Does cancel culture affect your mental health?
Cancel culture has been incredibly effective at fighting wrongdoing, especially sexism and racism. It demands social change and addresses many inequalities.
For example, In 2016, many members of the film community boycotted the Oscars because of the lack of diversity in the nominees. And canceling the Oscars led to a big social change. In 2019, the Oscars set a record for the most wins by Black nominees ever.
A community that unites against someone who has done something unforgivable can be empowering. It can also make people think twice before behaving inappropriately or posting offensive comments. But there are also negative effects resulting from cancel culture.
Unfortunately, canceling often turns into bullying. Like bullying, if you've been canceled, it might make you feel socially isolated and lonely. And research shows that loneliness is associated with higher anxiety, depression.
It can feel as if everyone is giving up on you before you've even had the chance to apologize. Instead of creating a communication to help you understand how your actions hurt them, the cancelers shut off all communication with you, essentially robbing you of the opportunity to learn and grow from your mistakes.
In order to truly grow and become a better person, you need to be able to realize a mistake was made, fix that mistake, and take the proper steps to make sure you don't make the same mistake again.
You have the right to set your own boundaries to decide what boosts you and what offends you. You also have the right to decide who and what you give your attention, money, and support to.
But canceling the offending person (or brand) doesn't actually make them go away. And if you don't have a close relationship with them, publicly shaming someone is unlikely to change their beliefs. All it does is to make them defend their egos and reputation.
Think about your own childhood. What if your parents canceled you every time you hurt or disappointed them? Where would you be now?
Cancel culture doesn’t just affect the canceled and the cancelers. It can also affect the bystanders’ mental health.
After seeing so many people canceled, some bystanders can get troubled with fear. They may become overwhelmed with anxiety that people will turn on them. Sometimes, others will find something in their pasts to use against them.
So, instead of saying something and drawing attention to themselves, they remain silent. Long after the incident is over, some bystanders can be weighed down with guilt. Guilt for not standing up for someone when they had the chance.
How to protect your mental health?
Though you can't control how others behave, you can control your behavior as well as how you respond to negativity. Here are some ways and advice:
- Think twice before posting. Try not to post when you're feeling overly emotional. If someone says or does something that pushes your hot buttons, don't rush to your keyboard. Instead, take a few deep breaths. Remember, the internet never forgets.
- Spend less time online. It's OK to take a break from social media. In fact, some say unplugging every now and then can help improve your mental health. According to one study, cutting back on your social media use decreases loneliness and depression.4
- Talk to someone. If you're experiencing cancel culture firsthand, consider reaching out to someone you trust, such as your parents or a close friend. If you're not comfortable talking to someone you know, consider seeking professional help. Having someone to confide in can make a huge difference in the way you feel.
In my point of view, I believe that cancel culture does affect your health, as I’ve just explained in this post. Cancel culture is bad for our mental health because it doesn’t allow us to make mistakes as well as learning how to give people 2nd chances and forgive them. At this rate, celebrities are afraid of old tweets.
I also believe that it’s bad that cancel culture can affect your mental health because it could cause anxiety and depression. It can feel isolated and lonely and in some situations some people might go against you before you could even apologize or correct your mistakes.