Cancel Culture- My Thoughts

What Is Cancel Culture?

Cancel culture refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming.
– Source:

My Thoughts

Before I give my opinion on cancel culture I just wanted to have a little introduction. The reason I decided to discuss this topic today was because cancel culture is something you can’t get away from right now especially if you use social media. I had been meaning to write this post for a while now but to be honest I had been hoping it goes away and I wouldn’t have to write about it. Unfortunately, it seems that it’s still very much here. I also haven’t done a post where I share my opinions about something for a while and you guys seem to like those kind of posts so I decided to write this post today.

So, I am pretty much going to try and dissect cancel culture and sort of try and break it down into smaller parts and discuss those instead of just talking about it as a whole. I will discuss it as a whole towards the end of the post though because I think that’s also necessary.


The first part of cancel culture is generally calling out a person, people or a company for something they may have done in the past or are still doing. This is the part I agree with because a lot of people/companies have done questionable things and are still continuing to do so. I think when you see an injustice being committed it is your job to call it out and try to bring awareness to it.

What I disagree with is how people are being called out. Yes, some people and companies are being called out as there is solid proof about what they have done, however, due to the way social media works a lot of times you see people being called out for doing/saying something when in reality there may not be any truth to it or what they have said/done may be taken out of context completely. I think if you are going to accuse someone of something the least you can do is find actual evidence of what they have done.

Another problem with these call-outs is that it gives trolls the power to exploit cancel-culture. There are times when someone will go out of their way to fabricate stuff about someone to make it seem like they did/said something horrible when they actually haven’t. And because everyone tends to blindly jump on the bandwagon they end up getting “cancelled” when they actually haven’t even done anything.

2. The Cancellation

Now once someone gets called out people usually use like a hashtag or something to get more peoples attention and eventually the person gets “cancelled.” This is the part I have a pretty big problem with.

I may sound like a bit too much of an optimist when I say this but truth be told I believe that the majority of people out there are good. They may not be fully good but I think most people have at least some good in them. I know that I am definitely not the best person ever and I know that most people have their negatives and their positives.

No one is perfect- we have all done bad things and we have all done good things.
I don’t think “cancelling” people is the solution. To be frank I don’t think it’s even solution. I think it does help bring awareness to certain things such as unethical company practices, racist things people/companies have done, misogynistic things people/companies have done but at the same time it only highlights these things instead of coming up with an actual solution to address them.

3. The Results

This is probably the biggest problem I have with cancel culture. They keep calling people out- often quite randomly without any real research- and when the hashtag stops trending people completely forget about what happened. Usually the person/company puts out a- very obviously made by their PR- apology, people criticize the apology, the person/company lays low for a few days and everything goes back to normal.

If you are going to call someone out for their behaviour or actions its also your job to come up with a way to make sure that this behaviour/action does not happen again and that the person or company that is being called out both takes responsibilities and action to rectify their behaviour.

If someone is called out and then completely ignored what’s the point of calling them out. The whole point should be to bring change and to do that you need to keep checking up on that person/company and make sure that they are behaving in a more ethical way. You can’t forget stuff as soon as it stops trending or people stop talking about it.

My Overall Thoughts On Cancel Culture

I don’t want to totally come after gen Z or millennials- being one myself I do understand where their frustration comes from. We are lucky enough to be able to get higher education. access to so much information both online and offline, access to news from around the world and so much more. It’s a privilege but it can also be extremely overwhelming.

When you see everything that’s wrong with the world these days, when you see all the injustices that exist it really makes your blood boil and it does make you want to do something about it and one way we know how to do this is through the internet. And there are some phenomenal people online making a difference by fighting for equality and more.

Unfortunately, there is also a downside to fighting for things online or online activism. A lot of people these days don’t have great attention spans and shock value sells. People need to shock people to really get their attention and I feel like cancel culture is a part of this. It builds outrage for a little while and then people lose their concentration and move on to something different.

Before you blame this on phones, social media, younger generations etc. I would like to point out that this isn’t the only time people have started a movement and then lost their focus. As a history major I know that this happens all the time. Just one example is the 60’s counterculture. What started off as an amazing cause to bring change over the next few years became increasingly fractioned and eventually a lot of it became concentrated on drug use and other things. Many lost sight of what they were fighting for in the beginning. This isn’t the exact same obviously but I’m just trying to bring out a comparison.

One of the main problems I see with cancel culture is that it does a lot more harm than good. Yes, it calls out people but at the same time since there is little actual evidence it sometimes destroys the life of innocent people. Furthermore, it also gives the majority too much power and this power can- and is- being used for evil. A lot of times people call out other people for revenge or because they hate them rather than because they want to make the world a better place.

Even the people who are rightfully called out often don’t face any real life consequences. I admit that some do and that’s fine but a lot of times like I mentioned earlier they make a half-assed apology and then move on with their lives doing exactly what they want to do.

It also encourages uniformity which I hate. It encourages people to follow others or go with the trends but the trends/other people are not always right. You need to do your own research, make your own decisions and do what you think is the right thing to do not what everyone on social media tells you to do.

It also tends to take attention away from real problems that are occurring in the real world. Remember Karmageddon that happened on YouTube? It called out a bunch of people but did it really make that much of a difference? Jeffree Star is still out there living his best life, Tati is still making money off her pills, Shane is laying low but I just know he’ll be back soon and no one will care. A lot of times the things that are called out are real life problems and therefore there need to be real life solutions not an online cancellation.

