: This article is also available in Spanish.

Shame, it’s the most common and most powerful weapon of control and coercion used against men in a culture driven by archaic traditions, as well as the modern mirror, gender ideology.

It was used successfully to coerce men of urban 1914 England to die and to kill in the frozen, bloody trenches of the first world war. Women handed out white feathers to men who were not in uniform; a public humiliation proving  you were not a real man unless you enlisted and put your survival and well being a very distant second, after the interests of your community and king.

That’s how powerful shame is. Men chose to die, and suffer by the millions, rather than endure it.

It’s used successfully today to coerce men by women handing them an updated white feather. The white ribbon campaign: prodding men, with shame, to admit they belong to a class of abusers, rapists, predators and subhumans, and to wear that admission as a pledge to be something better than they are without it.

So, what else is shame good for? When men find themselves experiencing failure or suffering, shame keeps them from seeking help. In fact, shame is used to justify preventing them from demanding the help afforded to anyone else in pain.

As the problem solvers of the human race, shame helps men who have fallen on hard times to man up, swallow their pain and just kill themselves. Four out of five suicides in Canada are men.

Shame is useful as a weapon to force compliance and silence. What is a real man? It’s a man who does what his social betters require of him. He does what he’s supposed to — to hell with his own needs. Pain? Real men don’t feel it. Grief? REAL Men don’t feel it, or any other emotion that does not serve the fancy of others. And, of course, after they’ve died by their own hands, nobody needs to regard them as humans. Defective appliances don’t merit any sympathy. Take that broken equipment to the curb for pick-up.

Almost all men have an innate sense of justice. However, by application of shame, this can be completely suppressed and silenced. They endure violence, censorship, intimidation, and harassment in the name of social-justice. Social-justice — which should not be confused with actual justice.

Shame, and the pressure to conform is also a great tool to retard progress toward a more humane and compassionate society. Real men, subject to coercion through shame, are pushed to deny their own humanity, their own need for humaneness and compassion, thus stalling society from dispensing those things to half the human beings that need them.

“I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it. He’s just incapable of it.”

The quote is from former US Senator Barbara Jordan. She should have looked into a mirror. But what about men who prove Jordan’s statement and the ideology behind it are nothing except evil lies? Men who demonstrate great compassion and empathy, for themselves or their fellow men have their manhood called into question. They’re rewarded for their courage to feel with loss of their status as men. They are shamed. Thus, for men who have not yet identified their capacity for shame as a maladaptive product of a feminized culture, shame serves very well to stifle and suppress that which might make them great, The qualities of justice and compassion, two fundamental elements of their identity, are corrupted and usurped for the use of others, specifically women.

How about affection, attraction, desire and love? How about expressing any of these basic human emotions without the permission of whoever might be the object of those feelings? How about the expression of those things without the permission of the consensus arbiters of public identity?

Attraction? Desire? If expressed without a permission which must ultimately be guessed at, a man is a creep. Shame, in this case, is the weapon to extinguish what some writers through history have called the noblest of human impulses. Love. Of course shame is the weapon to extinguish affection, attraction, desire, love, and trust as well.

Of course, all this assumes that a man subjected to control and coercion of purposefully applied shame has not made a choice to abandon it, to just dump it. Obviously, this is not something done trivially or easily, but self ownership includes ownership of your own emotions.

Is there an argument buried in the previous statement for men having no emotions? Is there a whiff of that old, toxic idea that men have none, or that they possess the emotional inner lives of a class of stunted, regressive, domineering and woman-oppressing subhumans? Sure, even a half-arsed attempt at spin could present such an argument. In fact, wrapped up within such an opinion is the same old weapon used to silence, to marginalize and dismiss men who do what we all keep hearing that real men shouldn’t do; namely, to express desire, experience grief, or give voice to love of their fellows with the very foolish hope that it be reciprocated.

However, informed self-ownership within a gender ideological culture inevitably includes the recognition that shame, kept within a man’s emotional repertoire, is dysfunctional. Conforming to the group was a good survival strategy in the resource-scarce hunter gatherer communities of our ancient ancestors, and shame is one of the tools of enforced conformity. However, in a modern setting in which the ideology of the group is often irrational, shame remains the go-to tactic of coercing conformity for the benefit of parasites.

