Cancel culture and celebrity mental health

Hannah Adams, Asst. Opinion Editor

Celebrities in modern day have more societal expectations than before the creation of social media. In today’s world they are expected to be expressive of their beliefs publicly and can even be canceled for failing to comment on certain situations. It can be an overwhelming amount of pressure that has driven some celebrities to avoid having social media all together. It would seem unfair that a person who makes their career in acting or music would be expected to comment on a political situation at all. It seems even more unfair that their career could be jeopardized for keeping their personal beliefs private.


I have always been a private person and generally keep things to myself or within my circle of friends. This is not for any reason other than just being an aspect of my personality. Me being an average person, this is not generally a problem to others. It is inconsequential to most people that I keep my personal opinions offline. I see no reason that celebrities should be held to a different standard than that. Assumptions about a person’s integrity based on their lack of posting to social media is not a fair judge of character. There is no way to know what that person may be doing behind the scenes to help the cause in their own way.


As said before, many celebrities have avoided having a presence on social media due to the stress of being canceled for this reason. Others allow their management teams to run their accounts to ensure that this does not happen. In many situations involving canceled culture, there no longer seems to be a right answer. Even choosing to say nothing at all can result in someone being canceled. In an article within The Gateway, titled “Celebrities are free to comment on politics, but at a price,” writer Malaika Arif further expresses the double standards of cancel culture.


“Celebrities who have chosen to remain silent on their political views have received a ton of flack for it, and when other celebrities do voice their opinions, they also receive flack. Social media in most cases is a lose-lose situation,” Arif said. “Further, whether celebrities choose to speak up because they want to make a difference in the world, or simply because they don’t want to get canceled, is not something we can figure out.”


It is a good point that we no longer can truly seem to tell the authenticity behind celebrity posts in many cases. Celebrities now are in a constant state of trying to escape potential backlash and it is highly likely that in many cases they are only posting to stay in good graces. It is this sort of environment that has caused many celebrities to express the intense anxiety they have faced through the course of their career. In a People Magazine article titled, “Celeb Confessions That’ll Make You Never Want to Be Famous,” by Lydia Price, a quote by Amanda Seyfried is cited.


“’It feels like life or death. That’s what a panic attack is, really. Your body just goes into fight or flight. The endorphin rush and the dump that happens after the panic attack is so extraordinary. You just feel so relieved, and your body is just kind of recovered in a way. It’s so bizarre because it’s physiological, but it starts in your head.’”

These were feelings that Seyfried expressed enduring throughout her journey as an actress. Countless celebrities have indulged in unhealthy coping mechanisms to try and ease the pressures. Many famous people acknowledge having struggled with intense anxiety and depression as well. There are many celebrities that completely avoid having platforms at all. Some of these include Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Daniel Radcliff, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. A primary root to this decision is what society has dubbed as cancel culture. A few famous individuals have been bold enough to authentically state their feelings towards being canceled and the unhealthy environment it creates. In Movie Guide’s article “10 Surprising Celebs Who Have Rebuked Cancel Culture,” written by the Movie Guide Staff, a quote by Sharon Stone is stated.

“I think cancel culture is the stupidest thing I have ever seen happen. I think when people say things that they feel and mean, and it’s offensive to you, it’s a brilliant opportunity for everyone to learn and grow and understand each other. We all come from different ages, different cultures, different backgrounds, different things, and have had different experiences, different traumas, different upbringings, different parents, different religious backgrounds, different everything. Give people an opportunity to discuss things before you wipe out their entire person over a statement or a comment or a misunderstanding.”

Personally, I agree with much of what Stone was saying here. In a way, people are too afraid to state their opinions in the world today which ultimately leads to them being afraid to speak at all. That silence causes a chain reaction of complacency as no one is learning because no one is saying anything. I cannot imagine the stress I would feel if my career and reputation were treated simply because I did not post on my social media regarding a current event. Or for saying something and immediately being violently berated rather than given the chance to even explain. At the end of it all, it feels completely unproductive to society’s progression.