To cancel someone is, simply put, to attempt to end their career. Usually driven by something the person in question has done — be it be a racist remark, an allegation of abuse or rape, or cultural appropriation — holding those in the media accountable for their words and actions has, in many cases, a good outcome.
However, there are many nuances to this culture. When someone has truly done something wrong — i.e. Chris Brown or R. Kelly — the act of “cancelling” can be a swift public justice. However, in the wrong hands, the power of cancel culture can become a deadly weapon for self-gain, the repercussions of which can be drastic.
In the toxic throes of Stan Twitter, women in the music industry are seen as objects and pawns in a war between fandoms. Each team stands solely behind their mascot, be it Katy Perry or Taylor Swift, and goes to bat for their idol and their idol alone. In order to one up the other, fandoms will throw out a hashtag like #TaylorSwiftisOverParty in an attempt to end the career of one of their idols opponents.
However, these artists are, more often than not, colleagues and friends. They are not enemies, but the culture of Stan Twitter has created feuds between them, pitting women against women for want of pride of their fandom. To them, the music business has winners and losers: those who top the charts, and those who flop.
This is when the act of “cancelling” becomes driven completely by misogyny.
In the wrong hands, these attempts to utilize cancel culture to objectify a woman and use her as a pawn in a feud between fandoms can have major consequences. It becomes a dangerous game that punishes those who never asked to be a part of the narrative, while letting those who truly deserve such backlash get away with a quick apology video or a sentence or two in the Notes app.
Cancel Culture isn’t necessarily a bad thing altogether. It’s the same idea that brought forth such movements as #MeToo and gave power to a public platform in a dangerously unbalanced dynamic. However, with such power as public voice, it’s important to know the repercussions of what cancel culture can really do.