Education is the key to the progression of society. With the available technology, people can easily access an infinite amount of information and share opinions at the speed of light. The information people choose to expose themselves to can lead to very polarizing opinions and divisive situations. This leads to typical arguments on social media because people are not afraid to express their opinions in extreme manners behind screens thousands of miles apart. Because of this expanse of social media, people attempt to educate each other based on their own opinions and findings which can range from aggressive confrontation or simply informative posts.
What is Cancel Culture?
Cancel culture is a phenomenon created by the nature of the internet and social media. When people share pieces of problematic information they dug up from the depths of the internet, they cause a sort of mass hysteria around the subject. People search for posts, whether it be photos, videos, or simply text, made by another that are offensive and potentially harmful to others. By reposting this, one can bring attention back to a thing of the distant past, causing the original poster to be judged by everyone on the internet. Usually, this results in the original poster to be “canceled,” which is a movement in which someone is defamed by the masses. While the intention of cancel culture, ending the support of influencers that promote hate or ignorance, is not a bad thing on paper, people can become victims of cancel culture due to unfair perspectives provided by the sharing of the extreme opinion to cancel them.
Who Is Affected by Cancel Culture?
Celebrities are the typical easy targets for cancel culture as they have large followings on the internet. People who are out to get some celebrities to dig through years of content to find posts that are often from times when society as a whole was not as educated and aware as it is now, but some celebrities actually do display trends of blatant racism, sexism, and other forms of ignorance. Some cases of cancel culture are taken too far as people refuse to consider the time during which an original post was made which does not allow for people to educate themselves and apologize for their past actions.
An example of cancel culture being too hasty against a celebrity is the recent cancellation of Billie Eilish in which she unwittingly shared a compilation of old videos that contained a clip of her lip-syncing a slur that is used to berate Asian people. This specific clip is years old, and she claims she was not aware that the clip was offensive but has apologized for it. This instance exemplifies how people should be able to respond to their actions and explain the reality before everyone on the internet makes their own conclusions. However, there are still plenty of cases of cancel culture that are far more justified.
Shane Dawson is one of the most prominent examples of how to cancel culture can be justified. Dawson has made every offense under the Sun, ranging from blackface to pedophilic behavior, and he has yet to adequately apologize and grow from these actions. Dawson simply stepped away from the internet seemingly with the intent to let his cancellation pass so that he could return and continue making content for whatever fanbase he has remaining. J. K. Rowling was also recently under fire for transgender erasure in a post that negated the reality of transgender women being valid as women, and she lost a majority of her following as she stood by her ignorance.
Can We Fix Cancel Culture?
The judgment of people is obviously subjective and depends on trends and what catches momentum, but these moments should be used as lessons and opportunities for growth rather than summoning a mob of hatred that ends people’s careers. The main issue with cancel culture is how quick the internet can be to ruin someone’s reputation based on any piece of evidence. There is no perfect way to determine who deserves to be canceled, but without allowing people to recognize their mistakes and grow from them, we cannot move forward as a society. Cancel culture has reasonable intentions, but the execution can be just as bad as the problematic content.