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Cancel culture, the practice of digging up dirt from people’s pasts or taking comments out of context to end the careers and legacies of celebrities and even historical figures should no longer be acknowledged by the public. No one should pay attention to it anymore. Cancel culture is cancelled.
As we’ve seen before, social movements and behaviours that start out innocently enough become weaponized by people that are hungry for power and ready to ruin careers. Instances of these types of cancellations predate the internet, but “cancel culture” as we know it now seems to have bloomed alongside the now tarnished #MeToo movement.
Though there was great social good that came from #MeToo like the downfalls of predators like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, the movement and cancel culture as a whole was quickly utilized to shoot down celebrities like Aziz Ansari, who was #MeToo’d for being sort of pushy on a first date, and the beloved Kevin Hart, whose homophobic tweets from a decade ago made him somehow ineligible to host the Grammy’s.
There’s no better example of this than the recent cancellation of Cuban-born singer Camilla Cabello. The 22-year-old former X-Factor star was cancelled on Tuesday upon the discovery of Tumblr posts from when she was 14 years old. In a thread by Twitter user MotivateFenty, Cabello’s controversial memes are put on full display.
The posts, which frequently used racial epithets and made light of domestic abuse, are memes of a different era. The internet of 2011 was not the same place as it is now, and actually facing consequences for actions made online was not considered. A good measure of this is the use of homophobic language on Twitter, as tracked by NoHomophobes.com, a website that shows the dramatic drop in homophobic language.
Cabello has since apologized for the posts. On an Instagram post, Cabello told her 10.3 followers: “When I was younger, I used language that I’m deeply ashamed of and will regret forever,” the post read. “I was uneducated and ignorant and once I became aware of the history and the weight and the true meaning behind this horrible and hurtful language, I was deeply embarrassed I ever used it.”
Cabello’s apology was met by more scrutiny by the insatiable, while others mocked white fans for accepting the apology at all, again proving that admitting a wrong by apologizing is pouring blood in the water.
The attempted cancellation of Frida Kahlo
This month’s cancellation dramatics didn’t start or end there, as an attempted cancellation of world-famous Mexican painter and social commentator Frida Khalo was attempted on the site for the crime of being from an affluent, mixed-race family—because as everyone knows, cancelling long-dead historical figures who are no longer around to discuss their views in contemporary contexts is the definition of woke.
The conversation started as Twitter user Labrujaj went viral for pointing out that Kahlo, one of Mexico’s most well respected and beloved cultural figures and painters, “Was white and appropriated indigenous culture.”
Kahlo, whose father was German and mother was Mestizo, is also a figurehead of early feminist and LGBTQ movements. Kahlo’s work has been “celebrated internationally as emblematic of Mexican national and indigenous traditions and by feminists for what is seen as its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form,” though some even attempted to smear her paintings as being racist depictions of indigenous people, such as the one below.
The painting, which was called racist,” depicts Khalo being breastfed by her wet nurse. The nurse is wearing a pre-Columbian funerary mask covering her face, and is not being depicted as having a darker face.
With J.K Rowling having also been cancelled for not supporting the idea that trans women should have equal access to women-only spaces, it’s becoming obvious that ending people’s careers is soon becoming a thing of the past. The validity of “cancellation” becomes less and less by the attempt.
Cancellation has gone from being a career-ending blindside to a badge that means “I was alive before 2014,” and nothing more. It’s about time we ignore it all.