Cancel Culture | Meaning, Origin and Mental Health Effects

Cancel Culture is a form of rejecting or boycotting of a person, group, product, brand, or anything else because of a controversial or disagreeable issue. According to one definition, “the popular practice of withdrawing support for public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive” is known as cancel culture. This canceling is frequently “performed on social media in the form of group shaming.”

Basically, Cancel Culture is to cancel something is that a person or group decides not to continue to support that person or item due to an actual or perceived infraction.

Origin of Cancel Culture

In the past, members of the Black LGBTQ+ community would frequently use the word “cancel” on social media to express their displeasure of another person’s behavior. Not until much later did people realize that canceling someone also meant avoiding them in the workplace.

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Although canceling is frequently used as a defense against sexism, the word itself seems to have its roots in sexist humor. One of the early allusions was made in the 1991 movie New Jack City. When referring to a girlfriend, Wesley Snipes’ character Nino Brown snarls, “Cancel that [expletive]. I’ll purchase another.

Reasons for Cancel Culture

  • To serve as a teaching moment
  • To get the person to consider the consequences of their statements
  • To expose racism or sexism
  • To get people to think before they speak
  • To hold someone accountable for their statements or behaviors

Impact of Cancel Culture

Cancel culture can aid with the fight against injustice and inequality. For instance, a large portion of the film industry boycotted the Oscars in 2016 due to the lack of diversity among the nominations. As a result, social transformation was aided, and in 2019, the Oscars nominated the Black directors ever, setting a record.

See Also: How to Help Your Kids Deal with Culture Shock?

A group of people coming together for a same goal can be empowering. Additionally, it may encourage people to pause before engaging in inappropriate behavior or publishing potentially hurtful ideas and viewpoints.

Mental Health Effects

The cancel culture also has drawbacks, some of which are detrimental to mental health. Whether you are the one being canceled, the one canceling, or a witness, the effect of the cancel culture on mental health varies.

Effects on the Canceled

Sadly, canceling frequently results in bullying. Similar to bullying, being canceled can make you feel alienated from others and lonely. Additionally, studies demonstrate a link between loneliness and greater incidence of anxiety, despair, and suicide.

Cancel Culture
Mental Health Effects of Bullying

Effects on the Canceler

You have the right to establish your own boundaries and to choose what inspires you and what makes you uncomfortable. You also have the freedom to select who and what you pay attention to, support financially, and support.

However, removing the offending person (or brand) doesn’t necessarily result in a shift in the offender’s beliefs or long-term transformation. They might even become more determined to maintain their reputation and ego.

Effects on the Bystander

Not only are the canceled and the cancelers impacted by the cancel culture. The emotional health of those watching can likewise suffer greatly.

Some onlookers are paralyzed with terror after witnessing so many people getting canceled. They become paralyzed by fear that if they truly express themselves, people will reject them. This could lead individuals to suppress their feelings rather than discussing and processing them with others.

Examples of this Culture

There are several examples of Cancel Culture:

  • J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was fired after offending several transgender people with a comment she made on Twitter in June 2020. Over 46,000 people commented on the tweet in question, which received over 95,000 retweets.
  • Mike Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow, was canceled in 2021 after supporting the claims of voter fraud against former President Donald Trump. At least two banks joined in on the canceling in 2022 after phone call recordings were subpoenaed by the January 6 House select committee, ultimately telling Lindell to “leave their bank” as he was a “reputation risk.”

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