Why Poverty Shaming Is Wrong

Almost everyday that I browse the internet I am sure to see at least one story, post or headline talking about body shaming. From celebrities to regular folk there is no shortage of complaints and rants telling people to be proud of who they are and of their unique bodies. The opposite is true for poverty shaming. Hell, I might be one of the few person to write about this topic if this is even a “topic”.

I define poverty shaming as the act of degrading or making a person feel inferior because of their lack of financial resources. You might be thinking  “I don,t do that”, but think again. How many times have you sang the song “I don’t want no scrub”, or shared or like a status or meme talking about” broke men don’t deserve love/sex”, or made fun of another persons cheap weave, clothes, car, etc. I admit I am guilty of it.

The difference between body shaming and poverty shaming is that body shaming is usually done more directly. For example telling someone they are too fat, or they shouldn’t dress a certain way etc. Poverty shaming is an issue that is ingrained in society. Not being able to afford a nice car, a beautiful house, latest clothes etc. is something we are taught  to be ashamed of. I can recall the countless times especially in my teen-aged years that I have refused to go out because I did not have nice clothes or my shoes didn’t look nice enough, and why all because of what people might think of me. They might not say it out loud but that attitude of I’m better because I have the latest stuff was always present.

In adulthood men bear the brunt of this practice because society expects them to be providers. It is however not limited to men, because the women who date these so-called “scrubs” are deemed unambitious. Funnily enough there is a domestic violence epidemic in Jamaica  that is being fueled in part by women getting into relationships for the sole purpose of using men for their money – possibly caused by ridicule aimed at them if they decide to date someone  who is not financially well off. (That’s another topic for another post).  Why should someone be denied the basic right of love just because they are not rich? I know lots of persons who are hard-working and ambitious and are living in poverty just because of our poor economy. Not every man who is not working or is not able to afford a car or shower a woman with gifts is a scrub.

Quite recently there was a video circulating on social media showing a man proposing to a woman who quite disgustingly turned down the proposal because among other things they were still walking and taking the bus. I was taken aback by her utterances toward the man who was kneeling there looking dumbfounded. It is one thing to turn down a proposal because you genuinely don’t love a person but because he doesn’t drive  car?! That is shameful and is the heights of poverty shaming.

“Poor” people deserve a chance at happiness too. Instead of telling persons who are struggling that they don’t deserve this and that, why not try to empower them? Putting them down only serves to weaken their self-esteem which will more than likely keep them in poverty than lift them out of it. A relationship should not be based on how much money the man can give the woman . Everybody is free to choose who they want to date and if a broke guy is not your speed so be it. But don’t go bashing broke guys and painting everyone who is broke with a broad brush of lazy and worthless.

Let me know what your thoughts on this topic are in the comments below.

Share This Post

4 thoughts on “Why Poverty Shaming Is Wrong”

  1. Thanks for highlighting this. Sociocultural differences we can’t control; however, how we relate, treat and even think of those having less than we do is an epidemic. “Poverty shaming”- fitring term.

    1. Hi Tashi-Ann,
      It is an ancient issue and to change anything we first have to start with a conversation about it. Thanks for engaging.

  2. Love the topic! It’s unfortunate that is the way of the world we live in today. It is much easier to shame someone for one reason or another instead of building each other up. This topic brings back memory of Lazarus and the rich man. So I often choose my words wisely knowing God is alway listening.

    1. Such a sad reality! It is a topic that has been o my mind for a longtime but I’m now just getting the chance to address it. I too have to retrain myself to remember that we are all equal despite our differences

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *