WHY CANCEL CULTURE IS TOXIC TO MENTAL HEALTH

It’s no news that Ostracisation can do substantial damage to its victims if not properly managed. Talking about damage, I think what’s worse might be the mental state it leaves the individual directly involved if not managed well. We can say that cancel culture or call_out culture is an evolved way of ostracising people from a circle. This circle could be on social media or in person.

Cancel culture or calling_out culture is no new word on the media. We can trace this far back to Nile Rodgers’ album “take it off“, in 1981 with the song ‘your love is canceled’. This was prompted by a bad relationship he found himself in, with the young lady expecting him to misuse his status as a celebrity on her behalf. Another mention of it was made in 1991 by Barry Micheal Cooper, referring to a woman being ‘canceled’ on his movie “New Jack City”. Afterward, this was made mention in 2014 at the #Me too campaign by activist Suey Park on Twitter with the hashtag ‘cancel Colbert. By 2015 the cancel culture had already gained so much recognition on the social media space.

Many believe that canceling helps to let people know their faults but this obviously can be wrong as it does not permit the opportunity for the canceled individual to express his opinions, apologize or even give room for investigation. According to Kimberly Wilson a Chartered Psychologist, ‘”Fundamentally Cancelling is all about shame. Shame emerges in response to the feeling that we have transgressed some agreed social rule and lost status within the group”.  She asserted that there is a role shame plays in our survival. It’s bad enough for one to be expelled from your circle for wrongdoing but being democratized against, having that mindset that “we can cancel anyone we like” is not healthy. She went further to mention some reasons why cancel culture is toxic to mental health. These include;

  • The “piles-on”. Within few minutes the canceled person has thousands of people canceling you. Wilson believes this could even be one of the greatest source of mental health danger.
  • For the Canceled person, you may feel like the world is against you especially for some young persons who spend most of the time online. Almost shutting out the rest of the world
  • According to Vogue.co.Uk cancelling teaches that when someone teaches what you don’t like or champions someone or does something we don’t like we stop supporting them immediately. It gives no place for a middle ground
  • Cancelling does not give room for victims to apologize or even express their opinions. In that case because the victim was wrong, no place is given to hear or know the person’s reasons for the wrongdoing
  • In some cases one might even be going through some emotional challenge at the time and cancelling at this point could lead to some serious trouble to their mental health