Schaamte is, natuurlijk, iets persoonlijks: waar de een zich al schaamt bij een kleine ladder in de panty, loopt de ander trots met tepelplakkers rond.
Toch zijn er algemene momenten aan te wijzen in een vrouwenleven waarop ze gevoeliger is voor schaamte. ELLE.com vroeg experts in de vrouwenpsyche naar de schaamtevolste periodes in ons leven. We delen.
1. De puberteit
Een inkopper: de puberteit zit vol hormonen en rauwe emoties. Een prachtige basis voor schaamte, kortom. Veel van die schaamte heeft ook met onze veranderende lichamen te maken, zegt Catherine Roca, chief bij National Institute of Mental Health:
'It's much more frequent in women. I think while there are many factors that weigh into that, there are certainly standards that women and girls are more aware of, that they may become the pressure or focus of it.'
Psychiater Antonia New voegt daaraan toe:
'It's a very mixed message, right? On the one hand, there's a social value on being attractive to others as you grow up, and being popular socially in that particular way. But I think there's also a tremendous number of young women who embody the other side of that, which is that their sexuality and their developed bodies become a source of enormous shame. There's this hiding of puberal development, hiding of breasts. I think it's that women encounter these mixed messages around female sexuality, particularly in puberty.'
2. Op de werkvloer
Ook op de werkvloer zijn vrouwen geneigd zich af en toe te schamen, of op zijn minst heel bewust te zijn van zichzelf. Antonia New:
'There's very interesting data that shows that women who are more outspoken in the workplace are seen as loud-mouthed or pushy, and men are not. If you go to scientific meetings, for example, there's a striking dichotomy where women, when they give a talk, give a huge amount of data, and a minor amount of synthesis of their own ideas. Whereas men typically give a very minimal amount of data to help pitch their own ideas. I've actually sort of tracked that over 10 years with our grand rounds here at Mount Sinai, and it's a striking difference. I think women are made to feel that if they're too pushy, they should be ashamed of being too pushy or too arrogant.'
Catherine Roca voegt daaraan toe dat een nieuwe werkvloer ook leidt tot nieuwe normen die eigen gemaakt moeten worden, ook een factor voor schaamte:
'Transitions are times of increased stress, and stress and shame often go together.'
'There's a pressure to be that ideal, perfect mother, which nobody is. There may be this expectation that it should be a time when you're very happy and this is
what you wanted. But it's actually very stressful for most people. I think there's a lot of shame and stigma around that because of the expectation that they
should be feeling happy and they're not.'
4. Dertig & single
De druk om met iemand samen te zijn, wordt hoe ouder, hoe groter. Antonia New:
'For many women, not having been chosen by anyone is a deep-seated element of shame, which I don't see among single men. I've found that single men in their late thirties don't seem to be feel ashamed of that, whereas single women who are not in a relationship are more ashamed of that. It's like an extension of what we feel during puberty, of wanting to be chosen and valued. I actually see a lot less shame around divorce than I do about being unmarried or not partnered in any way.'