The Discipline of Stigma

There is a good case to be made for the stigma surrounding mental illness, at least for those in power.  For one, it keeps money that could go to the rich from reaching social services.  The second is harder to explain.

We need to start seeing shame and stigma as a discipline because that’s the way those in power see them.  The discipline of stigma keeps people in line, following oppressive social mores like not divulging their pay or playing along with the culture’s ruse of meritocracy (the idea that there is a path to success for everyone provided they work hard enough).  The thing about stigma is the worse it is the more people under its thumb live in fear and those in power have a deep desire for all of us to live in fear so we don’t rock the boat.  If we were to conquer the monumental stigma against mental illness we would upset the discipline of stigma not in the least because we would turn our attention to conquering stigmas in other areas which would scare those in power.  Kind of like how after climbing the tallest mountain one can turn their sights on smaller mountains because of the confidence boost of successfully climbing the tallest one.

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