Cancel Culture: The Double-Edged Blade of The Social World
In a world where social media lets people from all over the world connect instantly, a culture of instant judgment has emerged. In the digital age, people record and share what they see almost instantly — and with millions of eyes online at any given time, you have to be extremely careful. A single bad decision can ruin your reputation with a single click — or worse — you might get 'canceled!'
What is cancel culture?
Cancel culture is when people collectively withdraw their support for a social figure or group that has shown something they regard as offensive. When a person is ‘canceled,’ it usually happens through a social media platform or face to face. In many cases, the one getting ‘canceled’ deals with ostracizing from his/her community. Cancel culture itself is a two-edged sword. While it can bring justice when somebody does something truly heinous, it can also devastate the individual when he or she does something innocent.
Pros of Cancel Culture
There's a bright side to every situation — it might be hard to see at the moment, but when we look back objectively, we can see how everything happens for a reason. Let’s say no more and list out its pros.
Get Justice Where The System Fails
Have you heard of the infamous “Kim Ji Soo Bullying” scandal? It’s where famous Korean Actor Kim Ji Soo was exposed for being a vicious bully back in his school days. Back then, his victims could not get justice for the abuse they had suffered at his hands, but after speaking out the truth, the world saw Kim Ji Soo in a different light. Now, Kim Ji Soo was even replaced in his latest drama and got ‘canceled’ by the netizens and his fans.
It Gives Voice to Those with ‘Lesser Power’
In this society, power is essential because with power comes privileges. So, what happens to those with ‘lesser power’? The School of Performing Arts in Seoul (SOPA) was once praised for being the alma mater of many celebrities. However, after a group of students from SOPA released a performance video that reveals the corruption of the management and the degradation of the students, things changed! By canceling the school, the students, who SOPA once overpowered, could make a change. SOPA was then ‘canceled’.
Awareness and Sensitivity on Certain Topics
The world is now connected, and with that connection comes the merging of cultures and joint problems. You better make yourself conscious and sensitive on specific topics because the things you know may not be the same for other people. Take Vicky Wei, a former YG trainee, who said the n-word without holding back 15 times in a performance video, causing an outcry in the community. Isn't a future global pop star supposed to be mindful of cultural words like that? Vickey Wei was then ‘canceled’!
Cons of Cancel Culture
While there are many benefits to cancel culture, there are also some drawbacks. The reactivity of social media has led to an unhealthy culture where objectionable opinions are immediately met with harsh criticism. Here are the cons that come with 'cancel culture.'
Abuse of Cancel Culture
Sometimes people cancel someone even for the smallest things, or sometimes people cancel others, even when they don't deserve it. Take Chen, a member of EXO, for example. He was canceled for admitting that he was in love and had a family. After his confession, he was pressured to leave the group. Such an event took a toll not only on the EXO members but also on the entire fandom.
Can Amount to Cyber Bullying
Cancel culture can get very overboard to the point where derogatory terms, insults, and even death threats are used against someone. Take Xiao Zhan, a Chinese singer and actor, and his AO3 incident. After being canceled for something he had no control over, Xiao Zhan received death threats, gruesome images sent online, and even people going so far as to spend large amounts of money to tarnish his image.
Canceling Without Trial
The internet's cancel culture can be a threat to public justice. Without a trial and proper process, anyone deemed offensive by the masses could quickly be condemned. Even though many say that cancel culture serves as a justice system that our legal institutions don't provide, it still leads to innocent people being persecuted. With the rise of social media and cancel culture, one's words or actions will not be taken lightly.
Too much of this type of culture can be toxic. The internet, where people can say what they want, can be very damaging. The silver lining is that the awareness it brings can expose others for their wrong-doing. Words and actions carry a lot of weight in social media — it's important to be careful with what you say, and more importantly, how you say it. There's no undo button when things go wrong; once you've hurt someone, the words stay out there for good. Social media gives us powerful tools, and it's up to us how we use them.