Shame on you for recognizing your own humanity. Shame on you for not putting yourself in harm’s way for the convenience of others. Shame on you for attempting to help anyone other than members the leisure caste. Shame on you for exercising moral discrimination which does not conform to the convenience of privileged children. Shame on you for not submitting to your allotted role of disposable appliance. Shame on you for rejecting violence against your person. Shame on you for refusing to dispense violence for the convenience of your social superiors. Shame on you for daring to think you are not guilty, simply by virtue of your biology. Shame on you for not agreeing you are sexual predator. Shame on you for having emotions, almost as if you thought you were a human being. You’re not, you are a wooden robot, and if you’ve been damaged beyond your continued utility, we’ll use you for firewood. So man up, and get back onto the goddamn treadmill of protect, provide, serve, die, and kill when it is convenient for others.

Shame and it’s continued place within a man’s emotional repertoire, when recognized as maladaptive, can be discarded.

And once discarded, what can a man do without it? How about exercise personal judgement and discrimination, and act on that judgement. Without shame, there is no reason to quietly accept bigotry practiced by a majority in public. There is no reason to accept the idea that sexually mutilating infants is anything except monstrous, even when that mutilation is widely accepted as normal. There is no reason to excuse violent crime even if it is committed by members of our culture’s leisure caste.

An inclusive list of what is possible without the encumbrance of shame could fill pages. But such an attempt is unnecessary.

There ceases to be any reason, when shame is gone, to fail to recognize violence for what it is, even if practiced by the superficially pretty. There is no reason, without shame not to express affection, desire or love. And when the weapon of shame is predictably used in an effort to silence that expression, there remains no reason to not respond to such aggression with sharp and condemning rebuke.

For men it is time to abandon shame. It is long past time to become completely shameless.

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  • KeanoReeves

    My God JtO, You are describing my life – to a tee! I have rage filled in me as I realize that I was conned by using shame. I was taught a lot of crap which was not in my interest. Now I say F-You. But the past dancing hurts.

    • https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Voice-for-Men/102001393188684 Paul Elam

      The pain of past dancing is your new conscious. Learn to love it. :)

      That is where I think the direction is for the next part of JTOs excellent piece.

      See, guilt is a normal part of having a moral compass, IMO. It is the rudder for keeping me within my own values. Shame is toxic and destructive.

      The guilt that I want to feel is if I catch myself forgetting the past dancing and acting on shame attempted to be inflicted by others.

      It still tempts me at times, here and there, but I don’t think it has forced a decision on me that I did not want to make in a long, long time.

      I love the term “be shameless” for men. I think it would make a good T-shirt, or coffee cup, or tattoo on a forearm.

      Or a poster in a Canadian city, lol.

      Shame is, in the end, our greatest enemies. It not only keeps good men silent, but it drives white knights into their dirty work, not to mention leaving a lot of blood on the ground for men in general.

      Yeah, be shameless. I like it. Thanks JTO!

      • https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Voice-for-Men/102001393188684 Paul Elam

        Just picking apart my post. I will be glad when the editor is fixed, lol

      • Kimski

        1000% agreed.
        Being completely shameless is not only liberating as hell, it can be exquisitely entertaining when the person trying to use you as a utility for their own means, which is the sole purpose of shaming, are left standing with their mouth wide open, because they realize they have lost any power they ever had over you.

        I always feel like doing a little dance right there, whenever that happens.

        “Free, oh, Lord, free at last!”

        • OneHundredPercentCotton

          Look what going shame-free has done for women.

          • Bewildered

            In a coup d’etat they have tamed the power of the Almighty Penis.

          • Tman

            I would say there’s a difference between refusing to be shamed out of using your own moral compass and being told it’s okay to no longer have a moral compass.

          • by_the_sword

            Joseph Campbell explained that Guilt is the feeling that one has done wrong, while shame is the feeling that one “is” wrong. Assuaging guilt requires a mere course correction, i.e. “don’t do that again”, while shame affects us on a much deeper level. The people who ise shame and guilt to turn men into soldiers and slaves are evil people for doing so, but I do not think that one can simply abandon shame, and I question whether or not we actually should. I think that shame is integral to normal living and abandoning it would be like abandoning love or mercy or fairness.

            However, it is imperative that we not allow evil people to use shame as a weapon against us. We must adhere to our principles and let no one subvert those. This is a much harder road to walk than simply abandoning shame. For we still must follow a moral compass, yet each person must think for themself, they must do the actual work of deducing what is right or wrong instead of allowing others to do that for us.

            The new manhood… Or dare I say; personhood, for those women who choose to live with integrity, requires us to be ever dilligent in our actions. It will not be an easy life.

