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The eggshell generation or generation snowflake is a harsh term that describes the fundamental problem with our society nowadays. The reason? Simple, this generation will have to walk on eggshells for anything we do or say.
Cancel culture is a complicated, layered subject that boils down to the belief that people who are accused of partaking in bad behaviours are ‘cancelled’ and in succession erased from the media. Social media is the gasoline to this cultures lit match. What took multiple years for movements to institute progressive change, can nowadays befall on any unfortunate person who could’ve cracked a dim joke online before taking a plane, and be out of a job before they land.
Cancel culture is what can be described as a mob justice carried out by individuals to earn respect, by calling out people they’ve listed as adversaries to demonstrate their good character or their moral correctness. And similar to so many positive movements, what a shame that it was initially a promising movement. However, what occurs, is that individuals who do not aimlessly obey a specific standard are attacked by participants on the grounds of being “offensive” and “disrespectful”. It’s the ugly side of present-day society where more often than not, the persecution of innocent people befall on those who refuse to accept what society deems/considers politically ‘correct’ in an attempt to give occasion to their own qualms and cast upon society their ‘utopian’ vision.
At least to me, it seems like the situation where people override and reshape old words and actions to suit their own agendas. The problem I have is that they are not only just going after criminals or extremists, but are misusing & abusing these terms to suit their purposes. Now I’m all for holding people accountable for their words, but we’ve reached a point where people will deliberately dredge up things from someone’s past to attack them or otherwise stir controversy. A good example of this is James Gun, an award-winning director who has worked on many successful and beloved movie franchises such as Scooby-Doo, Avengers and his most renowned work- Guardians of the Galaxy. Past Twitter posts made by him, came to light after journalists mulled them up and made them public – which concerned him making a few unsavoury dark jokes. This, however, was enough of an outcry for social justice warriors to put pressure on Disney to fire and cancel one of his biggest career contracts, as well as be removed by Disney. But you might be thinking it’s plausible for someone to be held responsible, but an important point to note is that these inappropriate tweets that had surfaced were decades old. He was “cancelled” for his unsavoury tweets made from 2010 to 2014.
Publish shaming and ridicule such as cancel culture hinders compromise, reconciliation and forgiveness. Mistakes are what make people human- overuse of this culture medium over minor blunders fail to encourage empathy. It is important as an individual to resist what comprises of an angry mob mentality, and maintain reason.
To a standard, society is entering a gradual downward spiral of valuing what looks good instead of what works. When people cannot pursue workable solutions in fear of being frowned upon(cancelled), it reflects an unhealthy mainstream influence where people avoid topics that may otherwise be ‘controversial’. An example includes ‘obesity’ a topic most people tend to avoid; where one side argues for body diversity and acceptance, the other party quietly claims to glorify obesity promotes dangerous health consequences.
Calling people out is justified to agitators that seek to harm, but recognising the difference between a flirtatious person and predator is something the media blows out of proportion. A contributing factor to this is what passes the news or headlines. The narration of the situation and the storyteller is usually not objective by default, and seemingly only delivering the selective details that fit their narrative. Thus adding fuel to the fire. A study in 2018 found that only 51% of Australian news consumers ‘understood that the ABC is free of advertising and funded by taxpayers’. This suggests consumers are liable to being exposed to dis-information or news that may have poor journalism or political spin, but hence intensifying a ‘purge’ that they’re not truly up to date with.
This leads on to the fact that most people are quick to judge without knowing the situation or informed of certain details. That’s what makes cancel culture toxic, imagine having an accidental slip-up- and all of a sudden you wake up to find thousands or millions of people denouncing and bashing you, regardless of your point of view or past accomplishments. Social media has exacerbated the standard where people can happily and easily jump on the cancelling band-wagon, and be more vicious under the pretence of anonymity from the internet. After all, there is no sense of personal identity under the protection of the collective pack. Frankly situations like this occur all the time; in 2016, Johnny Depp the alleged abuser of Amber Heard fell from grace when floods of people rushed to ‘cancel’ him after his wife accused Johhny of domestic abuse. Rushing and jumping to conclusions, people began to “cancel” him resulting in major financial losses, being dropped from the main role in a movie franchise and a poor state of mind. When in actual fact; confession audio from Amber Heard proved the contrary. Johnny was indeed the real victim in the abusive relationship but was callously mocked and maliciously condemned. This is evidence that we as a collective need to bring about the need to develop more critical empathetic thinking skills.
The overgeneralization that cancels culture is harmful is also unaligned- its effects are beneficial yet it somehow hinders us in another. As technology has allowed physical life to become easier, quality of life has been prioritised and our aim to be a satisfied society means we developed opposition and dissent to what causes us emotional distress -hence the creation of cancel culture. Gradually we continue to build a larger list of what is acceptable and naturally, that means we become more sensitive. The ability for cancel culture to potentially bring about a positive window of opportunity is significant, however, having a group of self-appointed morality guardians deciding what and who is acceptable is unreliable and troubling. If nothing else, past history and events have shown us, we get taxing results when we trust people to judge fairly and reasonably. Nonetheless, the way we conduct our approach towards cancelling schemes determines its effect, but as a society, we should choose to partake in more informed decisions and more morally upstanding social justice work.
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