Being canceled is one of the biggest fears many well-known figures fear, and while most of us probably already know what being canceled means it’s fair to give a quick refresher. When people are canceled it means their supporters withdraw their support and this typically happens after a controversy breaks out. This can have very negative effects since most of these figures’ livelihoods/careers depend on the support of their followers. In recent years, this practice has become more and more common and it’s shown to have a big effect on many. But the question is where it’s actually effective or not? Well-known figures have been canceled over controversial statements, videos, and posts they’ve made in the past and present. Obviously, sides are always taken, there are supporters that are more forgiving and there are those that demand things be made right. These situations can be just the news of the week (since typically there’s a new controversy weekly) but some escalate and not be forgotten for a long time.
The issue many have with cancel culture is that they feel this trend infringes with freedom of speech. But is it an infringement of speech when you’re just calling out someone for using hate speech? Most would agree that it isn’t. The reality is that we live in a world where many are trying to heal and grow from the hate that our parents and grandparents probably dealt with. And we don’t only call out hate speech- we call out anything that holds us growing as a society. High-profile figures are seen as an example in our society and it’s only fair that they use the platform that we allow them to have for the betterment of our communities and not to spread ignorance. The list of celebrities and influencers that have been canceled is never-ending, and some might feel that the judgment comes down a little too hard on them but the reality is that we demand more because we deserve more.
The question of whether we should forgive those we cancel is also very important. Most figures that face backlash during a controversy end up issuing apologies, and while some appreciate the effort, there are others that call BS. There is a point to be made at that time: how can we grow if we don’t forgive? We need to remember we’re all just human and although some things that have been said or done by prominent figures are hurtful we shouldn’t always be quick to demonize and dismiss them. We should use that as a learning opportunity to educate others. Making someone feel shame isn’t a way to teach them a lesson if anything that just spreads more negativity that we don’t need.
So is cancel culture effective? The answer is yes and no. We live in a world where we all want to be heard and there are those with louder voices than others. We can’t police everything everyone ever says, it’s impossible, and let’s be real every person that’s ever been canceled hasn’t said horrendous hateful things. We can’t expect to have progressed in society if we don’t let people voice their opinions. Is it ok to let everything slide? Absolutely not. If someone is spreading hate, misinformation, or just saying thoughtless things of course they should be called out. Cancel culture is a double-edged sword that can easily be either super harmful or a very necessary learning experience.