          • https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Voice-for-Men/102001393188684 Paul Elam

            I think there is a difference. Women have gone “guilt-free” which means no moral compass, as opposed to shame-free.

            Way, way different, IMO.

          • OneHundredPercentCotton

            I’m picturing a photo that’s no longer to be found circulating on the internet titled “What Happened To American Women” one of Jackie Kennedy demurely smiling, hands gracefully folded in her lap – next to a photo of two women, passed out drunk on the streets of Cancun, skirts up above their waists, legs thrown apart exposing their Victoria’s Secret thongs…

            sorry…the word that came to my mind was…shameless.

          • AlexB

            I assume you two are talking about feminism?Well, I disagree, women haven’t become shameless, the things they are shamed into has changed – to be more accurate women are shamed into what feminists want them to be.
            And as for men, shame was used to force us into compliance way before feminism, all feminism did was increase the volume.Before feminism men had it slightly better, but not much better, the traditional mindset is what sets the foundation for the exploitation of men feminists just decided to exploit it more.

      • Tman


      • rexxthunder

        I remember you once did an interview where I think you said, “John Wayne is the problem”. I just had a talk with a 25 year old guy that told me that all men should learn to fight and just tough it up. I told him I didn’t agree with that. He then tells me that it worked for thousands of years. I told him, “so did slavery”.

        • https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Voice-for-Men/102001393188684 Paul Elam

          Perfect answer.

          • AlexB

            Since I can’t reply to your above comment I’ll do it here.I don’t think it’s entirely accurate to say women have gone guilt-free but rather use the feminist ideology to nullify their guilt, it’s similar to how a religious fanatic would use a God to justify their actions, women use their perceived/supposed oppression,the patriarchy theory to justify their actions.

            If you haven’t noticed feminists and even a lot of non-feminist women, get defensive if you tell them directly, that women were never oppressed or women never even had it worse than men, which sounds awfully like denial to me, now why would they be denial if they didn’t feel guilt?When you take women’s supposed oppression and historical plight out of the equation all they’re left with is personal choices,responsibility and the guilt they have gathered from their actions now that their ‘reasoning’ to justify their actions and attitude is gone.

    • graham strouse

      I feel shame when I’ve injured someone or done them wrong. It hurts like fire but it’s justified–so long as I’ve actually injured someone intentionally or indifferently. My issue with so many feminists of my generation (I’m 40) is that I end up feeling shame for things I’ve never done. A slip of the tongue or a poorly worded argument makes for a lifetime banishment to the phantom zone.

      Forget about walking on eggshells. Half the time it’s more like dancing through a minefield.

  • shmiggen

    The last line sums it up.

  • Alex462


    There’s also the broad sense of shame in having a modest job which you enjoy doing, and spending your time and money doing stuff you like doing, rather than blowing it on an ungrateful family and society in general.
    How dare you not slave away being productive at a job you hate for the benefit of people you can’t stand?
    How dare you enjoy yourself and act in a sub-optimal manner?
    How dare you keep your wealth to yourself, you chauvinist capitalist pig?

    I am also struck quite often, by how applying lessons taught by mra’s mgtow’s and so on, men actually become the very thing women want most in the world.

    • Porquemada

      Kudos. And agreed. Too many people feel that they have the formula for you to provide the maximum benefit to them, and the nerve to demand that you apply it.

      Also, I’d have to say that I really do enjoy enjoying myself while acting in both an optimal AND a suboptimal manner. Not sure which one of those would involve The Macallan. Ideally both, I suppose.

  • Robert St. Estephe

    CORRECTION: Barbara Jordan: US House of Representatives, not US Senate.

  • http://menaregood.com Tom Golden

    Excellent piece! I thought this part was a great summation of shame and the war on masculinity in today’s world:

    “The white ribbon campaign: prodding men, with shame, to admit they belong to a class of abusers, rapists, predators and subhumans, and to wear that admission as a pledge to be something better than they are without it.”

    Well said.

    Shame is such a powerful tool but what makes it powerful in its use on men and boys? I think in order for us to make changes we need to answer that question and in my mind the most important element that makes us vulnerable to shame is our tendency to strive for status. If we had no interest in striving for status we would be immune to shaming which is a laser pointed threat to lower men’s status. In some ways we can see this happening already in the MGTOW movement where these men have simply ceased in caring about their status. Now for them, the shaming is simply empty threats that bounce off of them due to their immunity, and this immunity is directly tied to their detachment from buying into the status game.