I also want to mention that cancel culture very often tends to see everything in black and white. People are either good or evil. There is no grey area. However, this is very far from the truth. In reality almost everything in the world is grey. There is always good AND bad with every situation and looking at something/someone in just one light is very damaging.

For example, let’s talk about big companies paying their workers abroad really badly. When you look at it at first you obviously think that’s so unethical and awful- and you would be right if you’re thinking this. It’s awful- people are treated inhumanely and paid barely anything for their hard work.

However, when I studied it in one of my sociology classes I was able to think about it a bit more. A lot of people boycott these companies and therefore the company produces less products which means that the workers who were barely making anything to begin with get completely laid off or in some cases get paid even less than before. In the end these companies are going to do whatever they have to to make a profit- often times these measures are very unethical. As for the workers- they come from very poor backgrounds, many are women and children who absolutely need that- awful and super unethical- wage to survive. When you boycott the company and these people get laid off they lose this income which as small as it seems was very vital to their survival.

I’m not trying to criticise anyone with this example- if you choose to but ethically sourced and made products that is truly amazing and I really respect that. I’m just trying to show that things aren’t always in black and white- in fact they rarely are. Things are a lot more complicated than they seem. What we sometimes hear about and react to without doing our research is often just the tip of the iceberg.

In conclusion, I’ll say that I do understand where the cancel culture stems from and I do understand wanting to be part of the change but truth be told cancelling someone is just not it. We need to find a more realistic way to address things. I am also someone who believes that change is possible and that if we believe in something we should use our words to explain why we believe in that instead of blindly cancelling people. Explain to them why you believe they are wrong in a rational way.

I hope you found this post interesting. I tried to stay unbias and look at both the positives and negatives on cancel culture instead of just fixating on either the negatives or positives.

What are your thoughts on cancel culture? Do you think it’s a good thing? Do you think it’s a bad thing? As always let me know what you think in the comments below. Also let me know if you enjoy these kinds of posts where I try to talk about something in depth. It’s really fun for me because this is kind of what I do with my research papers anyway so it’s great practice but I’m not sure if you guys enjoy these kind of posts. So please let me know- your feedback is super helpful!

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151 thoughts on “Cancel Culture- My Thoughts

  1. I think there are definitely times people are too quick to jump on the bandwagon without stopping to think about what is really happening. But there have been times such as recently that I canceled my Netflix because of the film they produced Cuties because of how it exploits the 11 year old girls in the movie to supposedly criticize exploiting children.

    1. Yeah I cancelled my Netflix too because that really just grossed me out. I can’t believe they would exploit young children like that. I also really hated 365 DNI- I thought it was romanticising serious issues like sex trafficking and kidnapping.

        1. Yeah I didn’t either but I read the plot and it was disturbing. I really hope they make better decisions with what they put out on their platform.

  2. I was excited to see this post today because this is a topic I have wanted to discuss, but have felt nervous to. Like you said, the idea of ‘canceling’ started out with the attention to hold public figures accountable (with the #CancelRKelly movement being the one that most noticeably put modern ‘canceling’ in the mainstream view – and was 💯 necessary due to the illegal activities & corruption going on).
    However, as you said in this post – people have gone too far and use cancel culture as a means of attacking people they don’t like and then hold past actions against them as if they can never change. Even after someone apologizes and shows change, often times people still want to hold a grudge. For example, Kat Von D was ousted from her beauty brand, but people still want to punish the brand for her past behaviors even tho she no longer works there. So it seems as if people weren’t really seeking accountability. Some have even gone as far to say that they don’t like the parent brand because they took too long to act (Kendo). However, they’ll still shop from Fenty, Marc Jacobs, and Bite Beauty (all Kendo-owned).
    In the beauty space, in particular, I see so many people getting cancelled for actions that were thrown out of context or fabricated (as you mentioned). And what I’ve noticed is that people who were already deemed dislikeable are the ones who remain cancelled (even after one bad action)- meanwhile people with diehard “stans” (who might show repeated bad behaviors) never stay cancelled.
    Also, you’re totally right to bring up the negative ramifications for others that are employed by problematic companies or people. Because in the end it’s the most vulnerable workers are are punished.
    The group-think and public shaming going on right now is honestly scary. I hope things change.

    1. I really hope you end up writing a post about cancel culture because I would love to read it. I also think it’s a big part of the beauty community in some ways and I think your insight into that would be very interesting.
      The Kat Von D thing really pissed me off because although I disagree with her beliefs about vaccines I still don’t think it was right to associate her beliefs with the company/brand. Jeffree Star is a perfect example of people who show bad behaviour still being supported by their stans. In my opinion he has done questionable things throughout his career and still does them and is still supported by his stans.
      Yeah I see so many people blindly boycotting stuff without putting more research into it. Unfortunately, with how capitalism works it is often the workers who suffer and the people on top will continue to make their money one way or another.
      It is very scary. I see people being cancelled for the dumbest things and it actually ruins peoples lives and obviously takes a toll on their mental health. I agree that people who do certain things should be called out but we need to do so in a moderate and responsible manner. What is happening right now is just everyone pointing their finger at one another.

