Time to cancel ‘cancel culture’…?

By Rosa Carter

So called ‘cancel culture’ is the great plague of my generation. It stems from a deep fear within all of us to perform in a particular manner; it originates from our pure unadulterated desperation to be accepted and more importantly, liked.

It refers to one withdrawing support of or “boycotting” a particular brand, person or organisation for behaviour deemed unacceptable by modern societies standards. The problem with this lies in that society’s standards are relative, and this causes a number of problems.

One: disproportional

Because societies standards are relative, and different communities have different outlooks on how people in the public eye should act, two people who could have done the exact same thing will not be found equally accountable for said behaviour.

For instance, that of Idubbbz and Tana Mongeau; both two youtubers were both “cancelled” for saying the n-word despite its offensive meaning, and while Tana’s career deteriorated throughout the next few years Idubbbz was never held to the same standards, still continuing to get the same amounts of views and going on to gain popularity at the same rates he did before being cancelled.

There are many more instances of the public playing favourites with public figures i.e., Billie Eilish and Danielle Bregoli (both cancelled for doing a “black-cent”, but Danielle’s cancellation is still ongoing meanwhile Billie’s was over within the week).

Two: Career Killer

Cancel culture kills people’s careers; and in some instances, this is good.

But in other instances, killing one’s career can be extremely damaging, such as the recent Johnny Depp/ Amber heard case which actually was the inspiration for me writing this piece.

When Heard first came out with the allegations against Johnny Depp everyone was quick to believe her, which led to Depp being “cancelled” by the public. Disney then removed him from all their franchises, along with other companies dropping him and future job offers being incredibly sparce for him from then on in.

Of course, with the recent court case there are more things being bought to light about Heard’s behaviour towards Depp, but alas the damage is already done, and it will be incredibly difficult for Depp to make a recovery from this.

Three: seekers

There’s a subgroup of people on the internet (who often reside on Twitter) who spend a lot of their time searching for things to “cancel people” for. This most notably happened when JoJo Siwa former dance mom’s contestant and current internet personality, released a music video for her song “nonstop” in 2020 which was met with immediate backlash claiming one of the dancers in the video was wearing blackface.

Siwa addressed these allegations saying: “We’re talking about kids dressing up as circus animals! No one in my video is wearing blackface, […] It’s awful that anyone’s mind would even go there. Kids dressing in animal costumes, having their faces painted to look like animals, acting the part.”

This has happened many times with many celebrities such as Tommyinnit’s homophobia allegations and Elizabeth Olsen being cancelled for not mourning her co-worker’s death fast enough on social media.

To conclude, cancel culture is a plague, and it is spreading. It creates toxic environments for public figures and people who like them. While it has its uses, it can still be extremely harmful.

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