Cancel culture is a form of public shaming that aims to hold individuals and groups accountable for their actions by calling attention to a behavior that is perceived to be problematic by somebody. Usually it manifests over social media, where some are attacking celebrities or brands for acting in a manner that they don’t agree with, but this toxic behavior can go beyond comments and reports on Facebook and do more harm when angry activists are the ones that are trying to impose their point of view to others by compelling politicians to take legal actions against the fields that they don’t support.
The fur industry has been targeted as an enemy of the activists. Sometimes they attack honest brands with bad reviews and ratings destroying their online credibility – something that is so important nowadays – or they participate in well-known publicity stunts or worse: they put pressure on brands and politicians to join their side and be against fur, even though they don’t have any legitimate concerns or reason to be opponents of the sector.
Why we should end cancel culture.
We can see cancel culture manifest as a type of social and cultural boycott. Often, someone is “cancelled” for having beliefs that don’t align with other individuals’ beliefs. This is a dangerous trend, one which is suffocating art, media, journalism and free thought, even though activists argue that it is a form of accountability for someone’s behavior. Nowadays celebrities, brands and politicians chose to align themselves with the opinions held by activists even though that they don’t share them. This is namely out of fear of being attacked. Some influencers and celebrities would like to wear natural fur, yet they are forced to stop incorporating it in their outfits because they don’t want to face the rage of the activists – and I call it rage because it surpasses a simple critique – the fur activists are militant, aggressive, and would violently fight for their ideals even though this would mean throwing blood on them on the street. So, for a fashion influencer, it would just be easier to resign and wear plastic instead of being called-out, attacked and cyberbullied.
More brands are joining the fur-free alliance in spite of the economic and aesthetic reasons that would make fur the ideal choice of any high-end fashion house. The biggest issue arises when the pressures of the activists goes down in the political sphere considering that sometimes politicians will choose to please a small but vocal group of individuals rather than risking to be put in a bad light by them. A recent example of this has happened in the US where the city council of Los Angeles banned the selling of natural fur. This is just the latest example of how politicians can be tricked into making a choice that is not in the best interest of the population without thinking of the social and economic impact in their battle for votes. However, we should bear in mind that something that appears ethical, moral or good in the first place might not be the way it seems through analysis. This is in the case of the natural fur. Firstly, natural fur is a sustainable and long-lasting natural material, and secondly, the fur industry employs millions of people worldwide generating billions of dollars’ worth of profit each year. Furriery is a profession that is usually passed from generation to generation meaning many honest skilled craftspeople are merely collateral victims in this political battle. Furriers who today work for the family business struggle to defend their heritage and the work of their grandfathers perished after a vote against them.
Now I want to return to the main point: why should somebody act against their beliefs only because they are constrained to do so in a society that promotes the freedom of thought and the free will of its citizens? Here, we are talking about a massive violation of freedom. The acts of extremists defy the freedom of expression as people chose to censor themselves rather than to express an opinion that is divergent to the activists’ ideals. This means freedom of choice is being threatened as customers are not allowed to purchase what they desire. In a democratic society, citizens should be allowed to live according to their values without any external binds or bullying.
Written by Bianca Margarit