      1. With KvD, I will say that her cancellation was also tied to allegations of anti-semitism & racism – but it was the anti-Vax stuff that pushed people over the edge. With that said, I was shocked that even after she was clearly removed from the brand it seemed like people wanted the whole brand to be shut down rather than for Kat to be held accountable (which she was).
        As you mentioned, J* is a perfect example of someone who shows repeated bad behavior but yet remains unaffected. Although he hasn’t been “cancelled” in the way that other big gurus have been, his last collection was a major flop for the brand. I do think this has to do with public favor turning against him, tho!
        Many larger influencers that used to excuse his behavior made public statements & others decluttered products / privated old reviews. And one of of his biggest retail partners – and the only partner to sell his makeup in-stores – did finally drop him.
        I feel like in many ways, cancel culture and Stan culture are super intertwined. I’ve seen so many rival fandoms go after one another, random people (who dissed their fave), or celebrities that they feel have dissed their favorites.
        I also feel like with the way social media algorithms work, people have become too accustomed to their own echo chamber of opinions and cannot handle discussing differing viewpoints without going on the extreme offensive. I’ve even seen mutuals on Twitter go as far as unfollowing people just because those individuals follow someone that they dislike. The whole thing is just incredibly toxic.
        I’m fairly certain that Black Mirror has an episode that kind of deals with the online mob culture. However, I’ve never watched a full episode of the show – stressed me out too much!

        1. Yeah I understand holding her personally responsible but wanting the brand to shut down is pretty extreme and kind of ridiculous.
          I am so glad he is finally being held accountable. I am so sick of his fake apologies and promising to change speech. I try to always see the best in people and believe they can change but he has just time and time again proved that he is not going to change and has no intention of becoming a better person.
          Yeah people on social media take things so personally and definitely can not deal with other people having different opinions. I feel like if someone offends you just unfollow/block them but don’t force your views down their throat. Instead try to talk to them and educate them- that may actually work. Being aggressive will only make them defensive. People definitely take it too far with the unfollowing.
          Black Mirror freaks me out so I just avoid it lol!

  3. That’s a great post. I actually plan to do a post on my perspective on cancel culture with an emphasis on Third Culture Kid life. I believe any social change under the right circumstances has the ability to become toxic. Cancel culture is REALLY toxic here in the US thanks to all this polarization. I like the accountability part though, but there are definitely flaws with it. It’s only very recently with the death of RBG that people have talked openly about the bad things she’s done and how it’s affected others while still celebrating her as the feminist icon she is. Cancel culture actually being respectful here!

    1. Thanks and I look forward to your post on the topic.
      It’s so nice to hear that people are doing that respectfully because that’s not always the case. I think cancel culture if carried out properly isn’t the worst thing ever. It forces people to take responsibility for their actions which I think is a really good thing.

      1. Exactly. I was rather surprised at it being respectful to RBG especially considering the polarization. Also, the fact of the matter is that the Supreme Court of the US is a toxic institution

        1. Yeah I thought it would be a lot more extreme but good for people for being rational. The Supreme Court is definitely extremely toxic and has so many issues of its own.

          1. I’ll tell you this: it’s really tiring to be in a country where polarization has made cancel culture toxic. I mean, I am careful about what I say online and double check it, but now, I find myself checking something at least 5 times before I say it, which has gotten a little extreme. Whenever I get tired from it, I HAVE to take a social media break!

            1. Yeah I do that too. Now I pay extra attention to what I say and even how I say it because I don’t want to offend anyone. It’s kind of ridiculous though that people like us who aren’t trying to offend anyone get paranoid and people who do harm other are out there living their best lives.
              I stopped using social media almost completely and honestly it’s been amazing lol!

              1. You are so right! I hardly ever use Facebook now. I have been trying to build a following for my blog though, so social media is a necessary evil for that. I do like staying in touch with my overseas friends on social media though, but I am trying to find a way to change the medium of staying in touch. We’ll see

                1. Yeah I use it for my blog too but that’s about it. I usually just WhatsApp friends because most of my friends don’t use social media either.

  4. Thanks for this one, Pooja. I’ll share it on Twitter too. I’ve been published twice on this subject so I might as well share links to my articles: — that’s on a religion reporting site, and a condensed version was published in a guest column on a paper in a nearby large city:
    I think that in general we human beings are both two quick to jump onto bandwagons and to quick to ostracize those with whom we disagree. I also think that both phenomena stem from fear. We are too afraid to speak up against the crowd, and also too afraid to confront those with whom we differ. It’s a similar phenomenon to one’s being “DONE” with someone. As fallible human beings, we can always withdraw and avoid conflict. But we do not have the power to eliminate others from our lives.

    1. Thanks for sharing those links I will definitely check them out.
      I agree we tend to be swayed by the majority and that’s not a good thing. And yes we should avoid conflict because everyone has the right to their opinion and forcing someone to confirm to yours isn’t the way to go. Instead you can either talk to them and help educate them in a calm manner or simply avoid them.

      1. Right. It’s okay to avoid people. It’s not okay in most cases to cancel them. In our society, people drop each other left and right, at the drop of a dime. Unfortunately, Cancel Culture is an extreme example of a phenomenon that’s already a sorry sign of the times.

  5. Thank you for writing this thoughtful post, PoojaG. I hadn’t even heard of this issue until a few weeks ago, and I agree with your points, especially on “actual evidence,” and then the need to see things in nuanced ways, rather than black and white.

