human rights images

Public Humiliation as Punishment, A Collection of Images

All forms of criminal punishment are in some sense public humiliation of the criminal, but some forms are more so. The pillory is the archetypical tool:

Punishment of the Cangue

Punishment of the Cangue. A cangue is a device that was used for public humiliation and corporal punishment in China and some other parts of East Asia and Southeast Asia, until the early years of the twentieth century. It was similar to the pillory used for punishment in the West, except that the board of the cangue was not fixed to a base, and had to be carried around by the prisoner.

Two prisoners in pillory and another tied to whipping post below and man with whip in prison in Delaware, 1907

Two prisoners in pillory and another tied to whipping post below and man with whip in prison in Delaware, 1907

These appear to be "witches"

These appear to be “witches”, but I couldn’t find any other information about this image

A variation of the pillory:

Punishment for Foul-Mouthedness

Punishment for Foul-Mouthedness

Remnants of the practice still exist today. US judges in particular sometimes administer “alternative” punishments:

public humiliation walmart

This is essentially the same as the pillory: you have shaming and immobilization, albeit immobilization without restraints. Given prison conditions in the US, one can almost understand this type of punishment.

There are/were other forms besides the pillory. The “scold’s bridle” was a punishment designed to humiliate as well as to hurt. It took many different appearances but in essence it was always a metal cage clamped around the head with a built-in gag. Sometimes it included a bell which rang when the “scold” was paraded around the town. A scold was defined as a “troublesome and angry woman who by brawling and wrangling amongst her neighbors breaks the public peace, increases discord and becomes a public nuisance to the neighborhood”. It’s unclear why women were singled out, but the practice was most likely part of a pervasive culture of gender discrimination. It looked like this:

scolds bridle

scolds bridle

Speaking of bells, there’s also this image (I don’t know if it is an authentic interpretation of history):

forced labor

forced labor

Public flogging is another type of punishment as humiliation. It’s also still practiced today in some parts of the world. This is a whipping post in Delaware used to discipline African slaves:

African Slaves Whipping Post Delawar

The supposed justification of all forms of punishment by way of public humiliation is the need to “send a message” and express the norms of society. Humiliation is also believed to be a strong deterrent.

I haven’t mentioned public executions which have more or less the same purpose. Read about those elsewhere.

However, let’s finish on a lighter touch. Here the amazing Frank Zappa with “Whippin’ Post”:


2 thoughts on “Public Humiliation as Punishment, A Collection of Images

  1. Pingback: Reasons Why You Are Still Single | seducewomenblog

  2. Pingback: Human Rights Promotion (20): Exposing Criminals | P.a.p.-Blog // Human Rights Etc.

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