Why “Cancel Culture” Can Be Problematic

  • August 28, 2020

The “cancelling” of celebrities and influencers happens on social media quite frequently.

As social media becomes more widespread and accessible, especially among young people, there is a surge of popular internet creators gaining popularity. On apps such as Tiktok, Instagram, and Youtube, creators can communicate with their fanbase on a regular basis.

Due to these influencers being immensely visible to the public eye, a lot of them are subjected to intense scrutiny by many people all over the world for any past actions or words that came from their social media. 

Let’s say an online creator made an offensive tweet a couple years before they became famous. Someone might screenshot that offensive tweet and spread it online in an effort to “expose” them for their wrongdoings.

One example of this would be the criticism of beauty influencer Jeffree Star for claiming his brand is “cruelty free,” but then wearing an expensive coat made from the fur of gassed minks. A twitter account dedicated to “exposing” celebrities publicly bashed the influencer for buying such an item and contradicting his previous statements. 

At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a bad thing. Online creators should be held responsible for their actions no matter who they are, right? However, while Star’s “cancellation” seems to be justified to an extent, there are some creators who may have been wrongfully shunned for making the smallest of mistakes.

For example, singer Conan Gray was temporarily “cancelled” by twitter after someone pointed out that he used slightly darker skin-toned emojis in a tweet of his. Of course, Gray most likely meant no harm or had any malicious intent with this error, yet he was still harassed. 

The problem with this phenomenon is that a lot of creators, as soon as they make any sort of mistake (no matter how large), are shunned by large communities and thus “cancelled” by the internet indefinitely. Even if they have made a sincere apology and been forgiven by some people, they will still be treated by the internet as outcasts and taboo subjects. 

Of course, if a creator has said or done something extremely offensive and failed to give a valid apology or acknowledge the situation, perhaps this sort of shunning is necessary. But I think either way the internet would struggle to accept them back into the community.

And that’s the issue. 

Online creators can be endlessly bullied, ridiculed, and ignored for even daring to make one mistake. Being in the public eye could never be an easy thing, and I’m sure if we were all famous at least one person would have a problem with something we’ve said. 

The reason why this cycle is so negatively impacting internet communities is because continuously shaming and ignoring someone even after they’ve apologized and recognized their past mistakes fixes absolutely nothing. This mindset only further discourages influencers from being able to grow and learn from their errors. 

I think we all need to learn how to be more forgiving and see things from other perspectives if we want to properly educate someone on their past mistakes. After all, if you accidentally said something that came out wrong, you’d want someone to respectfully inform you of how what you said was not okay. Humans are always changing, always evolving into new people with new opinions. It’s important to normalize admitting your errors and using them to be more respectful to others. This would help you learn to be a better person- and who wouldn’t want that?

If we as a generation continue to harbor the toxic mindset that we cannot grow and be better from our past, the internet will be a miserable place for many people. And that’s not what anyone wants. 

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