    1. Thank you. Yeah I definitely think most people see something and freak out. I think you need to do a lot more research first and learn more about the issue.

  6. Awesome post. This is a topic I’ve wanted to discuss myself. Personally, I’m leaning on being annoyed by cancel culture because it makes people irrational and prone to simply jump on the bandwagon. Simply put..
    People want to be on the side of righteousness….but tend to not think if they’re even right.
    We live in a time in society where you’re expected to be affiliated with some sort of hashtag. And only your peers of that hashtag will ever be right because it is taboo to ever be objective about anything and calling things as they are, especially if your affiliation is in the wrong.

    1. Yeah it annoys me quite a bit too because like you said it’s all about jumping on a bandwagon not even knowing what the bandwagon is about.
      Being objective is definitely rare with cancel culture but it’s so important. Most people expect you to support what they do and are irritated when you take the time to do your research.

  7. a very thoughtful post, I can tell you put a lot of time into this one, and it was worth it. I agree that many times such practices go overboard and are no longer effective, and perhaps harmful…

    1. Thanks! Yeah it’s something I have been thinking a lot about for a while. I think most things are good when they start out but people get extreme with it or people start to take advantage of it and it turns into a bad thing.

        1. Same here- I understand the protesting but the violence and destruction is so unnecessary. If anything it is doing a lot of damage to the actual cause.

  8. I 100% agree. I’ve also noticed that when someone calls a person out they tend to do it in a condescending way instead of an educational way. This goes for cancelling a person as well and I definitely think it isn’t productive whatsoever. People don’t grow or learn from negativity, they do from support and education. Like we don’t know why a person is behaving like this, is their behaviour right? No… but adding fuel to the fire can make things worse at times. Mental health and upbringing are just some important factors. But unless criticism is constructive and educational people can spiral into deeper issues or just decide they’re being attacked and not want to change or refuse to listen.
    Thanks for the interesting read!

    1. I absolutely agree! We need to have conversations and create safe spaces. No one is perfect and the only way we can grow and get better is by educating ourselves and others. Mindlessly cancelling people will never be beneficial for anyone.

      1. Definitely! Safe spaces are great to let someone really reflect, cancelling doesn’t give anyone a chance. Then these influencers make a come back like nothing happened, still with the same thoughts and ideas.

  9. Interesting post with good tips for cancelling culture. Well written. It’s Controversial topic on social media and some people are not taking the right justice for it

  10. I totally agree with you Pooja
    Cancel culture has its good and bad sides. It helps some really bad things come to light, but in the same vein, a lot of times, these people don’t suffer much damage. All they have to do is apologize, lay low and come back again and continue making their money
    This culture doesn’t bring about any good or lasting change

    1. Yeah that’s how I feel about it too and I also feel like the really awful people get away with it while other people are wrongfully attacked and have their lives/careers destroyed. We should definitely call people out but we should also do it in a better way and make sure that we know the facts first.

  11. This is such a nice post, Pooja! I’ve been reading a lot of tweets about cancelling someone. Yes, that someone might have done something wrong but I don’t really like the way how other people react to it— like the person couldn’t change at all. Nevertheless, it’s good that we ask for accountability for other people’s wrongdoings especially when it hurt others.

    1. Thanks!! I agree- a lot of what people are being called out for recently is stuff that you could talk to them about and help educate them on why they are wrong. Just cancelling someone does not help if they don’t face real life consequences or if they don’t learn from their mistakes.

  12. At first I wondered what this cancelled thing was about and then I started seeing it in YouTube and twitter frequently. I like this post, it brings out the bigger issues brought about by the cancel culture.

    1. I didn’t know much about it either until it got really big and everyone was talking about it on social media and YouTube. Thanks I’m glad you thought so!

  13. I think people should be called out for the wrongs they do. I don’t have a problem with that – as long as it is properly researched.
    I do think most people are good. I don’t think people should be bullied or hounded though. There is a fine balance. They should have the chance to put things right.
    I don’t agree with ‘no-platforming’. I want to hear what these racists and fascists have to say and the chance to counter their arguments.
    Good topic Pooj.

    1. Thanks and I absolutely agree- we should allow people to have their opinion but also make sure that people are held responsible for their wrongdoings.

  14. Very interesting content.We live in times and always have done where economic and political power grants you automatic autonomy = in that getting away with so much.
    Firstly using the law in which we are domiciled gives the disadvantaged some leverage to fight for accountability to the full extent of the law.The extent in which you can push this also depends on how economically powerful you are.
    Secondly the true effects of successfully calling out has to be the disadvantaged = empowering self to stand nearly as equal economically as the called out.
    E.g. Fighting for a cause means the group or person has to gain enough power -at least economically = gaining practical & influential support to get an effective outcome.
    In most cases as shown in your blog this hardly happens – we need to recognise the difference between an idealistic world and the reality of the world we live in.

    1. Yeah I absolutely agree. That’s the problem with a lot of things like you mentioned- in theory they’re great but realistically they don’t work that way.

  15. Sorry, Pooja. I can’t think of something that calls itself cancel culture as benign. Truly, I miss the days when print media was king. Space was at a premium; it was the letters editor‘s job to use a red pen to slash and burn the nuttier types of offerings. I was blissfully unaware of how many of them there were. They have found a home on anti social media. We might all have our individual biases and opinions, but who decides what is right or wrong? Who decides it’s his or her right to cancel out another human being? I just don’t believe that, anything good can come from mob rule. It is increasingly intolerant of others beliefs and individual thought.

