Journey shaming: Persons are being shamed for his or her pandemic journeys
The pandemic has ushered in a new era of shame. There is mask shame when someone is criticized for wearing or not wearing a mask; shaming social distance when people are criticized for being too close; even virus shame when someone is criticized for getting the coronavirus.
And there is travel shame.
Before the coronavirus, travel was a social currency. We asked friends and new people we’d met (remember meeting new people?) Where they’d been and what was on their bucket list. Travel Shaming at the time was referring to shaming someone for not having traveled enough. People proudly shared their travel experiences like a badge of honor.
I had forgotten in the years since I was here how much I love Mexico and its people, its culture and its fantastic food. For those who might be ashamed, I honestly feel safer here than in the US. And they are hardworking !!! pic.twitter.com/0cdE5gbv6B
– Richard Culp (@Richiecuva) July 27, 2020
Once the world was locked and flights with closed airports and borders canceled, the social status of travel changed. Travelers have faced backlash from people who felt they were traveling during the pandemic to put others at risk.
Unlike other types of coronavirus shame, travel shame doesn’t seem to result in people being “canceled”. It slides quietly in direct messages or appears passively aggressively on social media timelines.
Matt Long, travel blogger and podcaster from Upper Marlboro, Md., Has taken several trips since coronavirus restrictions eased in the United States.
“Everyone has their own kind of social disgrace,” says Long.
The travel blogger’s first trip was on Memorial Day weekend. Long drove to the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, a 2,000-acre estate in Farmington, Pennsylvania that sponsored his two-day stay. While all of the comments on his social media posts were positive, Long was surprised by the annoying messages he received from his friends.
“They said, ‘I haven’t gone any further than my driveway in two months, so forget about yourself. My daughter can’t go swimming, but you are going to a resort. No, that’s not fair, ”says Long.
However, his most controversial trip was to Disney World in August. The trip was part of work, part of free time, as the self-proclaimed die-hard Disney fan would sum up the experience on his podcast and blog.
“There was a lot of criticism of ‘I can’t believe you’re going to Florida right now,” Long says. “I had some locals down there [in Florida] who honestly weren’t happy with me or someone who was there from out of state because they felt like they were literally fighting for their lives and they don’t need people from other states coming down to make things worse do. “
It is this feeling that forces Lola Méndez, a Uruguayan American travel writer who stopped staying at home after traveling full-time for five years at the start of the pandemic.
Unpopular Opinion: Just because you love to travel doesn’t mean you are interesting.
– lola anna méndez @ (@lolaannamendez) August 23, 2020
“I could never live with myself if I knew someone got sick and died because of me,” says Méndez.
Méndez was frustrated to see writers and influencers on the move again. When people ask Méndez for advice on travel, she tries not to preach with personal advice, but sends them articles from travel destinations that contain quotes from locals asking people not to visit.
“I’ve definitely been pretty seedy and posted some Instagram or Twitter subtitles about why I think it’s irresponsible, all of the things you should think about before going on a leisure trip,” says Méndez.
June Tangney, professor of psychology at George Mason University and author of Shame and Guilt, says it is natural to want to shame someone during the pandemic. Tangney doesn’t believe, however, that travel shame will have the effects people expect.
“Are shameful or guilty people who don’t follow the program effective or counterproductive?” Says Tangney. “I think it’s pretty safe to say that’s counterproductive.”
Although Tangney says there is no empirical research on the subject, all of the data she’s seen about shame suggests it makes people defensive, angry, or shift the blame onto other people.
“It’s natural to get angry with people like that, feel angry, and then make them feel bad,” Tangney says. “But it doesn’t help to make her feel bad in a shameful way.”
Tangney says there is another way to influence a person’s risky behavior: Try to “encourage people to think about their impact on others in a way that invites them to be more careful rather than trying to knock them out of them, ”she says.
Fear of guilt or shame can keep some people at home or keep their travels a secret. Or for some celebrities who are wide open on social media.
This includes rapper Drake, who was spotted in Barbados in July. Actor Timothée Chalamet, who went to Mexico in June; and Kylie Jenner, who posted maskless photos from Paris this week despite the EU ban on American travelers. And the list goes on.
Travel shaming also didn’t work for Long, who is not ashamed of his travels, although he has now posted fewer posts from the street.
“I really cut back on how much I shared,” he says of his most recent Disney World trip. “Usually there was an avalanche from Mickey and this time it was much warmer.”
After returning from his Disney trip, he was quarantined for two weeks and underwent two coronavirus tests. Long feels like he is taking the right precautions to travel safely and sees himself as someone who can help alleviate the shame of others by bringing travel back to normal.
“As long as you are smart and do not unnecessarily endanger others, I personally see no problem with it [traveling]”Says Long.” But for the foreseeable future we will put this trip to shame. “
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