The Scarlet Letter

Obviously, most people above the age of fifteen are at least familiar with the phrase “The Scarlet Letter” if not its origin. But they’re certainly familiar with the concept as Hawthorne’s words have returned to roost, comfortably rooted in the speed, ignorance and pervasiveness of social media.

This morning my friend sent me an article by Rachel Garlinghouse, entitled A New Wave of Mom-Shaming: Posting Photos Online (Posted on, July 13, 2015). For some time, we’ve all been watching the train-wreck that is social media among young people. It’s amazing to witness the privilege that young singles seemingly reserve in their penchant for judgment. The trend has gone from responsible social commentary to open shaming and criticism with little information about the actual circumstances.

Dear hipsters, put down your damn phones and help the mom you see struggling. You don’t know her story. In fact, you won’t have any idea how easy you have it until you have children of your own. Life isn’t all about shoes, makeup and the latest bag. It is loving something more than yourself and remember that your mother did that for you. You weren’t any better behaved than that baby losing his mind because the mother can’t find an “acceptable” place to nurse and he feels the PAIN of hunger. That’s right. Nature ensured our survival by making babies feel actual pain when they’re hungry.

You don’t realize it, but you are adding stress to an already stressful situation if that mother has to protect her child from your photographic invasion. That’s right. Protect. You see, there are all kinds of dangerous people who will take that photo and use it in nefarious ways. You are ENDANGERING that mother and her child. Are you really okay with that? Just so you can get a laugh?

If I ever catch my son publicly shaming a mother (or anyone for that matter), he will have hell to pay. I have taught him compassion. He will be a gentleman and helpful. Compassion is slowly leaking out of our society. Someday that mother will be you, and you’ll want people to have compassion for you. Would you be okay with being pilloried by someone you’ve never met and knows nothing about you? Think about that next time you lift your phone.

5 thoughts on “The Scarlet Letter

  1. I can’t help recalling a science-fiction story I read 25 years ago about a society in which everyone wore glasses with cameras in them and that doing so effectively ended crime because it was practically impossible to commit one without being recorded during the act.

    Here we are in the 21st century and almost every man, woman and child has their own mobile phone with a camera. Has privacy itself finally become obsolete? Are we all doomed to be defined by a captured moment in time that bears no context except for that given by the one who took it?

    Liked by 1 person

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