The Planning Forum and Economics Association of R. A. Podar College of Commerce and Economics had conducted its annual Intra- Collegiate Essay Writing Competition in the month of October. The competition was judged by Ms. Ami Shah- Sr. Assistant Editor, Economic Times Online, Former National Writer at Mint, Former Correspondent at Thomson Reuters, and alumna of R. A. Podar College of Commerce and Economics (Autonomous). She declared Ms. Priya Hotwani, a student of Tybcom-F, as one of the joint-winners. We present to you her essay:
Topic: Outrage culture due to press freedom. Do we need to cancel it?
A pandemic of the ‘cancel’ virus
‘Rape is consensual inside Haryana’s rape culture.’
A rape occurs in Haryana every second day. Be it elderly men or girls and boys of an impressionable age, most of them believe that rape is the girl’s fault. Most of these young girls have been taught by the same teachers they look up to and idolize that there is a particular way that a girl must behave and dress in order to not get raped. This is utterly saddening because these students that have been brought up with a mentality that deems rape to be a consensual act and blames women for being victims of rape are the ones who are going to carry this generation ahead.
However, due to the freedom of media in our country, such issues along with many others have surfaced and become known to the public. Most of these issues otherwise would have never been able to see the light of the day. There are thousands of other rapes, abusive relationships, police brutality cases, discriminatory practices that occur every second, and nobody ever hears about them. Because no matter how loud the victims’ screams echo those incidents are somehow silenced forever. But that is changing today. And we owe it to the media. Social media today is a powerful place. This is a revolution. Because we the people of this country are not going to be silenced. We stand up for what is right and we stand up for what we believe in.
However, while we were busy voicing our opinions and letting everyone know that we are a generation that cannot be manipulated and suppressed maybe something went wrong. Something went so gravely wrong that it became as deadly and poisonous as a virus that had the power to kill thousands of people across the globe.
The oxford dictionary defines the word ‘cancel’ as ‘decide or announce that a planned event will not take place.’ But gone are the days when that word had such a straightforward meaning. In 2020 the word ‘cancel’ has acquired a completely new definition.
Today, the word ‘cancel’ has the power to make multitudes of people constantly rage against each other on social media platforms, rejoice in taking offense at everything and displace that anger on the wrong person despite the harm it might cause to someone. With regards to the fundamental right of freedom of speech, standing up and sharing one’s opinions or rejecting something that one finds offensive is definitely right but not when the same right to speech leads to a spiral of silence, isolation and mental health concerns for the other person.
This year has seen various unsettling occurrences in basically every field, but the idea that an individual can be ‘cancelled’ that is completely destroyed and socially obstructed for indulging in something the society deems wrong is completely mind-boggling. To the point that when an individual is related to something that is viewed as problematic or risky, without even minimal fact-checking that particular event spreads like a wildfire over social media, permitting endless individuals to choke and pressurize them until they’re basically, completely burnt into ashes. It boosts our feelings of righteousness, power, and superiority to such an extent that outrage and canceling people becomes oddly satisfying.
This mostly occurs because we humans are wired to follow social norms and we fear missing out. The moment a new outrage is uncovered, rape and death threats begin to flow. Blaming, threatening, toxicity, shaming, boycotting. It spreads like a virus all over the media. Most of the people talk about it for the sole purpose that it is trending on the news even though they do not have proper knowledge of the events that occurred and don’t even consider that the story ‘could have another side. The internet has turned into an angry place. It is filled with people who advocate mental health but then at the same time also believe in bullying and harassing individuals for something they haven’t even been proven guilty for. The youth has confused activism with a fashion accessory. Completely ‘canceling’ people is not only going to affect their mental health adversely but also that of the multiples of people connected to them for absolutely no fault of their own.
This culture has been so ingrained in the brains of today’s youth that most of the people don’t even realize when their actions could adversely affect someone. Spreading hate and toxicity has become a reflex action for today’s generation. It is teaching everyone that once it’s believed that someone has been a part of something controversial, we should completely boycott that person and disregard everything that they have ever done immediately without being given a chance to even admit guilt or address their mistake. This culture is in fact cancelling out the most significant quality that makes us human, that is the quality of forgiveness
In today’s generation, a lot of the public opinion is often non-substantial, temporary and never backed by enough facts. The moment they think that someone else has committed a wrongdoing, the same hordes of people swarm there, completely forgetting what had happened before that. Which is in fact sad, because some of the issues that had been uncovered were actually valuable and major ones requiring immediate serious action. Therefore, the outrage culture has turned social media into a monster who is always in search of new prey to shatter and tear down while spitting out the remains of the previous victim half-chewed.
This monster is in fact no less than the coronavirus. This virus had the power to bottle down the spirits of the entire world and bring everything to a sudden halt. But that’s exactly what the “Cancel Culture” does to anyone that goes against their norms and beliefs. It actually is a pandemic of the ‘cancel’ virus which surely takes way longer than 2 weeks to recover from.
*Disclaimer: This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.