    The same thinking can be applied in multiple areas but it is complicated greatly by our hormones, mostly testosterone, that push us to seek higher status. When and if we can somehow detach from the status game we will also be detaching from the shame.

    • http://cleareyes1984.angelfire.com/ Room101

      “When and if we can somehow detach from the status game we will also be detaching from the shame.”

      I agree with you 100%, but it can take YEARS to detach and look at thinks objectively. Human consciousness is composed of years and many thousands of experiences. Its not like human beings can simply reboot our own minds. The easiest thing to do is to replace belief with skepticism and question our own past experiences.

      • http://menaregood.com Tom Golden

        Yes. Agree. It is not a simple or quick shift and it is further complicated by our biology. It’s a good first step to simply be aware of the process. I think too many men are unaware of how they get hooked by shame so easily. The more we can help men start to see this dynamic the better things will be.

  • Robert St. Estephe

    Take a look at this hideous statue of compassionate Rep. Barbara Jordon. (Wikipedia commons, free to use)



  • anotherguy

    Outstanding writing, I was going to say penmanship.

  • Winterborne

    I don’t know if this would be in any way helpful, but I found this after reading this article.


    I don’t know if anyone has a CafePress “membership.” Maybe a “Shameless -AVFM” shirt can be made, and a few bucks can find their way into good pockets from sales. I’m sorry I don’t have the time at work to dig into this, but it the idea seemed decent enough to share.


  • Winterborne

    I really like this article. I usually give freely of my efforts, work and ideas to friends and family. People I deem good enough to warrant my kindness. This article encapsulates the mechanism that is used to extract that labor when it is not freely offered.

    I struggle with my younger guy friends, how can I share these concepts I have? With these articles I can more readily recognize destructive behaviors and, more importantly, share it more easily with others.

    Thanks guys!

    • Tman

      IMO. There’s nothing wrong with helping others without expecting anything in return.

      Just stay away from the parasites who are looking to exploit this side of your nature. It’s a good way to be, it’s your moral responsibility not to let it be something about you that is destroyed.

      • Porquemada

        Words to live by.

    • Tman

      Or rather “not destroyed”.. :)

  • Tman

    “The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt” Ayn Rand

  • Porquemada

    I completely agree with JTO about the concept of shame within the context he describes.

    However, one definition of shame is:

    -a state of disgrace: a state of disgrace or dishonor-

    That having been said, completely discarding the concept of shame is not something I’m ready to do.

    There are people and organizations out there who should be ashamed of themselves and their actions.
    Many of the world’s governments, most (if not all) feminist groups, and a fair number of religious groups come to mind. They have dishonored themselves and their members, and they should be ashamed.

    The fact that these entities have no shame is telling about their (and our) acceptance of dishonor in the furtherance of “whatever” their aims may be.

    For rat bastards and crooks, shame is still appropriate.

  • by_the_sword

    [Quote]OneHundredPercentCotton in reply to Kimski
    Look what going shame-free has done for women.[\quote]


    I do not with to become like the feminist. I think that we should hang on to those virtues that make a man great and toss aside the ones that don’t work for us. Feeling shame for living a life that is destructive and wanting to change yourself fundamentally, is a good thing. Feeling shame because you won’t “man-up” and be a soldier/slave is a bad thing.

  • pinetree

    There are also different types of shame. It seems sexual shame has been the most powerful tool that feminists have used successfully to control men. That itself is worthy of some serious study –male sexual shame.

  • crydiego

    Standing Ovation from me John!

  • keithdouglas322

    ReVamp Faux-Minism toward equality. Dump Shame for everyone.

  • Gordon Wadsworth

    An excellent piece, JtO, even by your own high standards.

  • John Narayan (KARMA MRA MGTOW)

    Tom Leykis – TV Still Bashing Men

  • John Narayan (KARMA MRA MGTOW)

    Tom Leykis Show 2012: Tom vs. Female Hater

  • Jay

    JTO you are both thinking and thought provoking. This is epic stuff. This is up there with the writings of the legendary Kyle L, who used to write for this site. Wherever he is, if he is still alive, I hope he will one day return.

  • DrOrange

    What a truly great article.

  • Da5id

    Barbara Jordan was never a US senator. She was a Texas state senator and a member of the US House of Representatives. She was elected in 1972. Was she sexist? Sure. But pretty much everyone at that time was sexist as we now understand it.