#*insert person/company name*isoverparty OR #*insert person/company name*iscanceled
How often do you see such hashtags trending on social media platforms, and especially on Twitter? Lately, it always seems like some celebrity, political leader, company, or even an ordinary person is being canceled for one reason or another. So today, let’s talk about this trend of canceling people and institutions, and whether cancel culture is good or bad for society. But before we go on, what is the meaning of cancel culture?
Cancel culture is defined as the practice of calling out, shaming, or boycotting a particular person or company’s services and products because they are believed to have done or said something wrong or controversial. Canceling can be done either online or in person, and it often results in a ruined career or reputation. Its mixed effects have resulted in many people asking, ‘is cancel culture good or bad for society?’
When it comes to cancellations, no one is safe! However, even though it could happen to anyone, the most common targets of cancel culture are celebrities, probably because their personal and professional lives are exposed for us to see and judge. Examples of celebrities who have experienced the wrath of cancel culture recently, include J.K Rowling, Amber Heard, Ellen DeGeneres, James Charles, Doja Cat, DaBaby, Chrissy Teigen, Armie Hammer, Shane Dawson, and David Dobrik, just to name a few.
In recent years, the list of things you can be canceled for is becoming so long that you might get confused about what is wrong and what is acceptable to society. Some examples of things people get canceled for include, offensive tweets, racist, homophobic or sexist remarks, political views, and bad behavior or criminal activities such as sexual assault and domestic abuse, among many others.
But is shaming and canceling people really the best way to deal with them when they make mistakes or do something you think is offensive? Is cancel culture good or bad for society?
In today’s post, we shall discuss the positive and negative sides of the cancel culture. Read on to find out if canceling celebrities, political leaders, and brands for their wrongdoings is good or bad for society.
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Why Cancel Culture Is Good for Society
- Cancel culture and change
Contrary to what most people think, cancel culture is not a new thing. It has been happening for many years in different forms and has been a driving force for change for a long time. The cancel culture is only more popular today because of the increased use of social media platforms, making it easier for anyone to know and participate in this practice.
But is cancel culture good or bad for society? Is calling wrongdoers out the best way to hold them accountable for their actions and make them change their behavior? Does cancel culture work?
Cancel culture can be good because calling people out for their actions gives them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and change for the better. For example, most canceled individuals usually apologize or take positive steps to correct their wrongs.
Cancel culture also deters others from repeating the same mistakes because they fear the consequences of getting canceled. So, despite it appearing to be too drastic, cancel culture is good as it can be effective in bringing about social change!
- Cancel culture and accountability
It might seem harsh, but cancellation does ensure people are held accountable for their actions, which makes the cancel culture a good thing. Though it is still unclear just how genuine the videos and note app apologies that canceled people usually post when trying to un-cancel themselves are, they are still something.
Considering that, most of the time, what people get canceled for happened in the past, the apologies are probably genuine because these people could have changed since then. But who knows for sure?
Since we cannot tell with 100% certainty whether the apologies are sincere, we can only take them at face value. We have to believe that these celebrities and companies are taking responsibility for their actions and are willing to change their behavior.
However, sometimes, it is not enough to just own up for your past actions or be willing to change, you have to be ready for the consequences of getting canceled. Cancel culture can help victims of social injustices and criminal behavior get justice for what happened to them.
- Cancel culture and awareness
I must admit that I never considered some of the things people get canceled for wrong until I learned more about them. If I were a celebrity, I probably would have already been canceled because of something. So, in a way, cancel culture is good because it creates awareness on some issues that many people may not have known were bad.
Additionally, what is acceptable by society changes over time, and some of the things people get canceled for today were probably acceptable in past years. Cancel culture is a great way to keep up with these changes. However, these changing values are often disregarded when people cancel celebrities and companies for their past actions, for instance, tweets and actions from more than 5 years ago when their actions or words were likely acceptable.
Canceling celebrities and businesses for their misdeeds is also an excellent way to make their fans, employers, or customers aware of what they did. They can then make informed decisions on how to deal with the canceled person or company going forward. Without being canceled, those loyal to them might not have known about what they had done and would have continued to support them blindly.
- Cancel culture and fame
Getting canceled can be a good thing for you! As much as we might not acknowledge it, canceling people and companies does make them more famous by making more people aware of their existence. And…bad publicity is still publicity.
Even though people are supposed to boycott your products and services when you get canceled, humans are still curious creatures and you might become more famous after cancellation as people try to learn more about you.
Some positive effects of cancel culture you might experience if you are lucky are that there might be an increase in Google searches, more new followers, a surge in the number of views on YouTube, or an increased demand for your services and products.
For this reason, some people do controversial things intentionally to get themselves canceled, hoping they will become famous or get more buzz about one of their projects. For instance, a musician might do something that could get them canceled when they are about to release an album or song. The buzz about the cancellation will then make more people aware of them, and their songs might get more views and listeners as people try to know more about them or as loyal fans try to defend and support the canceled person.
However, one has to be cautious while using cancel culture to gain fame because it might also backfire on you, and it is also not a sustainable way to get customers or fans.
