Many people, especially rich and famous ones, have been “cancelled” in the last couple of years alone. JK Rowling for transphobic tweets (and in turn… JK Rowling cancelling Stephen King for supporting transgendered women), Ellen DeGeneres for allegedly having a toxic workplace culture, and Roseanne Barr for racial tweets-- just to name a few.
Celebrities are commonly “cancelled” by the public, more than likely because they are constantly in the public eye with a huge following. The bigger they are, the harder they fall it seems. And social media is quick to jump at an exposed throat.
It isn’t a surprise that someone with over a million followers on Twitter could be cancelled easier than a neighbour down the street, or someone you know personally. Not to mention, it’s much easier to be mean on the internet-- it’s something called the online disinhibition effect.
You don’t really know this person, so why should you care? Your life continues on like normal, you fall asleep at night and never have to think about the repercussions of your actions. Sometimes the person doesn’t even know they’ve been dragged through the mud until the entire world knows first, like the case of Justine Sacco.
The hashtag #HasJustineLanded was trending while the plane
was still in the air and Sacco, who barely had 170 followers
at the time, was none the wiser.
Now, while Sacco was fired from her job and faced much backlash, can the same be said about everyone who experiences being “cancelled”?
JK Rowling is still worth around 820 million euros, and while the Harry Potter books seem to have slowed in sales, it’s arguable that she’s still doing… well, just fine.
So with celebrities and other public figures usually being in the centre of cancel culture, does it really hold any merit? And while you can easily announce that someone has been cancelled online, is that where it should end?
If someone tweets or posts something insensitive, or racist, or xyz, should they be “cancelled”, thrown to the wolves and then forgotten about? Or should our goal lean more towards calling them out on their behaviours and opening the door to conversation and education? At times, the “repercussions” for being cancelled are simply becoming a public pariah for a period of time (sometimes for a long time, but usually just until something more interesting comes along)-- but where do we go from there?
It seems as though “cancelling” is a tool that is used frivolously
and incorrectly, and most people argue the entire concept
should be cancelled itself.
There are serious issues society needs to address. Climate change, healthcare, racial injustices, gun control, income gap, hunger and food security, and equality are just a handful. But how can we even begin to discuss these heavy-hitting issues if our biggest fear is getting attacked by a social media mob?
Now I don’t mean to say get out there and tweet every single thought
you have, damn the consequences or other people’s feelings.
But everyone is entitled to their opinion (even Stephen King said it in regards to JK Rowling) and the only way we can grow is to be open. If things aren’t working, if our society isn’t advancing, then we need to head back to the drawing board.
What isn’t working? What can we essentially throw away? What can we fix and tweak so that the playing field is more even? For that to happen we need to give everyone a platform to be heard and educated.
If you need to have a conversation that may hit hard, or be a trigger, having an aid can help. ZForm adds an extra level of consent and understanding to a conversation that may otherwise be difficult to start. Having the guidelines and expectations laid out before you can clear the air and start off on the right foot.