The Effects of Cancel Culture and Why People Love to “Cancel” 
Mon, October 25, 2021

The Effects of Cancel Culture and Why People Love to “Cancel” 

Cancel culture has grown quite a bit of teeth over the years, though many people would argue that it is nothing but a vapid internet court obsessed with dragging everything to the ground for no reason at all / Photo by: Castleski via Shutterstock

 

Cancel culture has grown quite a bit of teeth over the years, though many people would argue that it is nothing but a vapid internet court obsessed with dragging everything to the ground for no reason at all. In some cases, that much has proven to be true, with intense online feuds stemming from unearthed, incredibly dated points of view that hold no weight now to how a person has changed over time. 

In other cases, it actually works in that larger than life people are cut down a peg and chastised, and it is made known that they cannot get away with everything just because they hold more power than the rest of us. 

But cancel culture isn’t exactly the best thing ever. It has its flaws and shortcomings, not only for its absolutism but also because of its unwillingness to look at its own faults as much as it looks at others. It’s a manifestation of online vindictiveness, of course, but it is blind to what comes next when that vindictiveness dies down.

Cancel Culture Exposure

Over the last few years that discourse and being socially aware became the brand of the social media platform Twitter, the Macquarie Dictionary Committee thought it would be fitting to include the words cancel culture into the dictionary, what with its insane popularity.

According to a report by Mashable, a global, multi-platform media and entertainment company, Macquarie included the controversial word in the dictionary because it was “a term that captures an important aspect of the past year’s Zeitgeist… an attitude which is so pervasive that it now has a name, society’s ‘cancel culture’ has become, for better or worse, a powerful force.” 

This “powerful force,” while disputed by many who argue that neither the word nor the practice itself actually exists, has reached worldwide attention nonetheless. Social media nearly encompasses a big part of our lives and the widespread knowledge of this word also alludes to that. 

Cancel Culture’s Effect on Today’s Teens

The important thing to remember with people denouncing the real existence of cancel culture is that too often, it’s like someone is always jumping the gun on certain issues. In some cases, artists get canceled for the strangest of things, while in some, they are placed under public scrutiny for something that, well, really is bad. 

But that’s not all the time. Celebrity or not, cancel culture affects people in miserable and poignant ways. It’s like having a nugget of truth in humor gone out of control, but having absolutely no one on your side because they have immediately formed their own opinion of you without asking for your side first. 

According to the Powell River Peak website, cancel culture’s micro effects in simple friend groups only adds to the anxiety of young people, who already have it quite rough. It shamelessly dehumanizes victims and drives a rift of doubt into relationships. 

For celebrities, the occasional mudslinging is par for the course; you will almost always have someone breathing down your back and waiting for you to fly off the handle. In regular situations, cancel culture can be really detrimental to a kid’s self-esteem. Since the advent of the internet, it has been really easy to condemn people to a certain kind of life they most definitely don’t want to live -- a life filled with shame and anxiety. 

The important thing to remember with people denouncing the real existence of cancel culture is that too often, it’s like someone is always jumping the gun on certain issues / Photo by: Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock

 

Why “Cancel”? 

If it’s that bad, why do people still like doing it? 

According to Rob Henderson of Psychology Today, a website offering news and informative articles on matters in psychology, one of the primary reasons why people take to cancel culture so fast is its ability to increase social status. 

These days, intellect and “wokeness” are two things that people look up to among social media users. “Researchers reveal that sociometric status (respect and admiration from our peers) is more important to our sense of well-being than socioeconomic status.” 

Furthermore, it’s also like beating a common enemy. Cancel culture can technically be considered as social behavior in that many people can band together to take down a common enemy. Though it’s only done over the internet, airing out the dirty laundry of anyone we so wish is juicy fodder for the gossipy ones of us on the internet. Some information can masquerade as scandals, while some are completely untrue. With the vindictiveness of many online denizens, often it is hard to differentiate one from the other. 

In the same vein as this 'us versus them' reason, cancel culture is also highly enticing because it has the ability to “strengthen social bonds.” People who helm a certain crusade into “canceling” someone “derive satisfaction” from the fact that they can convince other people to feel the same feelings of resentment as they do. 

Henderson writes, “People join in broadcasting the misdeeds of others because it is more fun for them. It offers status and social solidarity at little cost.”