Actually, men and women do respond well to shame.
I noticed that you quoted Brene Brown in her quote about shame. I am fully aware she has her Master’s degree in social work, which is certainly important to have in dealing with many facets of society.
However, you and Brene have not taken into consideration of other cultures who use shame as a way to keep their own society in check. With someone like you and Brene quoting that shame is ineffective is a misnomer. You are both not being culturally competent. You are basing your viewpoint on an anglo Saxon/ Caucasian culture.
Asian Shame and Honor
James Lee, a well-dressed, articulate, 35 year old Korean-American walks into my office. Lee tells me he has no one else…
This is one cultural difference I see when Asian-American clients come in for counseling that’s significantly different from Caucasians without an ethnic or cultural identification. Seeking help for addictions, while praised and encouraged in mainstream American society is seen as a major umbrage to the Asian individual, family, and extended Asian community.
If you want to understand Asian addictions, you need to understand the principle of cultural shame and its underlying impact on those from Asian backgrounds. This concept of shame is what undergirds Asian societies, families, and thus individuals. When it comes to Asian people, our cultures revolve around some aspect of shame. Asian identities are forged early on in childhood by learning that shame is used to bring about social order and harmony.
With shame, Charlotte, it does modify ones behavior, in the sense that our actions cause harm and disgrace to our loved ones. When one does commit an egregious act, they may just experience a sense of “shunning” and or dishonor upon the family name. So, one does keep themselves in check, as to not cause embarrassment to the family name.
Honor is greatly valued in the Japanese culture as well…
In feudal Japan, much like other Asian cultures, the family was central and paramount to existence thus shame and dishonor affected the whole family. Families share genes. If one noble samurai lord became widely known to have done something shameful, this would have affected the prospects of his whole family. His daughters would not marry well, and his brothers would have to work much harder to achieve any position of influence and power.
The reason a samurai accepted suicide so readily was that their families instilled in them a strong sense of duty. Families, not wishing to be harmed by the actions of one rogue family member, would for the sake of their place in society demand that the one erring member should kill himself rather than damage the whole family’s reputation. Unlike Christianity where suicide is sin, the sins from the family of the dead Japanese individual bring restitution and restoration to the family tainted by the original blemish.
Not surprisingly, this view of suicide as a means to preserve your family and culture’s honor still permeates among the Japanese. According to the World Health Organization, Japan has the highest suicide rate among Asian countries with more than 30,000 Japanese killing themselves each year. Taking your life is seen as an honorable way of atoning for public disgrace and expression of one’s deep sense of shame. “Suicide in Japan, often misunderstood in America, is the ultimate means of taking responsibility for having brought shame to one’s group. This most personal act is, in Japan, still an act that expresses a supreme concern for what others think,” writes John Condon in his book With Respect to the Japanese.
In addition, the use of shame is also incorporated into the Chinese culture as well…
Confucianism conceptualizes shame as an emotion as well as a human capacity that directs the person inward for self- examination and motivates the person toward socially and morally desirable change. When one has done something wrong or socially inappropriate, admitting one’s misconduct and desiring to change oneself is also believed to be an act of expiation requiring personal courage (Fung, in press; Wu & Lai, 1992). It is this very function and power of shame that Confucianism values and fosters.
Shame state with self focus
contained three further sets of meanings: (1) one’s fear of losing face,
(2) the feeling state after one’s face has been lost,
Reactions to shame with other-focus also consisted
of three further sets of subcomponents at the same level:
(5) shamelessness and its condemnation, (6) embarrassment.
Shame is also used as a parenting technique…
People’s families and their wider community of friends, relatives, and superiors all have an interest in a member’s advancements and setbacks.
When people achieve well, the entire community shares the honor. Likewise, when people fail, they do not simply lose their own face, but they shame all those around them.
I can tell you with all certainty that growing up in this way kept me out of trouble, unlike my white counterparts. To see my parents heartbroken looks and crestfallen faces kept me in line.