    1. I agree with you for sure. I don’t think anyone has the right to cancel someone else. If you disagree with something communicate about why you think so and use actual evidence.

  16. Touchy subject, both politically and socially, which I consider the same thing but many do not so I try to make the distinction. I have written about it a bit a couple times in the past but it’s difficult to discuss without mentioning so many other subjects such as victim culture and identity politics. I don’t have the energy or fortitude to write dispassionate articles about those things so I try to leave them be.
    As others have said above, Cancel Culture (I think it’s gained enough purchase on the social mind to deserve capitalization now) is one logical end of mob mentality in the digital age. As someone who studies cyber security, I liken it to a botnet. In a botnet, a malicious actor corrupts the devices of sometimes thousands of users in order to hijack them and use them in their own personal attack without the users’ knowledge. When somebody gets canceled, the majority of the people calling for it do not even understand the situation they are outraged about. The leaders of these attacks always (I feel confident in being absolute here) have an agenda of their own and know they are being deceptive.
    Much of the blame can be levied against the companies that fall prey to such nonsense as well. Groups calling for cancellation represent such a tiny portion of society that it is ridiculous to believe they would have any impact on a businesses bottom line, but modern corporations trip over themselves at any opportunity to display virtue signalling and prove that they aren’t racist, sexist, homophobic, or whatever other -ism people choose to throw around to turn complicated topics into catch phrases that nobody has to think deeply about.
    I have personally been the target of these attacks multiple times but fortunately I am both unremarkable enough to not have very many people hate me and completely unapologetic for things I don’t feel guilty about. The second part is important for everybody to understand, I think. Cancel Culture doesn’t work if you stick to your guns and refuse to bow to the whimsical outrage of morons. I understand that it’s difficult, though, when you have hundreds or thousands of people telling you that you’re a sexist because of a tweet. Realistically, though, that’s such a tiny number of people it shouldn’t even register. Perhaps more of us who are capable of thinking critically need to simply speak up in defense of these people whenever we can. I think that’s currently happening but it’s unfortunately starting to create an “anti-cancel culture” movement which is just a herd of similar morons who seek to destroy those they disagree with.
    I just stay off Twitter. 🙂

    1. I think that is the major problem I have with it- it’s a small group of people telling others how to live and think. I don’t agree with everything everyone says and neither does anyone really but there is a difference between expressing your thoughts and trying to educate someone and simply cancelling them. Everyone has a right to their opinion even if you don’t agree with it. If you are so strongly against it have a rational conversation. Cancelling someone is just so irrational and doesn’t serve any real life purpose.
      I try to avoid all social media in general- I usually just autopost stuff through WP.

      1. We’re of like mind. People should be held accountable for what they say if they’re intentionally trying to hurt people or make the world worse for certain groups, but it shouldn’t be up to average, uneducated Twitter users to destroy someone’s life over something that may or may not even be offensive.
        The example I always use is the woman who tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” and of course while she was in the air she was being fired from her job and losing all of her friends.
        Of course nobody took the time to ask her about it and it turns out she was being sarcastic and making a reference about how oblivious to other people’s suffering upper class white people are. Certainly could have been worded better but it was the early days of Twitter and nobody knew that you could have your life destroyed yet. Lol
        People need to realize that what is said on social media is usually our inner “shower thoughts”. These really shouldn’t be voiced to the world at large. No thought goes into them and even saying them out loud ourselves, we usually realize they’re stupid things to say. The part of our brain that makes shower thoughts and the part that forms logical sentences that we say out loud to other people are different.
        After learning this, I found that dictating what I want to write out loud to an app on my phone has improved my writing big time.

        1. Yeah a lot of comedians or just people being sarcastic are being cancelled without people realising they’re joking. I think it’s also the fact that you can’t hear how someone says it when you read something. Like when someone says something sarcastic you know they’re being sarcastic but people may think they’re being serious if it’s written down especially if you don’t know the person.

  17. I feel like it has both it’s pros and cons. For example: the recent ‘Stop Hate For Profit’ movement against Facebook wherein big companies pulled out advertisement money from FB and IG as well a lot of users blacked-out IG for a day. This was done to make FB more liable for the content posted on there platform. I feel like sometimes big monopolists need such reminders that they aren’t invincible.
    Also for the example you’ve posted about companies paying factory employees less in some countries, I’m not sure which company has reduced their production in such situations. But I see H&M and other companies making an effort to be more transparent about their ethical practices.
    Again I do understand that a lot people blindly follow such movements but if such movements are able to actually genuinely educate even a few people – I feel like the movements are worth it.
    This is my opinion.

    1. I absolutely agree that it has it’s pros and cons but I feel like the cons are so damaging that they need to be addressed.
      Yes, it’s great to see companies having to take responsibility but like I mentioned this unfortunately a lot of times means the loss of jobs for poor workers usually from global South countries. So yes technically they are being more ethical on the surface but due to the way capitalism works the people on top are still making a huge profit and the ones who are still being exploited are poor workers most of whom are already living in poverty and depend on the incredibly low wage they are getting. Companies lay off a number of workers in order to increase wages for the workers who aren’t laid off. So technically it’s more ethical but for those that got laid off it creates more problems. Either way these workers suffer. I hope people continue to talk about this issue though so it can be properly addressed by the companies instead of laying off workers/moving the factories.
      Yeah I agree some movements are definitely worth it and do help bring awareness and change. I just hope people stop doing stuff because it’s trending and actually commit to making a change in the long run.
      Thanks for sharing your opinion!