Why Cancel Culture Is Bad for Society
- Cancel culture and growth
Is it okay to cancel people over things they did in the distant past? Whenever you see a particular celebrity trending under the cancel culture hashtags #isoverparty or #canceled, it is not always concerning things they did recently.
Sometimes celebrities, brands, and other ordinary people are canceled even for what they did many years ago, like more than 5 years ago. This type of canceling disregards any behavior change or growth these people might have experienced in the years since then, and this is what makes cancel culture bad for society.
Like anyone else, celebrities are only human, and they make mistakes. Canceling people for making mistakes and not giving them a chance to apologize or learn from them is wrong. Unless their past actions were criminal in nature, they should not be used to judge or cancel who they are currently.
People evolve with time, and these celebrities probably don’t have the same values and beliefs they had back then. Not to mention that many people do stupid things when they are young, and the person they were back then is likely not who they are now.
Shaming and canceling people for mistakes they made in the past not only disregards their growth right now but also may hinder their future growth. When considering canceling people or institutions, we should allow them to explain themselves or apologize because we don’t always know the full story. By canceling them without giving them a chance for redemption, we deny people the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and change.
- Cancel culture and authenticity
Nowadays, many people and institutions are trying to do and say what is right in order to avoid getting canceled. In the process of trying to be unproblematic, most might lose their authenticity and uniqueness. Instead, they focus on avoiding cancellation by worrying about what others think of them and being politically correct.
Due to the fear of cancel culture, people will try to talk and behave in a way that is acceptable to society, and thus they become just like everyone else and seem unproblematic.
We might be happy that a celebrity or company is unproblematic, but are they showing us their true selves or just putting on a front to avoid becoming cancel culture victims?
Unfortunately, being inauthentic could also increase the chances of getting canceled as people might see through the act or you could be caught and discovered as a fraud.
- Cancel culture and free speech
Another reason why cancel culture is bad for society is that it threatens the right to freedom of speech and forces people to censor themselves. People are too concerned with being politically correct that they might do and say things they don’t believe in, or worse, stay silent on important matters because they don’t want to be misinterpreted. They will refrain from talking about things that might be considered controversial or be hesitant to share differing opinions to avoid getting canceled.
A good example of a place where this negative effect of cancel culture can be seen is the book publishing industry. Authors have begun self-censoring their work to avoid getting canceled and having their books pulled down or banned from being sold in stores such as Amazon for being controversial.
Unfortunately, staying silent could also get you canceled or called out. Even though it was for a good cause, this happened to some celebrities who didn’t speak up or post anything in support of black people during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.
People should have the freedom to choose what issues they want to speak up about or stay silent on without fearing that they will be called out or canceled for doing either. The threat to free speech further reinforces why cancel culture is not good for society.
- Cancel culture and malicious motives
Not all instances of cancellations and public shaming are done to hold people and institutions accountable for their actions or inspire social change. Some people have malicious motives for getting someone or something canceled, and this is why cancel culture is bad for society.
For instance, they might get them canceled for petty reasons like jealousy, envy, or simply because they don’t like them or have a personal grudge against them. At other times the reasons for canceling others could be to eliminate the competition by making them lose their following, their credibility, and to get people to boycott their services or products. Doing this ends up ruining the reputation, career, or business of the canceled individual.
These malicious motives for cancellations explain why there have been many innocent victims of cancel culture and why many people think it is bad for society. By the time the truth comes out (if it does), the damage has already been done, and recovering from the consequences of getting canceled might be difficult.
Canceling people just because you don’t like them or have other malicious reasons for doing so is bad. It makes you no different from a bully, and this is why many people think cancel culture needs to be cancelled because it has gone too far nowadays.
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- Cancel culture and mental health
Cancel culture is toxic to the mental health of those involved. No one likes to be shamed or called out publicly, and though they are always in the public eye, celebrities are not an exemption.
Some celebrities who have been the targets of cancel culture confess that they suffered from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and stress after getting canceled. This could be a result of getting canceled or from the consequences such as the loss of a job, social isolation, loneliness, being ostracized, harassment and cyberbullying.
The negative effects of cancel culture on mental health are not only experienced by the targets but also the onlookers and the society as a whole. People might feel anxious and live with the fear that they could be the next victims of cancel culture…What if someone digs into your past? What will they find?
Is cancel culture good or bad for society? Yes. Cancel culture is a double-edged sword with both positive and negative sides. On the one hand, canceling people and calling them out for their wrongdoings can be instrumental in bringing change and fostering accountability. It also makes people self-aware, conscious, and cautious about their actions. Additionally, cancel culture is a good way for people to stand up for social justice.
However, even with these benefits, cancel culture can be toxic, and many people fear the consequences of getting canceled.
As you can see, cancel culture is not all good or bad. So, before joining a cancellation campaign for someone, pause and think about the ramifications of your actions and what you hope to achieve by canceling someone or do more research on the accusations. It is probably about time we cancel the cancel culture!
Read more articles from Aisles of Life here.