While cancel culture has been discussed in a variety of different ways, the term has taken on a pejorative meaning that is, in many ways, unearned. Cancel culture is theoretically rooted in expecting people to pay consequences for bad behavior. Harvey Weinstein may have been one of the most notable celebrities to have been canceled, as his social status and influence waned dramatically after numerous allegations of sexual abuse against women in Hollywood. However, cancel culture came reflect anyone getting changed or discontinued because of reasons having to do with any type of changing cultural norm, not just because of outcry against them. As a result, while people are correctly labeling many celebrities are canceled, they are also falsely calling other things canceled because of changes. This essay explores cancel culture, its real casualties, and whether those casualties are deserved.
Cancel Culture Essay Titles
1. Cancel Culture: Why Is There a Negative Connotation to Accountability?
2. The Threat of Cancel Culture: Does It Stifle Free Speech?
3. Majority Ideals and Cancel Culture: Is the Threat Real?
4. The Politics of Cancel Culture
5. Cancelling a Celebrity: How People Without Power Can Impact Influencers
Cancel Culture Essay Topics
1. Why changing the name of Aunt Jemima is long overdue.
2. J.K. Rowling, transphobia, and cancel culture: how a once-revered liberal icon outed herself as transphobic and got canceled.
3. Can cancel culture go too far?
4. How the right uses the term “cancel culture” to denigrate movements to the left, leaving the United States far to the right, politically and socially, of most other industrialized nations.
5. A first look at cancel culture and celebrities; how the Me-Too Movement brought attention to sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood and brought down the careers of several powerful men who were habitual sexual harassers.
Cancel Culture Essay Outline
A. Define cancel culture
B. Why the term is mis-used
C. Things that have been called canceled but are not really canceled
1. Aunt Jemima
2. Mr. Potato Head
3. Dr. Seuss
D. People who have been canceled
E. Thesis statement: While the term “cancel culture” has become increasingly popular in 2020 and 2021, many examples of things that have been canceled are actually simply things evolving with changing cultural norms. However, holding people accountable for their actions and giving them consequences, which may make them unemployable, is a valid example of cancel culture.
II. Defining cancel culture
III. Aunt Jemima
IV. Mr. Potato Head
V. Dr. Seuss
A. J.K. Rowling
B. Ellen Degeneres
C. Anna Wintour
D. Hilaria Baldwin
E. Jeffree Star
F. Kirstie Alley
G. Bryan Adams
H. Abby Lee Miller
A. Restate thesis
B. Define cancel culture
D. Toys and games
E. Call to action
Title: Casualties of Cancel Culture
Hook Sentence: Much has been made of cancel culture, with many people decrying it as a toxic new trend, but cancel culture is neither toxic nor new, it is simply a new name for accountability.
For a term whose definition is highly-debated, the basics of cancel culture are relatively straightforward. Once the public, usually the internet, discovers something potentially offensive that a person has done, they use available resources, again usually the internet, to bring attention to the action and try to get consequences or redress for the behavior. However, the simplicity of the term takes away some of the nuance involved in its application. As a result, some of the things that are frequently discussed as “canceled” have not been canceled at all. Aunt Jemima, Mr. Potato Head, Monopoly, and Dr. Seuss have all undergone some significant changes in recent history, which many people have decried as them being canceled. However, they have not been canceled; not only are they still available, albeit with some changes for most of them, but their changes were also the result of internal decision making. Better examples of how cancel culture really works focuses on people. J.K. Rowling, Ellen DeGeneres, Anna Wintour, Hilaria Baldwin, Jeffree Star, Kirstie Alley, Bryan Adams, and Abby Lee Miller are all examples of celebrities who have been canceled because of bad behavior.
While the term “cancel culture” has become increasingly popular in 2020 and 2021, many examples of things that have been canceled are actually simply things evolving with changing cultural norms. However, holding people accountable for their actions and giving them consequences, which may make them unemployable, is a valid example of cancel culture.
According to Wikipedia, the term “cancel culture” refers to a “modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles- whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those who are subjected to this ostracism are said to have been ‘canceled’” (Wikipedia, 2021). While cancel culture seems like a modern phenomenon, it is actually an extension of the history of boycotting products, people, or services, which has been an effective way for consumers to exercise financial power throughout the history of capitalism. More recently, it is an extension of call-out culture, which refers to calling people out for negative behaviors and expecting them to be accountable. The responses to calling people out vary. Many times, people who have engaged in negative behaviors are simply able to apologize for those behaviors and, while they may suffer temporarily, they are able to recover. In other instances, people who have been canceled can suffer from such significant impact to their reputation, their income, and their ability to earn a living that it can be difficult to recover. Many of the problems with cancel culture really focus on whether it is appropriate to make people suffer long-term for transgressions that may have been isolated or transient. On the flip side, people argue that bad actions have long had no consequences and that people who are canceled are not victimized but are simply held accountable for their bad behaviors.
Whether a person believes that cancel culture is essentially a form of cultural boycott that puts pressure on people to behave in ways that comply with evolving social norms or a negative assault on people who openly embrace conservative social ideas, there are a few things…statements, mostly via Twitter, which have been interpreted as being anti-trans. Initially, Rowling’s statements were defended by some as simply being pro-woman, but the author quickly made it clear that the anti-trans overtones in the statements were not accidental. While boycotting Rowling will probably not have much of a financial impact on the billionaire, the fact that many of the young stars who helped propel her Harry Potter franchise to its current status have publicly spoken out in support of the trans community helps highlight the divide between the author’s generation and the generation that includes most of her fans.
Ellen DeGeneres is another celebrity who is considered canceled by some. She built her reputation in Hollywood on being a nice person, but this reputation took a big hit after reports surfaced of her staff being mistreated. However, Ellen has not actually been canceled. She still has a talk show with an extensive viewership. Her reputation has taken some damage, but it does not appear to have suffered in the same way as other celebrities on this list. The fact that Ellen has not seen the same type of backlash as some other celebrities who have engaged in similar behavior is interesting, with some people suggesting that the fact that Ellen is a member of a traditionally marginalized community has somehow helped protect her from this backlash.
The third celebrity that this essay will focus on specifically, Hilaria Baldwin, is probably the most interesting example of people getting caught up in the idea of cancel culture, when someone is not being canceled in any way, shape, or form. Hilaria Baldwin, wife to actor Alec Baldwin, was a well-known Instagram influencer, podcaster, and author. She built her public persona by claiming to have a Spanish heritage, even going so far as to speak with a noticeable Spanish accent. After making a postpartum post in which she was accused of body shaming, Hilaria posted a video in which she is defending herself and accusing her detractors of body shaming her. The most noticeable thing about this post was that Hilaria’s Spanish accent was noticeably missing. Relatively quickly, the internet did a little digging and revealed that Hilaria was actually Hillary, was American, and that, though she does have Spanish ancestry and did spend time in Spain during her childhood, the Spanish identity was something she adopted as an adult. She has faced tremendous backlash for cultural appropriation, leading some to conclude that she has been canceled. However, it begs the question of whether it is even possible to cancel a made-up identity?
It is very popular to say that someone has been canceled or even to call for people to be canceled. While there certainly have been, and will continue to be, efforts by the public to impact the reputation and livelihoods of people who have engaged in objectionable behavior, the overuse of the term has simultaneously made it seem like people are trying to cancel things that are not in danger of being canceled and deprived the term of its power. Certain celebrities have been canceled, and this has generally happened because they have revealed thoughts or beliefs that are seen as being harmful…
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