What is cancel culture? And how did it gain so much power and influence? Well, first of all this culture refers to the act of the public with drawing support from public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture is usually discussed on social media in the form of group shaming. Which on paper sounds good, yes let’s punish the ones who made mistakes. But while it started with strong movements like the #metoo movement, or calling out the abuse in households and families. But sadly, most of the time it’s just group bullying.
The face of cancel culture
The idea that started this movement was seeking justice. The public wanted those who did something wrong to be punished right now. Waiting for a proof isn’t even necessary, everybody is guilty until proven otherwise.
The truth is that the general public’s opinions are a liable source. If in 2020 somethings are considered socially ok while others are frowned upon. The same things could switch in the next 10 years and become completely unacceptable. So, to use this culture as a tool to destroy someone by digging into their past is fundamentally wrong. The fact that those masses of online warriors are so quick to cancel somebody over a tweet or something that they did or said years ago, it is truly scary. And it tells a lot about the people that are doing the “cancelling”.
To say that this person is bad today because of something that they did years ago, it is just ignorant. It lacks a certain level of self-examination. Going all out in cancelling a celebrity after digging up tweets or audios from years ago, and hating them so much to the point that you want to destroy their life and carrier. It means that you probably are perfect, never made a single mistake, used a slur or said something offensive. Apart from the fact that it is unrealistic it is highly improbable. As I’ve mentioned before the trendy offensive things change, over time. Everybody loves cancel culture until they are the ones that are being cancelled.
The effect that cancel culture really has
Of course, we are not talking about cancelling the people like R Kelly. But the ones that get one little thing dug up on them and the whole world explodes. The same public that in their day-to-day life would chant that everybody deserves a second chance and that people can change for the better. Are the same ones that would drag a public figures name through the dirt at the first mistake. The idolization of the influencers and celebrities are the factor that builds up this anger.
When seeing a celebrity in a god-like light you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Because the reality is that everybody makes mistakes and when being under the microscope of fame it is bound for some mistakes to see the light. While normal people wouldn’t be treated the same if they made the same mistake. As a society we believe that celebrities don’t have the right to humanity or privacy. Just because they dedicated their life for our entertainment, doesn’t mean we own them.
We do not have the right to destroy their life and drive them to suicide because we hate what they did so much. These cancel culture people get so into it that they forget basic human decency. They forget that behind that screen is a living breathing human just like them. And I guarantee that most if not all of them, couldn’t bare half of the heat they put others through.
The James Charles phenomenon
I think that the best example of what cancel culture became is James Charles. On May 11th 2019, James Charles was the main target for the cancel-community. After some rumors circulating about him, the public went crazy! He was losing followers getting dragged and cancelled left and right, on twitter, YouTube and every other platform. Everybody was convinced that he was a predator and they were ready to destroy him. Well, until a year later when Tati Westbrook revealed the actual truth. After that the same ones that were jumping to Charles’s neck, were now defending him.
It has been also revealed that the hate that James Charles received made him suicidal. While the attackers turned and were now a shoulder for James to cry on. This doesn’t deny the danger of this toxic culture. We love promoting empathy and mental health awareness but we don’t think about the effect that our actions have. Even through the internet words can still cut deeper than any knife. The right words can creep their way in a person’s mind and wake up some demons. You don’t know what’s going to push someone over the edge.
So, when the next influencer or celebrity gets involved into a scandal, think about what you are sending into the universe. And remember that we receive back the same energy we give.