Ras­sis­mus, Homo­pho­bie. Miso­gy­nie: Kann schlich­te sozia­le Igno­ranz all die­se Pro­ble­me wirk­lich lösen?

In recent years, the gene­ral public has beco­me more awa­re of social jus­ti­ce and inher­ent­ly mista­kes and actions of cele­bri­ties or famous peop­le. This has led to a phe­no­me­non cal­led „can­cel culture”.

Hold people of their actions

The idea of “can­cel cul­tu­re” is to hold peop­le of their actions, which can vary from racism, homo­pho­bia, miso­gy­ny and trans­pho­bia, accoun­ta­ble. This has, in theo­ry, ulti­mate­ly led to peop­le being “can­cel­led”, which means peop­le stop­ping to sup­port and to boy­cott them. On one hand, hol­ding peop­le accoun­ta­ble for their actions is some­thing that is vital for a func­tio­n­ing socie­ty, but cri­tics claim that this “can­cel cul­tu­re” is toxic and des­troys peop­le and their lives.  But how real is “can­cel cul­tu­re” actual­ly? Can it real­ly end someone’s care­er? And how important is someone’s can­cel­la­ti­on for the people? 

“Cancel culture” in practice

Well, like most things the­re isn’t one right ans­wer.  Being can­cel­led often depends on who you are, why you are can­cel­led, and how many peop­le can­cel you. The­re have been cele­bri­ties, who have been can­cel­led, and becau­se of that their care­ers have suf­fe­red or the­re were con­se­quen­ces from actu­al law enfor­ce­ment. A good examp­le for this is R. Kel­ly, as his actions of sexu­al mis­con­duct were actual­ly hor­ri­ble enough for him to be impr­i­son­ed.  But in most cases, one would have to say, that “can­cel cul­tu­re” isn’t as effec­ti­ve as cri­tics claim it to be.

Often famous peop­le get „can­cel­led” by a too small group of peop­le for some­thing that isn’t deemed as bad enough to effec­tively get someo­ne can­cel­led or the per­son who is being can­cel­led is almost immu­ne to can­cel­la­ti­on. An examp­le for that would be Logan Paul, an Ame­ri­can you­tuber, who has been can­cel­led nume­rous times, ran­ging from having ques­tion­ab­le views on abor­ti­on to the extent of filming a dead body and put­ting it on his You­Tube chan­nel. Even though he has been deemed as can­cel­led nume­rous times, he still has over 21 mil­li­on sub­scri­bers to this date.

It has to be said that in com­pa­ri­son to all the peop­le who watch You­Tube, watch TV, lis­ten to music or just gene­ral­ly sup­port famous peop­le in a way, the peop­le who can­cel peop­le are part of a mino­ri­ty. This leads to peop­le not always knowing that the per­son, who­se art or pro­duct they’­re enjoy­ing and con­suming, did some­thing sub­jec­tively bad. An example

for that is Woo­dy Allen, as he is one of the most influ­en­ti­al and suc­cess­ful direc­tors of the past few deca­des, but has been accu­sed for sexu­al mis­con­duct, which hasn’t stop­ped his movies from being suc­cess­ful.  One might say that “can­cel­ling” peop­le only works, if their tar­get audi­ence is made of peop­le who are awa­re of “can­cel cul­tu­re”, aka youn­ger people.

But even peop­le, who­se tar­get audi­ence is teens, don’t always get can­cel­led, in a way that their care­ers are affec­ted. This app­lies to Jef­free Star, ano­t­her you­tuber, who has made incredi­b­ly racist and sexist state­ments and has been cal­led out mul­ti­ple times for bashing peop­le and say­ing things that can be con­si­de­red as bul­ly­ing, while still having over 18 mil­li­on sub­scri­bers on his You­Tube chan­nel. Or Chris Brown, who didn’t only ass­ault Rihan­na in 2009, until she had to be hos­pi­ta­li­zed, but also had mul­ti­ple con­fir­med accu­sa­ti­ons of domestic abu­se and fel­o­ny ass­ault, but still to this day has a thri­ving music care­er and over 27 mil­li­on mon­th­ly lis­teners on Spotify.

Not as effective as desired

In con­clu­si­on, it can be said, that, even though at times can­cel cul­tu­re leads to peop­le losing fans and actual­ly expe­ri­en­cing con­se­quen­ces from their actions, most times it leads to peop­le eit­her only being “can­cel­led” for a short peri­od of time, so that their care­ers aren’t effec­ted, or only being seen as “can­cel­led” by not enough peop­le for it to actual­ly make a dif­fe­rence. So, even though the con­stant cal­ling out of peop­le for may­be even small mista­kes may be seen as toxic, the actu­al dama­ge “can­cel cul­tu­re” does to most cele­bri­ties is very small. In my per­so­nal opi­ni­on, “can­cel cul­tu­re” isn’t as effec­ti­ve at des­troy­ing peop­le, as peop­le claim it to be, as we can see mul­ti­ple cele­bri­ties doing sub­jec­tively wrong and bad things, but not actual­ly suf­fe­ring under the power of “can­cel cul­tu­re” and still having a thri­ving career.

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