By | Dylan Nguyen & Nina Stofati
Cancel culture has become a natural phenomenon in the media world, with notable figures getting “cancelled” over the past few years including historical figures, influencers, and celebrities. What began as a way for the general public to hold others accountable has steadily turned into a mess of lies, indifference, and intolerance, leading to a predictable pattern of polarization. People have segregated themselves according to political views and it has led to our nation becoming more divided than ever.
The issue of cancel culture permeates deeply into the facets of modern society. From the various millionaires and stars of Hollywood to the drama surrounding social media influencers and their relationships, cancel culture leaches into the fabric of what our generation sees every day. This poses an evident problem: the very purpose of cancel culture is actively changing, with people getting cancelled left and right for entirely different reasons altogether.
As a result, cancel culture is easily used as a weapon against those with differing views, including a prominent example in Soulcycle, the fitness giant which was rocked with negative publicity after it was discovered that a major investor was hosting a Trump fundraiser in the Hamptons. It was certain that the company’s finances were not headed towards that calling, nor did other investors follow suit. If this was a one-off case, why was there tremendous backlash? The issue raises questions as to how this culture tolerates the complicated cobwebs of politics.
Cancel culture has highly impacted, or in other words, manipulated the way most people view topics such as politics. It has gotten to the point where some are incapable of making their own personal judgements on certain issues and instead follow the popular opinion in fear of being belittled by the loud minority. For example, some people are openly against certain politicians and that’s fine; in most democratic nations, citizens are allowed to freely express their political opinions whether they’re left, right or centre.
However, it’s wrong when people abuse those who think differently from them. With all the movements and calls for equality, people have started to segregate themselves from other members of their society because of political opinions or differing views on certain social issues. This is just a recipe for far-left and far-right extremism. But how does society choose who to cancel or boycott? What criteria do they have to fit?
Here’s a perfect example of why cancel culture is extremely biased: our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and his Liberal Party had a number of outrageous scandals well before the Federal Elections in October 2019. They include blackface, numerous violations of the ethics law (SNC-Lavalin and Justin Trudeau accepting a vacation to the Aga Khan’s private island), taking an eight-day trip to India and deciding to wear traditional Indian clothing, which most people would consider cultural appropriation, inviting convicted murderer Jaspal Atwal to his India trip and elbowing a female MP in the breast while in parliament (ironically, Justin Trudeau claims he is a feminist).
Although this nonsense caught the media’s attention, people on social media platforms weren’t outraged by his actions nor did they “cancel” him and many Canadians still voted for him in October 2019. So, once again, why are only a handful of politicians deservedly labelled racist, greedy snobs who care about no one but themselves? Why do others have the privilege of avoiding an explosion of negative hashtags on social media?
Like all things, cancel culture is not bad by definition. It serves as a way for the public to hold those who possess influence in modern society accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, the very nature of this concept has been undermined by the public and those eager for gossip and drama. It is extremely inconsiderate and disrespectful to those views against the status quo and the fundamental human nature prevalent in all of us, which is often prone to mistakes.
Cancel culture is so widespread and so easily accomplished that it has the potential to target more than just politicians and A-list celebrities. If toxic cancel culture remains unchecked, it could target you one day.