The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I’ll admit it…I watched the Hype House show. I mean, can you blame me? I’m naturally a very curious person and I have never followed the Hype House prior to this show, so I thought it would be an interesting watch. The first thing I noticed, however, was the very cavalier nature in which people on this show tackled the famed ‘cancel culture.’
Cancel culture isn’t new, but in case you aren’t familiar with the concept, it’s essentially the tendency of people on the internet to address celebrities’ or influencers’ mistakes through sharing disapproval and applying pressure to them via social media. This can include bringing up past remarks, calling out certain tweets, and more, all of which are used to try to ruin the person’s reputation or career.
This is an opinion piece, so what I think may not ring true to anyone else, but I have been a conscientious observer of cancel culture on many occasions over the years, and I feel that this idea needs to be explored further. Personally, I don’t think cancel culture is effective whatsoever. I won’t go as far as saying that cancel culture does not exist, because there certainly is a subculture of the internet in which people scour the web for proof of a celebrity doing something minutely ‘wrong,’ and exposing them. However, I think people use the term ‘cancel culture’ far too flamboyantly, which is in turn making it harder for people to actually be held responsible for racist, homophobic, sexist, and other egregious actions, past or present.
When ‘cancel culture’ exists, the entire idea of being held accountable is able to be criticized. I often see people sending death threats online to celebrities and influencers who are being accused of certain things, regardless of the severity of the issue. This makes the entire concept of holding someone accountable completely unregulated. Therefore, people with platforms then become the victims—since they are receiving threats and unnecessary hate—rather than being held accountable for their actions and acknowledging their own victims. In these types of scenarios, those who were hurt or offended by the actions of the celeb being held accountable never receive any closure or justice whatsoever. If people continue to give into this idea of canceling as a ‘culture,’ rather than people just caring about influencers and celebrities being held responsible, then nothing positive will get done.
To go back to my original point, I brought up the Hype House show because of their takes on cancel culture. Specifically because many members of the Hype House have been ‘canceled’ for a range of different things. From holding massive parties during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic to cheating on their famous partners to racism, almost every member of the house has been ‘canceled’ in some capacity. Yet all of them still have massive careers with brand deals, fans, and money that will last them a lifetime. What is the point of trying to cancel them in the first place if nothing positive, especially reparations to their victims, came out of it?
So when people say ‘cancel culture is toxic,’ I have to agree with them. However my take is a bit different. It isn’t toxic because it ruins careers or destroys lives, since that is a critically rare occurrence, but it is toxic because it takes the focus away from the wrongdoings committed. It places a spotlight on the nasty hate comments and threats, rather than the person who is the subject of the ‘canceling’ in the first place. This makes it especially easy for people to get away with things without taking any responsibility or apologizing in any way.
Unfortunately, there isn’t exactly a way to remedy this situation that is as straightforward as we would like it to be. The internet can’t be entirely policed, and no matter what, hate will continue to occur. The only thing we can really do is try to support people who do work to take accountability for their actions and to ignore those who are making choices we don’t agree with. I believe that giving them attention is only worsening the problem.
So… cancel culture is a “joke.” That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and that people aren’t actually hurt by it, but it does means that it doesn’t work how it is intended to.And as long as people keep talking about it, and demonizing the act of criticizing people, even with reason, the internet will continue to be an aimless land of heedless actions and words.