Here are my thoughts about cancel culture – an act whereby people are openly called out online for something they have said or done.
For starters, what is cancel culture?
“Cancel culture refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming.” (taken from dictionary.com)
“The act of canceling, also referred to as cancel culture (a variant on the term “callout culture”) describes a form of boycott in which an individual (usually a celebrity) who has shared a questionable or controversial opinion, or has had behaviour in their past that is perceived to be offensive recorded on social media, is “canceled”; they are ostracised and shunned by former friends, followers and supporters alike, leading to declines in any careers and fanbase the individual may have at any given time.” (taken from wikipedia.com)
On a basic level, I kinda agree with it. Because how else are people expected to be held accountable for their actions?! It always bugs me to no end when people are shady AF and get away with it over and over.
However, cancelling people publicly and not giving them an opportunity to fix their mistakes doesn’t seem right; and it’s often done with no regard for fact checking.
People are essentially guilty unless proven otherwise.
It’s as if someone has a cut on their arm … instead of fixing the cut, they expect the whole arm to be cut off.
I definitely think there’s a place for calling someone (whether it’s a person or a business) out publicly; but I believe it should happen for two reasons.
- the problem can’t be solved privately
- it’s a massive issue that needs to be brought to the public’s attention
Cancel culture isn’t always as simple as “getting them cancelled” either – there’s so much more to it than that.
Whenever there’s a big hate mob going for someone, there’s always the horrible parts that come along with it – death threats, doxing, calling the police, calling child protective services, etc etc.
It becomes so much more than “cancelling” them, and as I said above, often it’s done without any regard for giving the person an opportunity to fix the mistake.
Humans are constantly changing and evolving. We always slip up and make mistakes – that’s how we learn.
I am terrified of being cancelled publicly. I’ve seen what happens, and it’s scary. However, if I was doing something problematic, I’d hope someone called me out on it. Preferably privately though.
I truly believe some things need to be brought to the public’s attention, but a lot (not all though) of the things I’ve seen online where people are “called out” are unnecessary, and in my opinion “nit picking” just because someone doesn’t like someone else; or because someone doesn’t like what someone else is doing – it’s done under the guise of “doing what’s best for everyone”.
When it comes to past actions – sure bring it up, but remember – we are not the same person we were last year. Or the year before. Or 10 years ago. Bringing something up is fine as long as there is room to understand that people change. And we aren’t the same ALL the time.
Again, some of the things I’ve seen people called out for ARE necessary, and DO need to be talked about. It’s just sometimes the line is blurred and it gets taken too far. I believe it’s not as simple as “let’s call someone out and it will fix it”.
Let’s take a step back from cancel culture and start focusing on accountability.
Normalising consequences for wrong doers is a must, but we do it because it’s the right thing to do. Not because it’s a spectator sport – and cancel culture feels just like that.