  18. A very well thought out post and solid arguments. The court of public opinion can be a powerful beast but rarely do they slay the giants they go after- as you eloquently put it’s normally the little guy that suffers- the CEO walks away with money regardless. In the case of JKR right now, and her pretty horrendous comments, I do believe holding her accountable for her words but am I out to “cancel” her? No. I don’t believe in that. I do believe karma is a powerful force, it doesn’t need me to be the long arm of justice. I can stop reading her material, I can stop supporting her and that will be the extent of my “cancelling” her. Being aware that someone is awful is entirely different from wanting to ruin their lives. Just my two cents.

    1. I totally agree- if you don’t agree with someone stop supporting them but don’t go out of your way to ruin their lives. If anything we should try to educate people and help them understand the error of their ways because that may actually convince them to change. When you attack someone they just get defensive and either continue to do the thing that pissed everyone off to begin with- like JKR is doing- or they make an apology they don’t believe in and remain exactly the same.

  19. Thank you for this well thought through post! I agree that it’s a bunch of hot air usually, with no real action behind it when there needs to be. It’s more virtue-signaling than anything. Not to sound too cynical, of course 😉 And yes, everyone jumps to conclusions too quickly, and is too quick to judge, and then their judgment leads them to a simplified action that doesn’t make sense.

    1. Thank you! Honestly you’re not being cynical you’re so right. People jump to conclusions, freak out when people don’t have the exact same beliefs as them and then cancel them without doing anything else to actually hold them accountable or help educate them. It really is a bunch of hot air a lot of the time!

  20. Fascinating post. Not a subject I am familiar with but really interesting and thought provoking. Scary what can develop from simple ideas. It sounds dangerous to me, full of risk and open to corruption.

  21. Cancel culture is as nuanced as the situations that people are speaking up against. I absolutely agree that it encourages echo chambers and hive-mind thinking, especially on social media. Many people are quick to denounce a person or entity for something because they see a trend in negative response.
    Too many people on social media will say things without doing their own research on a subject or person — this behavior is insidious and is why we see so many people following pseudoscience, or rallying against an issue when not all details are presented.
    There are some situations that should result in immediate boycott until proven otherwise — sexual abuse scandals, unethical business practice, false advertising, etc. Still, choosing to take a moral stand against someone or something by boycotting them does not necessarily mean that you are supporting “canceling” them. In my opinion, when abuse scandals arise, there are many people who are quick to tag #CancelWhoever, but then there are just as many (if not more) victim-blamers who seek to discredit the victims. If someone is victimized by a celebrity, or person in a position-of-power, we should consider the victims’ perspectives and support the victims, rather than go after the person being accused of misconduct. Attempting to crowd-source cancelations via social media reveals countless fans of the opposite opinion who will find any number of excuses to say that it is the victim’s fault in some way. Now the predator has their own online support, and is oftentimes never held accountable for their actions because they are famous, and the victims are the ones being harassed instead. While the predator should be removed from this position (in the event that they do not gracefully admit to their wrongdoing and choose to step down voluntarily,) hashtag activism tends to have the opposite effect when you consider how many people define consent as (like you said) a black/white issue. In this example, how are victims helped by #Cancel tags?
    Another example is issues of racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, and misogynistic rhetoric published on social media (or elsewhere online.) Anyone who participates in these behaviors should ABSOLUTELY be held accountable for them — CALL IT OUT, ALWAYS! However, #Canceling a person for something they said in their post history leaves them with no chance to learn from these indiscretions. It is our responsibility to speak up against minority groups who have been historically marginalized. The reaction of the accused should be the deciding factor as to whether or not they should be canceled. Are they remorseful? Do they understand why it is wrong? Are they trying to redeem themselves and be a better person?
    The same goes for companies with unethical business practices. If you #cancel that company, they may try to manipulate the public into saying that many outsourced employees will also lose their jobs. Why do people want to boycott this company in the first place? Are they paying their outsourced employees a “livable wage” in their own country, while taking the majority of the profits from their labor? Are they actually worried about their laborers losing their jobs, or are they concerned for their brand, and their own money?
    Sometimes canceling/boycotting is necessary to teach wrongdoers that their actions are not acceptable in modern society, but #Cancel should not be the first step when an issue becomes known. We need to call out problematic behavior, step back from the person or company, evaluate their reactions, and decide from there. Ultimately, we should always aim to personally side with victims, without seeking to discredit them, because we have to remember that whenever these things happens, there is ALWAYS someone victimized whose voice is being drowned out by the masses.

    1. Yes thank you so much for this comment because I totally agree with that! People should definitely be called out for their wrongdoings and when it comes to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia etc. there should definitely be a boycott. But like you said cancelling people is not the solution. Often cancelling people leads to outrage for a few days and then nothing changes. And as you mentioned we need to call out the person, see how they handle it and then go from there. And cancelling someone is not always helpful for the victims especially when the cancellation doesn’t lead to consequences and people forget and move on.

