It’s not uncommon to open social media these days and delve into the lives of others, especially those who are famous or relevant in one way or another. I mean, what’s the harm? It’s fun keeping up with what they do everyday and feeling closer to those who seem so out of reach. Celebrities have always been put on a pedestal: an unattainable, perfect image that we forget are created by highly influential companies and mass media, and all we seem to see is a persona flawlessly constructed and presented. But that’s where the problem with mainstream culture lies.
Through the presence of social media, it is easy to see a constant stream of celebrities’ money, fame, and ideal life and even easier to be distanced from the reality that they are just normal people with an abnormal profession. It then becomes habitual to not only witness their success, but to also envy it and compare us to them and their lives. Thus, it comes to no surprise that such a high standard is created and celebrities are intensely scrutinized by us and the media. Anytime they slip-up, the world is turned against them and they are “cancelled”.
Cancel culture is the “modern form of ostracism” where people are brought down both professionally and socially over something they have done or said. Don’t misunderstand me – there are times when those who are famous commit deeds or say comments that are ethically and/or legally wrong, and those are the times I believe it is appropriate to not participate in watching their projects or supporting them (without verbally abusing them on social media). However, what I don’t understand or agree with is the microscope people are put under and when the smallest things end in influencers’ entire careers being cancelled. When put on such a high pedestal, we tend to forget that they are normal people like you and me who make mistakes. We should not expect them to be perfect just because they are famous, and when they do slip-up, I think it is more helpful to make sure they understand what they did was wrong rather than destroying them and not forgiving them. I truly believe that anyone can change for the better, and if people were really concerned about the issue that happened/was brought up, they would be more focused on helping others learn from their mistakes and grow rather than annihilating one’s social presence just for the public humiliation. Doing that doesn’t improve the issue or educate others, it just promotes a toxic environment for everyone.
In addition, the whole idea of cancelling someone is extremely destructive for both the giver and receiver, from the idea to the execution to the reception. In one way of thinking, cancel culture is just another way to spread hate as a collective group. At a time of political division, cancelling creates a shared ideology and unity by those who do the action, and this feeling appeals to the human inclination to feeling accepted and being a part of a group larger than just yourself. This feeling promotes and encourages us to continue using this trend, getting increasingly amplified as the standard gets higher and faults get smaller. The action of hating others through this trend is destructive to both the person doing it and the one recieving it, as hate is a harmful emotion to harbor, act on, and receive.
I truly believe people, especially those who have fame and money, should be held accountable for their actions and words. However, the current culture of cancelling celebrities and spreading hate on social media and other platforms is not conducive to actually helping people truly learn about the importance of paramount issues, becoming more educated, or bettering people. Thus, this is why this trend should be over as it is neither helpful nor useful – just cancel it.