The Positive Effects of Cancel Culture

Samika Varma


Over quarantine, a tremendous amount of hate has been directed towards celebrities. Whether it's Shane Dawson, an old fashioned YouTuber, or Madison Beer, the face of the hate spreading over TikTok, they are all facing backlash for inexcusable things they have done. 


Given the events that we’ve seen unfold this year, people have initiated the first step towards educating themselves about situations that genuinely matter. This resulted in the idea of “cancelling” someone for doing something unsavoury being thrown around more often than usual. “Cancel Culture” refers to the casualness with which celebrities are now deemed “cancelled”; recently, those in the public eye have been cancelled for anything from alleged paedophilia to simply exposing other influencers. People have developed an appetite for damaging others’ self-image, rather than directing their attention towards important issues in the world.


Recently, the number of people who have started becoming socially and politically active has increased; even supporters call out their idols for actions that have gone unnoticed or ignored because of their free pass as a celebrity. 


From being called out for partying to pedophilic behaviour, the offences that have been committed are surfacing. This is a positive outcome. Most celebrities will never face consequences for their ignorant and disgusting behaviour and it’s time they realise the impact they have in the world, especially as their most active supporters are primarily younger individuals. By being self-aware as a community and by constantly being supportive of one another when it comes to serious issues – from racism to Covid safety to cultural appropriation – we have only grown stronger as a community. There seems to have been a drastic change in our society, as more celebrities are cautious about what they say and have issued apologies for past actions. As a community, we are continuing to grow every day. 


Although cancel culture has been beneficial towards key issues and movements, there are instances where it is more toxic than helpful. Take Chase Hudson for example. He blew up in early January of this year,  and people loved him for his personality and charms. Eventually, things started spiralling for him when people decided they were unhappy with his body. They channelled the potential energy of doing something good into attacking a teenager. As this was happening, the TikTok star expressed his struggles with body image and the negativity that was so prevalent in his life as it took a toll on his mental health. He started focusing more on spreading positivity. 


Perhaps the biggest plus point of cancel culture came to light in June when the BLM movement gained more traction; here, people became more aware of their actions and noticed the distinct differences between what was significant and what wasn’t. And then, all of a sudden– there were posts supporting the BLM movements and people participating in protests, which resulted in influencers posting more about global issues and educating themselves and their followers. 

Soon, the undivided attention of our generation became focused on calling attention to police officers who abuse their power, to the president of the United States and his transgressions, and to issues of our rights. And amidst this climate, our attention turned to influencers, who are often not only ignorant towards taking the right protocols during a pandemic but also chose not to participate in an act of humanity and to show their support towards marginalized communities. 

Thankfully, as we finally do something that has meaning to not only us but an entire community of people, we face the positive consequences. We’ve started signing petitions to give police officers who have committed crime their rightful sentence, now, celebrity figures are issuing apologies and being more cautious; meanwhile, we continue to represent ourselves as the changemakers of our world. Therefore, as citizens of the world, we were able to take the power we hold and use it effectively to make a difference.