      1. Yes! It’s also often hard for victims to speak up in the first place, and the backlash they face sometimes discourages other victims from speaking up because they fear retaliation. People are so aggressive online lol.

        1. I know people online have no chill it’s crazy. I think victims are also scared of all the attention because once you put yourself out there your life is never the same.

  22. I totally agree too. I’ve made lots of drafts about this trolling but then trash it.
    Canceling is definitely needed, but Humans just need to know where to draw the line.
    Awesome write up

  23. I think this is a brilliant post. An example of cancel culture at it’s worst is the Caroline Flack incident. Yes Caroline wasn’t a completely perfect person but the media treated her like dirt, and social media had a big part to play in that. The result was that she ended up taking her own life, and 7 months later it seems like lessons haven’t been learned

    1. Thank you. Yes, exactly it really effects someone mentally. Although some people deserve to be called out there is a more rational manner to handle this situation instead of blindly attacking someone.

  24. It should be called a bad case of not minding your own business… sometimes when someone sneezes the wrong way it makes the earth shake and other times they can concoct a storm and people won’t bat an eye! I see it as just following the wave… if one person starts saying something everyone tends to follow and take things out of context. I saw lots of famous people being ‘cancelled’ for incorrectly using the blacklivesmatter hashtag, crossfit gyms across the world nearly abandoned ship because the CEO made some random tweet, etc. sometimes it’s reasonable but other times it is just the wave

    1. I love that description because it’s very accurate in a lot of cases. I agree that sometimes it’s reasonable and necessary but a lot of times it’s just people blindly following a hashtag without actually doing any research.

  25. Very well said, I think you wrote a “neutral” analysis that outlines pros and cons. I agree with you when you say it is not black or white, and also it does rarely make a difference for some people that are still doing what they used to do. I understand the frustration sometimes, but I believe this approach is not going to make the difference we want.

  26. What a wonderful blogpost. I agree with most of what you said. For starters, most of it is performative and completely disassociated from the positions for which it advocates. Secondly, it’s illiberal and undemocratic to do so. Which leads me to my main issue: by constantly “cancelling,” it actually shines a light to the very thing that theyre cancelling, which transforms this into the “forbidden fruit,” that must have some truth to the argument (in the case of argument, for example). We saw this clearly in the case of Jordan Peterson. In my opinion, challenging points of views with better arguments is the preferred method, for a myriad of reasons.

    1. Thanks and I absolutely agree- it just gives attention to the cause in a bad way. It is also definitely not democratic because everyone has the right to their opinion whether you think it’s right or wrong.

  27. i agree with this i think its really hard to judge someone based on what you see online. about the yotuubers, man idk but i wish something could happen to especially shane? i mean i thought it was really disgusting what he said about a 9 year old girl, but im sure now if there is anything to be done then the FBI would be on his ass.
    im not sure about the other youtubers, but like, if they keep being rude af then that’s on them.
    i wouldn’t know what else to do but just to NOT support people like them. since i do my own research and if i don’t like what they keep doing, i wont support.
    also they have so much money so they don’t even need my support. at the end of the day, i would rather help individuals who are smaller like a small biz from a mutual on ig for example.
    still you never know what they do behind the scenese, so cancel culture can be a pretty toxic thing when it’s done to get viral quick!

    1. Yeah what you see online isn’t who a person really is in real life. I really hoped something would happen with Shane too and Jeffree Star because I think they have both done horrible things that in my opinion they are not very sorry about.
      The best thing to do is just not support them and like you said support smaller businesses and smaller/non-toxic people.

  28. I have seen this happen so often on Twitter. And I noticed how some people would just participate without even knowing what is going on, just because they following the trend. Sometimes we see people get attacked for simply having different views and opinions. I think Cancel Culture started out with a good intention but now it has become questionable…

  29. I must be completely oblivious, because I had no idea this was going on at all! I don’t pay that much attention to trendy things, especially on the internet! This is not the way for real and lasting change. It’s just a lazy way to say that you’re doing something. Uch! Please do your research and then try to affect lasting change. Maybe write a letter to the editor, or contact someone in the media. Don’t hide behind your computer and try to be trendy!

    1. Yes it’s people pretending to be activists! I think some people are bringing real change even online like people who share their stories and stuff but cancel culture has just become people blindly jumping on every bandwagon and it’s ridiculous.

  30. Excellent write up Pooja I shared your write up on my blog…I am a huge fan now of your blog an your work..You have started a very positive movement for change in our society that needs more positive solutions rather than railing speech which is what I call “Cancel Culture” it is truly invective railing speech…Check out my latest blog post here that includes more Six Word Stories of my own as well as little Six Word Story ditties…Thank you Pooja for make a difference in our world and for inspiring me in my own small world…

  31. If anything, I’ll say we all need to think deep and correctly before jumping on a cancel this-and-that bandwagon. This is because I’ve seen some stories that looked so real on social media turn out fake and tarnish the image of an innocent person.
    One time, a boy committed suicide because he was falsely accused of rape and people jeered cancel him, cancel him!!! Until he died and left a note that is. I believe we should be careful because if you’re human, it’ll be hard to live with the guilt of false judgment.

    1. I agree we need to do our own research and think things through before blindly accusing people because it effects real peoples lives just like this boy.

