With the introduction of Covid-19, it has brought many things this year. It has given a rise to one thing in particular, which is “cancel culture.” Cancel culture is defined as withdrawing support for public figures after they have done or said something objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture isn’t a new concept, but there has been a resurgence of people on social media trying to cancel public figures.
For example, Doja Cat, a popular musician who had a run in with cancel culture, was accused of saying racial slurs in a chat room. No evidence was found, but there was an effort to try to cancel her.
Victor Valley College (VVC) students have experienced this phenomenon and shared some of their thoughts.
“I think cancel culture is a bit over the top,” said Ximena Guzman, a VVC student. “Some people take it too seriously and will try to cancel anyone for things that are small. Sometimes the people who get cancelled do deserve it. We should use cancel culture to try and better the people we look up to. They should be responsible with the platform they have.”
Some students think it could be a good use in the right hands. Meanwhile others think it’s negative. One anonymous VVC student said, “No, it’s not a positive thing because it is used to shame people and make them feel guilty, and it’s a negative way of communication.” It seems as if the negatives outweigh the positives.
“I believe it was positive at first, but in this day and age, anyone can get cancelled just by pronouncing something incorrectly,” said another anonymous Victor Valley College student. “I am not belittling the main focus of why cancel culture exists, but I am pointing out the flaw that comes with it. Cancel culture used to be true to what it was created for. Its purpose was to hold people with big platforms accountable, to make businesses accountable. We need cancel culture to hold racism, sexism, and cultural appropriation accountable.”
Students consider the rise in cancel culture complicated. “I think social media invented it and just continued to build to it,” said Guzman.
Some seem to think there is a direct correlation between Covid-19 and cancel culture. “I think the tension of Covid-19 has caused some people to become irritated and more prone to cancel culture, but I don’t think it is a direct result of Covid-19,” said a VVC student who preferred to remain anonymous for this interview.
“I think it is a result of frustration, fear and anxiety that a lot of people are feeling,” said yet another anonymous VVC student.
Some students don’t take cancel culture seriously. “I don’t take it too seriously because most of the people who have been ‘cancelled,’ I don’t really khow or care for,” said Guzman. Another anonymous student said, “It does more harm than good, so I don’t take it seriously.”
Other students consider it entertainment. “Of course, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t watch YouTube videos keeping up with all of the drama related to cancel culture,” said Guzman.
“In the beauty community I do see it as pure entertainment, yes,” said another anonymous VVC student.
Other students don’t think of it as entertainment but understand how it can be viewed that way. “No, I don’t consider it entertainment, but it does give people something to do,” said an anonymous VVC student.
Overall, I found that VVC students think cancel culture could be useful, but it has some negative attributes, including the toxicity for the online people involved. The toxicity of the online community can outweigh the good it can cause if people are aiming to just shame people. It seems that cancel culture is more about publicly shaming than actually trying to hold someone accountable for their actions.