In high school culture, social media is rampant. We use Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter to connect with each other through story times and shared experiences. However, a new trend has emerged among almost all of our social media platforms: canceling. Canceling is the act of boycotting a specific person or brand for acting in a controversial, and often offensive, manner.
Canceling is actually most prevalent in social media, where public figures rely on views and likes to pay their rent. Social media influencers such as James Charles or Jeffree Star have fallen victim to this culture, as well as larger celebrities such as Katy Perry. Laura Lee is a prevalent makeup artist on YouTube who used to average somewhere between 15 and 20 million views a month. In July of this year, a few of her racist tweets from 2012 emerged and her career plummeted. Despite posting a video to YouTube apologizing for her past mistakes, Lee lost over 500,000 subscribers within a month and went down an average of almost 5 million views. Within the last 30 days, her new subscriber count has gone down 133%, all according to the website SocialBlade.
People, in general, pick and choose what they wish to believe. A study conducted by Ditto and David F. Lopez, Ph.D., has proven this to be true. In this study, participants were sent to a medical exam where half received information that they had tested negative for a fictitious enzyme linked to pancreatic disorders- the other half testing positive. Participants who tested positive claimed the testing to be inaccurate, while those who tested negative rated the testing as accurate. The participants who tested positive presented explanations for the test’s inaccuracy and requested a second opinion. When confronted with an opposing opinion outside of one’s everyday comfort zone, the natural instinct is to discredit and ignore foreign information. This process leads individuals to associate foreign ideas with the people they come from. So if we do not agree or support another opinion, we often escalate to disagreeing with the person in general.
However, if this is true for one side of an argument, it must be true to the other. While keeping up the tug-a-war, a divisive environment grows. Through arguments and isolation, we are dividing ourselves and not allowing connection and education to flourish between communities. People evolve and people change. Our minds are still developing, and they won’t stop until a while after we have all graduated. So please take others’ opinions with a grain of salt, and try to listen.
Written by Tessa Stigler, Opinion Editor
photo by Makayla Banton