Sweat-shaming debate has critics questioning 'shame culture'

Consider the case of Amy Roe. She's in a Starbucks. After a run. Sweaty. Then came the comments from a well-dressed woman that to Amy was meant to shame her for daring to perspire in public. The result is a debate over "Sweat-Shaming" and whether the whole idea of shaming is being pushed too far.
Is sweat-shaming a serious issue, or just hurt feelings blown out of proportion? (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Her intentions were to disapprove how I looked. This was sweat shaming.- Amy Roe on her experience with a woman in line at Starbucks

About three weeks ago,  a sweaty Amy Roe was waiting in line at a Starbucks in Seattle, Washington. She'd been out for a run.  And as she stood there in her sweatshirt and baseball cap, she heard the comment: "You look like you just did a class ... or swimming?" 

It came from a nicely-dressed woman, commenting on her appearance. Amy Rowe didn't quite know what to say. 

Later, she decided there was a name for what had just happened. She had been "sweat shamed." 

Amy Roe is a writer as well as a runner, so she put fingers to keyboard and wrote an article about her experience for the British newspaper, The Guardian. That column stirred up a substantial reaction.  Amy Roe joined us from Seattle to talk about it.

For their thoughts on the debate Amy Roe's column sparked on exercise, privilege, gender equity and whether the idea of shaming is being pushed too far, we were joined by two people.

  • Shireen Ahmedis a sports activist, athlete and writer. She was in Mississagua, Ontario.
  • Jonathan Kay is the Editor of The Walrus.  He was in our Toronto studio.

Have you been sweat shamed?  Are we taking the whole "shaming" phenomenon too far?  

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This segment was produced by The Current's Julian Uzielli.

Brené Brown: Listening to shame

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston's Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the better part of  a decade studying shame -- what it is, how it works and how it works on us.