Cancel Culture


Often we hear the phrase “cancel culture” in political speeches, debates and media reports. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as “the practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure” and lists the following quotes:

For those of you who aren’t aware, cancel culture refers to the mass withdrawal of support from public figures or celebrities who have done things that aren’t socially accepted today. This practice of “canceling” or mass shaming often occurs on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

— Demetria Slyt (source: Merriam Webster dictionary)

The relative difficulty of doing something good and the prolonged waiting period to receive credit for it is why cancel culture has flourished. It offers quicker social rewards.

— Rob Henderson (source: Merriam Webster dictionary)

Cancel culture is supported as a tool to stop offensive and harmful behavior, while others find it problematic and toxic.

— Elise Krumholz (source: Merriam Webster dictionary)

Evan Gerstmann, author and writer defines Cancel Culture in a Forbes article as follows:

“A highly punitive approach to disagreement or perceived transgressions, based on strict fidelity to ideology (usually progressive) that elevates performative outrage over dialogue, factual inquiry, or respect for values such as free speech or fair process. It rejects the value of ideological diversity. It is often exercised by powerful corporations, editors, academic administrators, or unaccountable attackers operating through anonymous social media platforms. It rejects the distinction between offense and harm, between disagreement and discrimination, and between words and actions. It often reduces complex issues to a binary view such as one can only be “anti-racist” or “racist.” It rejects the importance of a person’s intent in making a statement and refuses to take into account how long ago a statement was made, the person’s age at the time they made it, or whether the statement in any way reflects a person’s current thinking.”

According this verywellmind article discusses effect cancel culture on the minds of Cancelled, Canceler and the Bystander and suggests strategies to protect mental health resulting from it.