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Humiliation is literally the act of being made humble, or reduced in standing or prestige. However, the term has much in common with the emotion of shame. Humiliation is not in general a pleasant experience, as it reduces the ego.

Humiliation of the self

Humiliation need not involve another person; it can be a recognition of one's own standing, and can be a way of casting away false pride. Ascetics have used a number of techniques to humiliate themselves, including mortification of the flesh.

Humiliation of others

Humiliation of one person by another is often used as a way of asserting power over others, and is a common form of oppression or abuse. However, it can also be consensual, as part of an agreement with a lover of sexual humiliation. In either of these cases, it may be motivated by sadism. In addition, many punishments are deliberately designed to be humiliating, e.g. tarring and feathering, pillory, mark of infamy (stigma).

Humiliation may include (also in combinations):

  • forced nudity
  • forced cross-dressing
  • rape, other forced sex (including forced masturbation) or forced simulation of sex
  • forced watching of nudity and/or sex
  • being kept on a dog leash
  • being hooded (reason may be the humiliation, but also preventing the victim from seeing and identifying the other person and the location)
  • being ridiculed
  • small penis size humiliation (ridiculing a male's penis size as small and comparison with larger men)
  • forced dressing up in formal clothes

Physical abuse is, in addition to the physical damage, also humiliating, as is intimidation. Rape may, in addition to being humiliating, cause physical damage, including being infected by a sexually-transmitted disease, and also the physical abuse of making an unwilling woman pregnant.

Some of the above are forms of sexual humiliation. However, some people find humiliation by others erotic in certain circumstances: see erotic humiliation. Not all use of humiliation is sexually motivated; it may be seen by some in positions of authority (like parents) as corrective in certain circumstances.

Humiliation in video games

The word "humiliation" is also frequently used in some competitive computer games.

"Humiliation" is also a word spoken when someone obtains a knife kill in the popular online game Counter-Strike, when the server is modded with the AMX-Mod. Since obtaining a knife kill in Counter-Strike requires a lot of skill to pull off, the person killed with the knife is said to be rightfully humiliated, made humble by the more skilled player.

In the Konami wrestling game Rumble Roses, it is possible to preform a "Humiliation" move on your opponent by pressing the L2 button when the opponent's "Humiliation Gauge" is full. The move involves preforming an embarassing act upon your opponent, such as holding her upside down and then prying her legs open, while the audience cheers loudly. Humiliation moves can be used to win matches, and can also be countered.

In addition, in the popular Quake III Arena, when you get a kill with the Gauntlet, a close combat weapon, the game master cries out, "Humiliation", before adding the kill to a person's statistics as a shiny new icon.

Teabagging is adapted from real-life to first-person shooters, in the form of crouching on a killed opponent's face (dipping the balls in the face) in order to humiliate him.

Humiliation in sport

Humiliation in sport can be regarded as defeat by a large margin or poor overall performance, causing complete loss of face or dignity by a person or team. For example, in English Association Football or Soccer, the phrase 'doing a Sunderland' was coined to describe relegation from a higher league to a lower league in spectacular and humiliating fashion. In sports such as paintball, being hit excessivly, thus being covered with paint, is considered humiliating.

See also

he:השפלה נפשית ms:Penghinaan fi:Nöyryyttäminen

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