Thursday, November 8, 2012


I would like to focus on ‘shame’ in this reading response. In chapter 5, Ahmed clearly explicates the idea of shame in a political milieu. After reading this chapter, it led me to think about the idea of “idealization.”  It seems to be that having an idealistic image of something brings one to feel shameful. If we had not known what it is like to be ‘perfect’, then there won’t be such thing as failure. We wouldn’t feel shameful because we failed nobody. There is no right or wrong. The history is what it is nothing more nothing less: no good nor bad. However, unfortunately the world doesn’t evolve that way. We define what is right or wrong, and perfect or imperfect. This idea of bipolarity is what is at the heart of ‘shame.’ You care and you love someone (or something) that you want to show perfection and to live up to their expectation. However, the sense of shame arises when you cannot meet the ideal expectation of your loved ones. The paradox of this scenario is that if you truly love someone or care about someone, than you shouldn’t have such expectation or perfected images in the first place. You love them for who they are. However, feeling of shame can still arise even if the person really loves you for who you are. It is not about them, it is about you.  As Ahmed talks about in the book, “I am the object as well as the subject of the feeling. Such an argument crucially suggests that shame requires an identification with the other who, as witness, returns the subject to itself. The view of this other is the view that I have taken on in relation to myself; I see myself as if I were this other. My failure before this other hence is profoundly, a failure of myself. In shame, I expose to myself that I am a failure through the gaze of an ideal other.” (106) The gaze of other becomes the gaze of you looking at yourself. The moment you accept the idealness of others, the moment you step outside from your body, you become the other. Feeling of shame is only possible when you look at yourself as someone who is not you. However, because the subject is you, you feel the shame.

I am going to use this to think more about the idea of shame.
Whether this is true or not, I think this directly applies to the “affect” of shame that Ahmed talks about. Would this shame-based campaigning really work? Can we feel shameful for things that we shouldn’t be shamed about? Then where does the boundary of what is shameful and what is not lie? Do we strictly depend on what authority tells us to feel and think? Who is this authority? How and in what ways are we being transformed into look at ourselves in other’s gaze? ..   

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