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Mary Rose Somarriba, Culture Editor at Verily Magazine, talking about the celebrity photo-hack scandal, comments on the pressure to "own it" when something embarrassing happens:

Lawrence might have laughed off flubs like tripping up the stairs at the Academy Awards in the past, but laughing it off when people disseminate naked photos of you against your will is quite another thing. To “own it” really means to buckle under social pressure and desperately seek the feeling of being in control. It’s an understandable temptation since it feels horrible to not be in control, but faking it doesn’t help. I’ve known more than one woman who has attempted to “own it” after receiving an unwanted sexual advance from a man, and it’s heart-breaking.

Attempts at "owning it" when something bad has happened — either because of something you did, or because of something done to you, could instead be an opportunity for honesty and depth. You can do as Justine Musk suggests and call the offender out for being an asshole. Instead, there are some strains in our culture that pressure others into a  attempt to "save face" by shifting into pretend mode — suppressing the pain, anger, or embarrassment they feel inside. I'm perplexed by this phenomenon which seems so pervasive in America (and perhaps is less so in European or Asian cultures — where concepts of shame and dignity seem more consequential). There's something about this which is fundamentally demeaning and dishonest about the person trying to do the owning — and it's obvious to everyone it seems, except the person at the center of it all. Why do we allow peer pressure to trick us into thinking that "owning it," is the preferable strategy? Isn't it better to be honest and get angry (when something is done to you) or to to honestly admit when you've done something wrong, and apologize (when you've done something wrong)? What are the benefits to "owning it" — when you could just….. be honest?