Why Stop Smart-Shaming?


Patricia Aleckzandra | Vigorbuddy

Why do we respond with “Ang lalim oh!” to people who give deep insights on on-going conversation? Or respond with a “Dami nitong alam!” to people who give interesting information while getting engaged in a conversation? What supposed to be just a casual exchange of ideas suddenly turns into one party getting shamed because of providing insights, opinions, beliefs and interesting facts.

“Ikaw na magaling!” and “Edi wow!” are just some of the common Filipino responses nowadays when someone gives too much information specially in casual conversations. How one values intellectual pursuit can also be seen through these responses. Smart-shaming is an effect of anti-intellectualism where people mistrust intellects and intellectual pursuits. Isaac Asimov once said: “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” People who present a different way of thinking, and are perceived as a danger to normality are considered as outsiders with a little empathy to the rest of the population. Hence, the birth of the idea that people who have a contradicting point of view are considered as elitists, arrogant, matapobre (anti-poor), and aloof.

One of the countries who values high-quality education among its people is the Philippines but ironically has an alarming increase rate of “smart-shaming.” Why is this so? Filipino are not aware that smart-shaming is actually happening around us. Smart-shaming continuously increase and happens every day due to lack of awareness among the public. Sadly, the act of mocking smarter people than us is becoming a norm. Whatever rationale or personal reasons people have behind it, smart-shaming has to be stopped.


One is that it stops people from growing intellectually. Growing does not only happen physically. Smart-shaming stops a person from pursuing intellectual growth fearing they might be mocked because of it. Knowledge and intelligence is power and people should not be teased because of the knowledge they have gained and learned. Acknowledging their achievements will encourage not only the person to quench his/her thirst for knowledge but also would encourage others to be smarter. Nowadays, information is readily available by just clicking on buttons in your computer screen. I personally cannot see why people stop learning when we have all the means to gather information. Life is, after all, a continuous process of learning.

As much as it stops intellectual growth, it also hinders people to express themselves freely. Because of the fear that people will mock someone when their views and opinions opposes the other party, people tend to “just not talk”. This causes a lot of great ideas and interesting opinions to be kept and slowly be forgotten. The fear of being dubbed as a know-it-all hunt everyone. But bear in mind it is better to be a know-it-all than to know nothing at all.

Another reason why smart-shaming should be stopped is because it leaves people thinking they are not smart enough. When people take one’s opinions or views negatively, there is a tendency that the person would question his abilities and capabilities in critical thinking. On the other hand, people who smart-shame others have that idea that smart person are showing off what they know. It all boils down to self-confidence and how people think they are not capable of being better. Remember, you (and you alone) can supply the knowledge you want to absorb.

And finally, smart-shaming is another form of bullying. Yes, smart-shaming is bullying. Making one feel weird, out-of-place, or different from the rest in a negative way while lower their self-esteem is bullying. Stop it as soon as possible.

Smart-shaming does not only occur in institutions or in public places but rampantly spreads in social media as well. Foster curiosity rather than discouraging it. Smart-shaming has to stop.


Follow my other articles/blogs in Gogagah, FoodFindsAsia, and Pinoytrekker.


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