Is it just me or is anyone else out there feeling confused and frustrated about what we can say in public anymore?
Am I even allowed to have an opinion? I was having this debate with a few of my friends recently.
We were together enjoying a lovely drink in the garden on a lovely sunny day. I was telling them a funny story about my mum who has been staying with me for about 3 weeks , and started to do an Asian accent to mimick the way my mum talks.
Well we laughed and laughed, and when we caught our breath and wiped the tears from our faces, one of the girls looked at me and said ,you know, it’s a shame you can’t tell that story on your social media, you’d be chastised for doing that accent and there’d be calls for you to be cancelled, in this cancel culture we all live in.
Well, that got us all animated about the perils of trying not to “offend”.
I would like to describe my friends as smart, bright, kind, caring and hardworking.
What is your view? Have your say in the comment section
The majority of us are mother’s trying to raise good kids that respect and care for other’s, but at the same time teaching them to stand up for themselves, to have an opinion and to learn to debate so that they can see another’s point of view and learn– but we all agreed, that “cancel culture” is making it very difficult for many of my generation to rationalise the trend to hold in public just one set of beliefs which are acceptable to other’s.
Even when I was on Loose Women, we’d have certain subjects that we would want to have a really good debate about, so behind closed doors, during our planning meetings away from the camera’s you got to know the real opinions and thoughts – but for going LIVE on TV they would say, “well I obviously won’t say that on camera, because I know I’ll get trolled, so I’ll say something else.”
For me the whole reason I joined a debate and opinion show was to do just that, share my opinion and be prepared for others to disagree and in that learn a mother’s point of view and try to persuade them to see me.
But, in the end, I just felt the show became too bland for fear of offending rather than feeling confident to have an opinion you believe in.
Aja Roamano writes in his article about the subject, “To many people, this process of publicly calling for accountability, and boycotting if nothing else seems to work, has become an important tool of social justice — a way of combatting, through collective action, some of the huge power imbalances that often exist between public figures with far-reaching platforms and audiences, and the people and communities their words and actions may harm.
But conservative politicians and pundits have increasingly embraced the argument that cancel culture, rather than being a way of speaking truth to power, has spun out of control and become a senseless form of social media mob rule. “
Barack Obama has also waded into the debate stating that, “a lot of the dangers of cancel culture and ‘we’re just going to be condemning people all the time,’ at least among my daughters, they’ll acknowledge that among their peer group or in college campuses, you’ll see people going overboard,” adding that his daughters Malia and Sasha have a ,”pretty good sense of: look we don’t expect everybody to be perfect we don’t expect everybody to politically correct all the time.”
What I don’t understand about those wanting to “cancel” people on public platforms, is who decides which opinion deserves to be heard and which does not, or which is morally acceptable or not.
For example JK Rowling and broadcaster Jenni Murray have both been in the eye of the storm when it comes to cancel culture because of their opinions on transgender issues – both women have come out to state that they are not transphobic, but they believe that the word “woman”or “mother” should not be cancelled in favour of alternative words like “parent” or “cis woman.”
I have learnt a lot from both of these women about my own views on the subject and it makes me think about how I would articulate my own thoughts.
But at no point do I wish to troll these women, end their careers or want to humiliate them.
I am strong enough in myself to listen and decide to disagree and choose my position on the debate.
Why are so many people scared of feeling offended or even looking to be offended?
I know that on social media the “cancel brigade” as I call them, are looking at opportunities to make you feel guilty about having an opinion.
I lost nearly 800 followers because I stated on my Instagram that if you can’t afford something, instead of getting bitter at other’s who can, try and focus on the choices you have, save up, buy secondhand, buy cheaper or just go without,’ but it appears that kind of straight talking and no nonsense offends some people.
I’m ok with that, I am also ok with losing followers because they do not hold the same beliefs as me, but I am not ok with being harassed and abused for having such a view.
If I has been racist, prejudiced or homophobic in any way, then yes, I would expect a backlash – but not for holding an opinion that people need to stop being envious on social media of those people who have more than them in material possessions.
Aaron Rose, a corporate diversity and inclusion consultant, used to identify with progressives who participate in call-out and cancel culture.
“Mainstream internet activism is a lot of calling out and blaming and shaming,” Rose told Vox in an email.
“We have to get honest with ourselves about whether calling out and canceling gives us more than a short-term release of cathartic anger.”
He says, he’s focused on objectives like “conflict transformation,” motivated by the question of “how do we truly communicate [and] treat each other like humans?”
I agree with Rose who states that he now wants to “create more stories of transformation rather than stories of punishment and excommunication.”
We must never fear opinions. We must dread living in a society that fears to have an opinion.