By Alex Hernandez-Zavala
Cancel culture has plagued many people, especially celebrities and big businesses. Whatever your stance on cancel culture may be, cancel culture is an influential force.
However, influential or not, cancel culture is an asinine side effect of digital culture’s attempt on “inclusiveness.” Cancel culture does more harm than good, as the methods in which people get canceled are not constructive, and the snowball effects foster an environment of hate which leads nowhere.
First, it’s essential to understand the purpose of cancel culture. A sociological approach to defining cancel culture is a movement in which multiple people attempt to ridicule something in the hope of social change.
An article by Bandt reports the recent outrage brought about by Kendall Jenner and her appearance in an 818 tequila advertisement. People were outraged because she wore Mexican farmworker clothes while riding on horseback. Naturally, people took to Twitter expressing their outrage.
According to the article, people found that “Her brand tequila818 was criticised for appropriating a Mexican product.” Don’t get my point twisted; I am not defending Jenner’s choice of apparel, nor am I defending the Kardashian family, far from it. However, I don’t think threatening and belittling Kendall Jenner is constructive or deserved.
A constructive way of handling this situation would be to sincerely express one’s feelings about their disagreement without any hasty accusations or hateful rhetoric. Threatening Jenner does not achieve anything.
The University of Central Florida has also questioned the unconstructive nature of cancel culture. According to Amanda Koontz, “It puts great responsibility on an individual, and it does not [always] encourage actual societal change. We haven’t taken care of the larger institutional or systemic issues.”
Instead of people coming together and advocating for meaningful change, cancel culture advocates for the individual to single-handedly foster “social change” through meaningless bullying and harassment.
Cancel culture is not worth following.
Though, recently, people have started fighting back against cancel culture. Surprisingly enough, the tip of the spear being Chris Rock. In an article by TheSource, Chris Rock claims that cancel culture leads to bland entertainment, “Things get boring. I see a lot of unfunny comedians, unfunny TV shows, unfunny movies because people are scared to make a move and that’s not a good place to be.”
Though I don’t entirely agree with Chris Rock’s view of the tediousness of the industry due to cancel culture, I think he’s headed in the right direction. If more celebrities point out the flaws of cancel culture, then cancel culture can morph into a constructive form that evokes social change.
However, cancel culture can have its good moments. A 26-foot tall statue of Marilyn Monroe has been scrutinized by cancel culture, according to WBAP. This is an instance where the removal of this statue is necessary. Due to the objectifying nature Marilyn Monroe represents, a 26-foot tall statue with her skirt blowing upward may be insensitive for modern-day audiences.
Cancel culture is effectively utilized here––especially because no one individual person is extensively bombarded with hate and threats.
Nevertheless, to reiterate further, cancel culture of contemporary times doesn’t foster an environment for social change. Instead, it creates a hateful environment that allows people to hop on a bandwagon without information. Though cancel culture can be a legitimate tool for social change, as with the Marilyn Monroe incident, more often than not, it’s used to spread polarized division instead of promoting compromise. It’s shameful to see cancel culture be perpetually violent as it has the potential to positively impact social change cohesively.
Alex Hernandez-Zavala is a first-year student at UC Davis, double majoring in Psychology and Sociology. He was born in the Central Valley and raised in Salinas, California.
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