The benefits of cancel culture



Cancel culture sparks discourse across social media over its toxic reputation, though its benefits are becoming clearer. Public figures are finally being held accountable for their problematic actions after years of seeming untouchable.

Grace Price, Managing Editor

Cancel culture is a beneficial and necessary part of modern media. Unfortunately though, it is often met with contention as it is regarded as a way to publicly shame people for mistakes. It is considered toxic in how it focuses simply on ending a person’s career rather than fixing the mistake they were called out for. However, cancel culture serves a greater purpose in modern media as it encourages the public to voice their distaste with celebrities and influencers who often feel untouchable. Thus, those people who have gone unaccountable have a new opportunity to address their mistakes.

While the precise origin of cancel culture is unknown, an era of addressing public figure’s wrongdoings has been prevalent through social media for many years. For example, the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017, with assault survivors coming forward and exposing their abusers in order to show a sense of support and unity with other abuse survivors. Many survivors said they had been afraid to tell their stories as they believed people would not believe them or would blame them. However, with this movement allowing so many victims to come forward, it gave them a feeling of safety in knowing they were not alone.

This is the same for cancel culture. It allows for large groups to voice their concerns about a person’s behavior without being targeted individually. This is beneficial as it encourages people to be unafraid to point out when a person with great influence has made a mistake or is continuously causing problems. People with power and influence should be held accountable, regardless of their status and shouldn’t be able to punish those who are urging them to change.

Cancel culture encourages accountability and growth for the people who are called out. It normalizes bringing offensive behavior to the attention of many, thus promoting the person who has done the wrongdoing to take accountability and educate themselves for the future. The goal in bringing up someone’s mistakes or offensive behavior should not be to condemn them or ruin their career, but rather to demonstrate the person’s true nature.

Whereas they cannot take back their behavior, they can take responsibility and grow. This serves as a good model for their followers as it shows a mistake does not make someone evil, but their lack of empathy for their mistakes can. This same principle can be applied to cancel culture itself. It has flaws in how it has become synonymous with ostracizing people and promoting toxicity. However, it should be allowed to reform as well. Hopefully, it can evolve to become a way for people to feel comfortable calling out public figures when they have done wrong, and stray away from simply shaming to promoting growth. 

As it stands currently, cancel culture is a great starting point for allowing fans of public figures to encourage growth and diminishes the premise of celebrities’ actions being excusable simply because they have power. The current major issue with cancel culture is how it perpetuates ending a person’s career over a mistake and makes it seem impossible for a person to change. It gives too much leeway for hatefulness, though this is a problem with all of social media and the internet in general, not the fault of cancel culture. 

Overall, cancel culture is a beneficial part of modern media as it reduces the stigma around taking accountability and provides people a platform to voice their critiques on a public figure’s transgressions. As time goes on, cancel culture will continue to improve as more people on social media realize the power and voice it gives them and the opportunity it gives to those who have made mistakes.