Selective Cancel Culture is Just Misogyny Wrapped in Different Packaging
We have all heard of cancel culture and of people talking about how snowflakes are cancelling everything. But what does it actually mean? Does it work and why does it affect women in Hollywood more than men?
Cancel culture according to Merriam-Webster is “ the practice or the tendency of engaging in mass cancelling…as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure.”
The first time we heard the phrase “cancel” is in the 1991 movie New Jack City with Wesley Snipes playing a gangster who says “cancel that bitch” when a woman screams at him for being cold-hearted. We hear the phrase again in 2014 in Love & Hip Hop, the popular reality show documenting the lives of hip-hop artists, where the term became much more used in the African-American community.
#MeToo Movement and Cancel Culture
The term later skyrocketed in the #Metoo movement wherein women called out powerful men who carried out sexual assault. Misogyny is very prevalent in our society and in the academic journal Misogyny, feminism, and sexual harassment, theorists Kalpana Srivastava, Suprakash, P.S Bhat and Samiksha Sahu analyse what misogyny means, a term “derived from the Ancient Greek word “mīsoguníā”, which means hatred towards women…,[it] has taken shape in multiple forms such as male privilege, patriarchy, gender discrimination, sexual harassment, belittling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification.”
This phenomenon tends to happen to women much more than it does to men. For example, Jennifer Lawrence, one of the most popular actresses in the mid-2010s, suffered the cruel fate of hate from the media. The term often used is called “The Jennifer Lawrence Pipeline”–created on Tik Tok by Keara Sullivan–implying whatever Lawrence did she was hated for while compared to Chris Brown who in 2009 attacked popstar Rihanna and in 2014 punched his then-girlfriend Karrueche Tran, his music is always trending on Tik Tok despite his violence and colourist behaviour. Even women support Chris Brown, excusing his dangerous past.
This doesn’t just happen in Hollywood, this selective cancelling also happens in the beauty community. Jeffree Star, a makeup entrepreneur and YouTuber had a very disturbing past of racism, association with alleged paedophiles and misogynistic tendencies to black women was able to turn his hate around in just one video despite still being racist just months before his apology video.
Laura Lee another YouTuber who found out of being racist when fans of Jeffree leaked her tweets was attacked for weeks as well as lost brand deals and days and was cancelled for doing the exact same thing as Jeffree why did he get unscathed got many documentaries about him and his products kept selling out whereas Laura Lee had to go into hiding for months, even the way women attacked Laura and made excuses for Jeffree was concerning highlighting that internalised misogyny is an issue amongst certain women compared to men.
In Hollywood, we pick and choose whom we love and it is no coincidence we put women on a pedestal and kick them when they are down compared to men who do far more heinous crimes before they are taken down, Millie Bobby Brown and Billie Eilish have both spoken about Drake texting them.
Drake was in his early 30s whilst Bobby was 16 and Billie just turned 20, yet Drake is still able to very popular why is no one cancelling a man talking to young girls? Yet Lizzo is attacked on the app almost every day for being her true authentic self. Double standards in the media are nothing new however it seems like it has gotten worse in the digital age.
Men are rarely held accountable it takes a lot for a man to face consequences look at R Kelly it took over 20 years for the man to be arrested, and it shows that despite making progress with feminism we still have a long way to go in terms of making things equal. Cancel culture does not work it has been proven that the person’s past gets bought up then the public forgives them however when cancel culture happens it hits women way more than it does men. Cancel culture doesn’t work as we have seen time and time again that the public will forgive them and move on as if nothing has happened.
Women in the media are subjected to so much abuse on the internet and cancel culture of course men get cancelled but it takes a longer time for them to lose anything compared to women. Of course, no one should be cancelled for the past because people grow and evolve over the years however there are huge disparities between men and women getting cancelled, for example, Matt Hancock the health minister who was caught cheating on his wife during the pandemic joined I am a celebrity in 2022 despite the energy crisis in the UK.
Pre cancel era Janet Jackson was blackballed from Hollywood and TV stations when her top got exposed by Justin Timberlake, this was in 2004, she was treated so badly by the media and Justin Timberlake made jokes about it, as well as the terrible treatment of Britney Spears exposing that she lost her virginity to him in 2003. Only last year he apologised when he realised that people weren’t happy with him, and the documentary put him in a bad light.
In the UK
You Gov UK, asked British people their thoughts on cancel culture “Only a third of Britons (35%) say they think they know what cancel culture means. Almost two-thirds don’t know what it means (65%), including close to four in ten who’ve never heard the expression in the first place (38%). Young people are more familiar with cancel culture, with 45% of 18-24-year-olds saying they know what it is, compared to 40% of 25-49-year-olds, 31% of 50-64-year-olds, and 26% of those aged 65 and above”.
This highlights the dangerous misogyny that we are still facing in 2022, cancel culture isn’t right yet we are quick to demean and attack any women who do something that isn’t serious and ready to cancel her for any tiny thing just because we don’t like her. Why do we need to cancel someone just because we don’t like her especially if she hasn’t done anything problematic?