So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

by

Jon Ronson

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Mercedes Haefer Character Analysis

Mercedes Haefer is an internet user and “4chan denizen” who spoke with Jon Ronson about the public shamings of Adria Richards and a man known as “Hank.” When Hank and a friend made some lewd comments at a tech conference, Richards took to the internet to post pictures of them and shame them. Hank was publicly shamed on the internet and eventually lost his job—and when he did, men’s rights activists on platforms like 4chan in turn shamed Richards, calling for her to be raped and murdered. Ronson talked with Mercedes at length about the uniquely misogynistic tenor of many public shamings, and Mercedes speculated that in order to shame men, the internet tends to go after the things that degrade masculinity (i.e. calling for a man to lose his job or livelihood). But when the internet wants to shame women, they call for the things that degrade femininity—for example, for a woman to be raped. Haefer’s blasé approach to the internet’s desire for shame and violent speech surprised Ronson, but Haefer suggested that the remote nature of the internet led many users (especially on platforms like 4chan) to see one-upping one another’s egregious language and bad behavior as a kind of game.
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Mercedes Haefer Character Timeline in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

The timeline below shows where the character Mercedes Haefer appears in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: Doing Something Good
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Shame and Social Media Theme Icon
Shame, Freedom of Speech, and Public Discourse Theme Icon
Shame and Gender Theme Icon
...if anyone involved in her destruction would speak with him. A 21-year-old woman named Mercedes Haefer reached out to him. Mercedes was currently was being sued for her involvement in taking... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Shame and Social Media Theme Icon
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
Shame, Freedom of Speech, and Public Discourse Theme Icon
On the internet, Haefer told Ronson, the powerless become powerful. But recent crackdowns on spaces like 4chan had begun... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Shame and Social Media Theme Icon
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
Shame, Freedom of Speech, and Public Discourse Theme Icon
Haefer thought that because public spaces in New York and other parts of the country were... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Inhumanity Theme Icon
Shame and Social Media Theme Icon
Cycles of Shame, Trauma, and Violence Theme Icon
Shame, Freedom of Speech, and Public Discourse Theme Icon
Shame and Gender Theme Icon
Ronson asked Haefer why online shamings were so often misogynistic and violent. Mercedes claimed that places like 4chan... (full context)
Afterword
Shame and Social Media Theme Icon
Shame and Gender Theme Icon
Ronson looked back on his discussion in 2014 with Mercedes Haefer from 4chan, and he found it affecting. When he wrote about that conversation in an... (full context)