By Veronika Sinou,
One of the most recently introduced terms is cancel culture and its ongoing declaration of famous people and companies. Cancel culture consists the phenomenon of “canceling” celebrities, brands, shows and movies due to what society currently considers problematic and offensive in the form of both remarks and ideologies.
According to cancel culture, people who have mistreated co-workers or made racist-homophobic and sexist comments in the past are being thrown out of the public eye. Although many may consider this tendency as refreshing and a great commencement in order to get past certain defective behaviors, unfortunately that is not the case.
In the opinion of Dr.Jill McCorkel, a sociology professor, cancel culture exists since the nascence of the first societies. She insists that even in the past societies have been punishing people for behaving outside of the perceived social norms and right know we are witnessing another variation centered around the same mindset.
The main problem with cancel culture is its “punish and banish” form, making it clear that we are talking about another revenge mechanism. The main focus of this culture is the continuation of the defective mindset that when mistakes are made, the public does not forgive and forget.
Over the last few years, the social media trend has gained momentum under its ability of placing celebrities and companies under the microscope of political correctness. The after effect is that under the veil of “cancel culture” -where some may not actually deserve to be “cancelled” – it is implied that we cannot accept the change. The truth is that we have weaponized cancel culture against others, quite frequently for our own advantage.
Notably, the former United States president Barack Obama, during an interview, explained how the internet has repeatedly tried to “harm” his image with false accusations. The outcome of the conversation was that another reason cancel culture has been weaponized is to fulfil the public’s need of superiority. Eventually, it all comes down to our need of power.
“…But I get a sense among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media, there is this sense sometimes of the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people. And that’s enough. Like if I tweet something about how you didn’t do something right, then I can seat back and feel good about myself. Because see how woke I was? I called you out. The world is messy, people who do really good stuff have flaws…“, Barack Obama, Interview at The Guardian magazine.
Cancel culture in its most extreme form often forgets that we judge an entire person based on one moment in time and out of context without acknowledging that individuals’ background, exposure, upbringing and growth. If cancel culture’s goal is to make people more aware of their harmful behaviors, it is succeeding. But if its ultimate goal is for those harmful behaviors to be adjusted, then its miserably failing.
- The Guardian, Barack Obama takes on “woke” call -out culture: That’s not activism. Available here.
- New York Post, What is cancel culture? Available here.