Since the popularization of various social media apps, celebrities we know and love have never been closer in reach. A wave of various justice movements took down the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and even Britney Spear’s Father. In some ways, cancel culture has been a saving grace. We can now take down otherwise untouchable icons. But has it gone too far?
What is Cancel Culture?
Cancel culture, originally coined ‘call-out culture,’ first came to light with the #MeToo movement. The unearthing of Hollywood’s dark underbelly caused many famous actors and filmmakers to be ‘called out.’
By 2015, the act of ‘canceling’ someone had become widespread, especially in the black community of Twitter.
The idea of ‘canceling’ someone was similar to how a show became cut from the air. People became disinterested in their public figures’ poor apologies when it came to racism or general un-‘pc’-ness.
Can Cancel Culture Be A Good Thing?
Many call cancel culture toxic. However, some positive results occur when it comes to calling someone out.
As I mentioned previously, celebrities were often exempt from consequences due to a lack of information. Sometimes, they were simply too far out of the public’s reach to be held accountable. However, the internet has made it so that celebrities are humanized, and therefore face repercussions like any other person.
Things like #MeToo or the Black Lives Matter movement have shown just how powerful and good the internet can be. When people bind together to acknowledge the wrongdoings of one person, they help to keep the balance of power in check.
A famous person is only as adored as their audience allows it, after all.
Where Cancel Culture Has Gone Too Far
While it is certainly important to hold people accountable, the users of the internet can take it too far. People can be swept up in mob mentality, and jump on the bandwagon before they have all the information.
People have been canceled for things they had said years in the past. Figures like Chris Pratt have been declared ‘over’ because of the church they attend. But more harmful than this is the normal people who have suffered a public backlash.
Social media makes it easy for a multitude of people to become ‘relevant.’ Where this can go wrong though is when a teenager, just having fun on Instagram, is held to the same standards as a forty-year-old adult. Stupid mistakes that many of us have made in the past become intensely scrutinized.
Having every decision one makes be a public affair can lead to extreme bullying and harassment. Holding people accountable is important. However, it should really only affect those who make continuous errors in judgment.
What The Influencing Community Can Do
It is easier to jump on the bandwagon in order to save face. However, it is the duty of all influencers to defend their ‘co-workers’ when the cancel culture has gone too far.
It is important to remind the audience that their idols are human that makes mistakes. A person needs to be allowed to learn from the past and grow from it.
More importantly, it is time to do away with the idea of ‘cancel’ culture and focus primarily on the idea of ‘consequence’ culture.
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