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We Need To Talk About Cancel Culture And It’s Toxic Effects On Mental Health

We Need To Talk About Cancel Culture And It’s Toxic Effects On Mental Health

Róisín Lynch

We experienced a lot of cancelations throughout 2020 and 2021, thanks a lot COVID! While we saw many plans and commitments get cut, the theme of cancelation stretched far beyond the pandemic. 2020 saw the growth of cancel culture and this has extended in to 2021.

As if our mental health wasn’t suffering enough with the devastating effects of the pandemic, cancel culture sure served as the icing on the cake for those unfortunate souls who had to experience cancel culture first hand.

Let’s put a stop to cancel culture because we have suffered enough mentally and this movement definitely isn’t helping.

What is cancel culture? 

Cancel culture which also has been named “call-out culture” is a modern movement which involves “cancelling” or removing someone from social and professional circles. This can be through social media platforms or in person.

Where cancel culture is involved there is very little room for error and the slightest hiccup or mistake can result in a person being cancelled.

Just when we thought we were overcoming the need to constantly appear perfect on social media, cancel culture has decided to make an entrance.

What happens when someone is cancelled

When someone gets cancelled for whatever reason they are essentially boycotted by a large group of people. These people can either be in their fan base or not. The effect of this boycott sees massive declines in the persons fanbase and career progression. Once you have been cancelled it can be quite difficult to redeem yourself.

What would it feel like to be cancelled 

Cancel culture is typically reserved for public figures and celebrities who have a fan base that can essentially cancel them. This can make it difficult for everyday folk to relate to the pain of being cancelled. Even if what the person did or said was wrong, we all make mistakes. The issue with cancel culture is there doesn’t seem to be much of a threshold for error.  Any one off  comment or even statements that are dug up from the past can result in someone getting cancelled.

The easiest way to explain what cancel culture feels like would be saying something, regretting it and all of a sudden no one, not even some of your friends will talk to you. A feeling that no one cares about you and that one comment has completely defined you as a person.

It would be like all of your friends just moving on without you and you are left there sitting in guilt and regret, feeling incredibly alone, with no one to talk to.

How this movement is incredibly toxic and devastating for our mental health 

Calling out bad behaviour is important and speaking up when you think someone has said something offensive and wrong is a good thing. It helps our society progress and creates a more equal and fair world for everyone.

The difference between correcting someone on something they said and cancelling them is that cancel culture is done using shame and gives the person no opportunity to apologise and be forgiven for their mistake.

When someone is cancelled it is usually fuelled by anonymous users on line. It is usually followed by a pact of users calling out the person in question. The aim of the movement is to get as much people on board to shame the person for what they have done. It is like making a mistake and a hall full of people start crowding in to yell at you and point fingers. Giving you no chance to defend yourself or even own up to your mistake.

Cancel culture works by building momentum. The noise caused by the online users comes across as much more believable than anything the person being cancelled could ever defend them self with. It is a cruel and manipulative form of calling people out and offers no room for progression or growth. The motive behind calling someone out should be to help them and others grow. Cancelling them does absolutely nothing.

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What cancel culture teaches us is that if someone does something wrong, or speaks up on something the majority don’t agree with then we must stop supporting them immediately, no if’s or buts. They are over, cancelled, finished and never to be heard from again. They are then branded with the mark of cancellation, the dreaded #isoverparty hash tag.

What can we do instead of cancelling someone?

No one’s perfect, we all say things, do things that can come across wrong. Sometimes we say something without realising that it might be hurtful or offensive to some people. We are all human. The way we progress and grow is by learning from our mistakes. The issue with cancel culture is that it achieves absolutely nothing. It only gives the pack of cancellers an ego boost and leaves the person being cancelled suffering with horrific mental side effects such as guilt, paranoia, embarrassment and even depression.

Let’s do something progressive instead. It is important to speak up and point out what is wrong with something that has been said. We still have so much work to do to make this world a fairer place for everyone.

When you hear someone saying something that could be hurtful for another member of society, speak up on it but don’t cancel the person. The goal here is to educate the person who made the remark on why it was wrong and educate others to not repeat similar things. This how we all learn and grow, cancelling someone is not

What are your views on cancel culture? 

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