  32. I loved this post! I think cancel culture absolutely has its place, when it comes to calling out people abusing their position of power. However, when it comes to cancelling celebrities for making mistakes- I feel like they’re not allowed to grow; so it becomes a situation where even years after they’ve been “cancelled”, they’re still not being given a chance! Once a celebrity is cancelled it can sometimes be difficult for the general public to accept the fact that they could have grown.

  33. If anyone have said something offensive, it is obvious to get hatred from the audience. But the problem is mob mentality, without knowing the actual truth people start shaming others which is absolutely wrong.

  34. You brought up some really thoughtful arguments especially the social media element of “cancel culture.” While I do agree some companies/people deserve to be boycotted for things they said or did, the social media element makes more of a trend than an actual permanent solution. Like say a company got in trouble for polluting and for a day what they did is trending on Twitter. Then the next day, its something else and everyone forgets what said company did because its yesterdays news.

  35. I agree with what you said but mostly that everything is not black or white, good or evil. People nowadays are given the platform (or should I say battlefield which is the social media) to attack whoever that goes against their beliefs and are very quick to jump into conclusions and judgment without getting their facts straight and issues are also blown out of context. I’m all for calling out injustices, racism, etc. But do so with thoughtful nuance.

  36. Agree with all of this!!! If you look at the communist revolution of China, cancel culture rich with hypocrisy was the rule of the day during the 50s and 60s cultural revolution

  37. I’ve been thinking about cancel culture alot recently, saw an opinion piece like yours on Instagram few days back. I love how you dissected here and looked at it from all angles.
    At first, I used to think Cancel Culture was great and awesome especially when it came to issues like racism, sexual assault/rape and paedophilia. I think this were the main issues people were being cancelled for, I’m not sure. I think it was effective at some point as people would show evidence sometimes and said called out person would apologize and you could see that the person had changed.
    But, I don’t know what happened. I must have been offline for a while at that point…people started getting canceled for random dumb things and I couldn’t comprehend any of it. I was thinking it was a joke at first but I found out it wasn’t.
    I could have joined the bandwagon but it’s not everything that someone should get canceled for. I started to question myself about certain things. I like to think that people are still learning and growing and even though that anyone who has access to social media and the internet and should be probably enlightened to a certain point, it’s not everything someone would be aware of.
    I think Cancel Culture would be less toxic and more effective if people didn’t lose focus and chose to pay attention to more serious issues.
    The people who get called out and canceled that are innocent sometimes get the most backlash and I don’t like it. I remember was it two years ago or so that Johnny Depp was accused of hitting his wife Amber. I love Johnny so much and I was having conflicted emotions about the situation and decided to research myself before deciding on what to do. I saw some articles saying that Johnny was innocent and that Amber had been the abuser all along but nobody would listen to that and people were too blinded by rage to care.
    It was just last year or early this year the whole thing came to light. Amber got some calling out and back lash but it wasn’t as much as Johnny’s.
    The actual culprits aren’t really called out so much and even if they were. They rarely hold themselves accountable. Like you said, there has to be an actual solution to it. Whole thing can be sad and annoying sometimes.

    1. Thank you!
      I totally agree with you- I think it started out well and calling people out is often necessary but we can’t lose focus. I also felt the same way about the Johnny Depp situation- I felt like since it was no longer trending people didn’t care about the allegations again Amber Heard.

  38. I really liked this post! I don’t know many people that know much of the behind the scenes when it comes to cancel culture. I think there is a way to do things. A way to get your point across without completely degrading a person and making them feel awful about themselves.

    1. Thank you! Yeah a lot of people don’t understand just how complicated things are. And I agree attacking someone online is never the answer. We need to be more strategic and rational about it.

  39. Thought provoking post. Thank you for sharing. I must also say that although cancel culture may have its extremes, it’s easy to say that it’s a bad thing when you’re not on the receiving end of what the person or organization is been called out on. I believe in consequences. Social media has made it possible for brands and people to be held accountable for the things they say or do. As a black woman who has been on the receiving end of what some of these folks do, I have to say that I’m glad to see when people or brands called out. Previously many of the things they did in the past that were racially insensitive would go undetected and those of us on the receiving end would continue to be disenfranchised. We should rely on facts when we see something wrong and ensure that those responsible for it are held accountable. Maybe call it “accountability” as opposed to cancel culture.

    1. I agree- the calling people out part is definitely not the problem. I think people need to be called out for certain things. The main problem I have is that I don’t see a lot of results from people being called out. I wish people would not forget after the hashtag stops trending and that people who did something wrong are actually held accountable both online and in real life.

  40. Pooja, your post is insightful and well written. I’m impressed with how much research you did and how you presented both sides.
    One thing that sticks out to me about the culture today is that people aren’t willing to make sacrifices for what they are protesting. Also I don’t see a clearly defined end game for the cause.
    Thank you for your thought provoking post.

    1. Thank you so much- I tried my best to keep neutral and inform instead of give too much of my own opinion.
      I feel the same way- people don’t want to fight for what they believe in in real life or make an effort. Tweeting something is not always enough. There is rarely a proper end game- it’s usually just a trend.

  41. I think that this is a really good, balanced view of cancel culture. I think that canceling certain things CAN bring awareness to larger issues (an on occasion has caused good to happen), but a lot of times canceling something can also be counterproductive or accomplish nothing.

    1. Thank you and I feel the exactly same way. In some circumstances it makes sense but when you start cancelling everyone for no reason it loses its purpose or how seriously people take it.

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