What is Cancel Culture?
Cancel Culture is when a large group of people come together to call for a person or a brand or even TV shows and movies to be “cancelled”, after they’ve done something that is believed to be offensive and/or problematic.
And it doesn’t just mean to only call them out on Twitter, but to actually stop supporting them entirely. This could mean boycotting an actor’s movies or not buying anything related to that person. Pretty much just erasing them from your life in every way possible.
Why do people get cancelled?
People can be “cancelled” for multiple reasons, but it’s usually because they’ve expressed an opinion that’s highly controversial, or they’ve acted a certain way that’s beyond redemption.
Again, it’s important to mention that cancelling someone can be to call out an injustice or something that a person shouldn’t get away with without at least taking some accountability – where in those instances it’s a use for good.
Why is Cancel Culture toxic?
While it does a good job of calling attention to seriously problematic behaviour and people, Cancel Culture can be quite toxic in the sense where it leads to people attacking or being attacked for no reason. Or at least a reason enough to justify having the entire world literally turn on them and have them flooded with hate.
One of the problems with Cancel Culture is the “mob mentality” where it’s literally thousands of people coming together to target one person – which can be seriously distressing. I mean picture it: What feels like the entire world completely turning against you and being completely trolled and picked apart online – it’s terrifying.
And not only that, but it encourages that “I’m right, you’re wrong” mentality where there’s absolutely no room for actual progressive discussions, or an opportunity to learn from one another and gain new perspectives.
It teaches people that if someone does something wrong, or they’re associated with someone or something that people don’t like or agree with, then they need to be completely cut off from society. That’s it, they’re cancelled, they’re finished, and they get a #IsOverParty attached to their name to prove it.
What's an example of Cancel Culture?
Remember when back in 2016 everyone hated Taylor Swift because Kim Kardashian posted an edited phone call about that whole feud with her and Kanye? Remember how everyone actually stood with Kanye and Kim and absolutely hated Taylor without properly understanding the whole story?
Or how #TaylorSwiftIsASnake was literally trending, along with #TaylorSwiftIsCancelled?
Yeah that's Cancel Culture.
So bad was Taylor's experience that even years after it happened, Taylor told Vogue magazine that some of the messages she received could have been interpreted as telling her to kill herself.
"I don't think there are that many people who can actually understand what it's like to have millions of people hate you very loudly," she said.
Luckily, she made a comeback, and even made her own feelings about "Cancel Culture" pretty clear in her song "You Need to Calm Down", which she also told Vogue that it was partly about "trolls and cancel culture".
What can we do instead?
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s the way of life – a rite of passage if you will. But the thing about making mistakes is that you learn from them. Sometimes the only way to actually understand something, is to go through it. It leads to experience which then leads to growth, and that's often what makes you more aware of yourself and others.
So instead of cancelling someone immediately for making a mistake, maybe give them a chance to acknowledge what they’ve done and see if they take full accountability and make actual changes in their life to do better.
Also make a point of taking in all the factors into account, like their age, as sometimes people do grow from their past and they're not the same person anymore.