Opinion

Selective cancel culture is inherently misogynistic

We live in a world where accountability is supposedly valued, yet the reality is starkly different — especially for women. Cancel culture, touted as a mechanism of justice, reveals its insidious nature, disproportionately targeting and punishing women while sparing their male counterparts. 

It’s time to expose the rampant misogyny lurking beneath the surface of cancel culture.

Annika Morris | Senior Graphic Artist

Women in the media endure an onslaught of abuse on the internet, and when it comes to cancel culture, the disparity between men and women is glaring. While men certainly face cancellations, they often emerge relatively unscathed compared to their female counterparts. 

It’s infuriating to witness how women bear the brunt of cancel culture, facing swift and severe consequences while men seemingly enjoy a longer grace period.

Let’s be clear: Nobody should be condemned for their past mistakes, as growth and evolution are fundamental to the human experience. While cancel culture is important in a lot of instances, I think when it comes to relationships, it becomes a bit intense for what it is. 

Yet, despite this understanding, women are disproportionately targeted and punished in the court of public opinion. When allegations of assault arise, for example, women are met with a tidal wave of anger and scrutiny, often deterring victims from coming forward. It’s a vicious cycle that perpetuates silence and suffering.

Look at the high-profile case of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp. Despite overwhelming evidence of Depp’s abusive behavior, Heard faced an onslaught of hatred and vitriol. 

Heard decidedly lost in court, and the public outrage towards Depp paled in comparison to the relentless barrage of condemnation directed at Heard. This gross disparity in treatment speaks volumes about society’s entrenched biases against women, perpetuating a culture of victim-blaming and disbelief.

Another clear example of the double standard applied to men and women is in matters of infidelity. While men can cheat, lie and engage in promiscuity with minimal repercussions, women are ostracized and branded with a scarlet letter. They bear the weight of society’s judgment alone, while their male counterparts escape accountability.

This imbalance is not only unjust but deeply harmful. It erodes trust, perpetuates gender inequality and inflicts profound psychological trauma on women who dare to speak out. 

But perhaps what’s most infuriating is the toll cancel culture takes on women’s mental health. Being subjected to relentless public shaming and ostracization can feel like being attacked by the entire world. 

Even if their mistake is not considered “small,” pitting what seems like the entire population against one person in a short period can destroy that individual’s mental health. This is because it prevents them from believing they can recover or fix their mistakes.

Another stark example of the pervasive misogyny embedded within our culture is exemplified by the treatment of Sabrina Carpenter after Olivia Rodrigo released her song “drivers license.” Carpenter was thrust into the spotlight as the supposed antagonist in a love triangle with Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett. She received immense hate online just because she had dated Bassett after his breakup with Rodrigo. 

However, what ensued was a harrowing illustration of the relentless scrutiny and abuse that women often endure in the public eye. The immense backlash directed at Carpenter, compared to the relative impunity enjoyed by her male counterpart, Bassett, serves as a chilling reminder of the deeply entrenched double standards that persist in society. 

It’s time to dismantle this toxic culture of scapegoating and victim-blaming. We must hold perpetrators accountable regardless of gender and create a society where women are empowered to seek justice without fear of reprisal.

It’s time to recognize the inherent misogyny of culture and hold ourselves accountable for perpetuating a system that systematically silences and punishes women for speaking out. It’s time to dismantle cancel culture and create a world where women are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. 

We cannot continue to overlook the glaring disparities in how this culture targets and undermines women while men often escape unscathed. It’s on all of us to challenge and confront this injustice, to uplift and support women’s voices and to strive for true equality in our society. 

Let’s make a stand for a future where cancel culture is replaced with empathy, understanding and genuine accountability — regardless of gender.

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