Is Cancel Culture Good for Society?

A sign about cancel culture

Public domain vectors

A sign about cancel culture

Bombarding social media platforms, and stampeding through the digital world, this modern form of ostracism has ended careers and ruined lives. Whether this phenomenon is detrimental or beneficial to society is a hot debate in both ways, people are firm in their opinions. Cancel culture, to the extent that it has become, is bad for society. 

Cancel culture refers to a mass cancellation or withdrawal from a public figure in a way that expresses disapproval and creates social pressure. This movement occurs on social media platforms, usually Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. It’s a removal of support from influencers, typically spurred by an action or opinion they created. Those displeased feel the need to amplify the offense across platforms, jeopardizing these figures’ public appearances and careers. The dictionary definition of cancel culture is one that (as a spectator of multiple cancel campaigns) I find inaccurate. Cancel culture has gone unreasonably beyond just ceasing to support influencers but downright attacking them. Harmless remarks incite hostile diatribes, death threats, people wishing ill on the influencer’s family, friends, and comments crossing the line. In Rebecca Black’s case, the backlash on her song “Friday” resulted in torment for months, to the extent of her considering suicide. A 13-year-old girl found herself against the internet, but this could have been anyone against social media.

Citizens of the internet often feel the need to forge influencers and celebrities into the mold of what is socially acceptable and politically correct. Yes, individuals with an audience of impressionable followers are responsible for good influence, but the restrictions on what you can and can’t do or what you can and can’t say on the internet has become humorously confining. Nowadays, jokes can’t be said without needing a follow-up apology.

A pattern I’ve observed throughout these cancel campaigns is that cancellers seek out mistakes influencers have made just for the sake of ruining their career, in some cases as far as a decade ago. They’re not supporters, but the opposite, looking for anything that might make a public figure’s following decrease. This is cancel culture in its revolting form, a true and sad representation of the growing hate in our world today. 

Undoubtedly, cancel culture has brought justice to many people, and rightfully removed platforms from morally wrong people. Canceling, in its original definition, as in mass withdrawal of support from a public figure, is a concept I support in cases where some do not deserve the platform they have. But what cancel culture has become today is unreasonable and should not be tolerated if we want our society to last any longer.