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Call-out culture (also known as outrage culture) is a set of behaviors, usually displayed on social media, that aim to hold individuals and groups accountable for political and social transgressions through public shaming. The related cancel culture phenomenon is "a call to boycott someone – usually a celebrity – who has shared a questionable, unpopular or a controversial opinion on social media". Cancellation often arises in "response to a person's comments or actions". Michael Bérubé, a professor of Literature at Pennsylvania State University, states, "in social media, what is known as 'callout culture' and 'ally theater' (in which people demonstrate their bona fides as allies of a vulnerable population) often produces a swell of online outrage that demands that a post or a tweet be taken down or deleted".
"#CancelCulture" and "#CalloutCulture" are popular hashtags on social media. The idea of being canceled is believed to have originated on Black Twitter, which is a cultural identity consisting of Black users on Twitter from around the world focused on issues of interest to the black community, particularly in the United States. The expression "canceling", in reference to cancel culture, has been used since 2015, with widespread usage of the expression beginning in 2018.
Lisa Nakamura, a professor at the University of Michigan, described cancel culture as "an agreement not to amplify, signal boost, or give money to. People talk about the attention economy — when you deprive someone of your attention, you're depriving them of a livelihood." Cancel culture has been defined as a "makeshift digital contract wherein people loosely agree not to support a person (especially economically) in order to somehow deprive them of their livelihood". Jonah Engel Bromwich from The New York Times defines it as "total disinvestment in something (anything)", often for "transgressing fans' expectations".
The impact of being canceled ranges from the “mostly conceptual or socially performative,” in cases such as the social media efforts at "cancelation" of Kanye West, to cancelation of shows or activities in the cases of Bill O’Reilly, Charlie Rose, and Roseanne Barr due to public pressure.
David Brooks of The New York Times has called call-out culture naïve, criticized it for being polarizing and for lacking due process and a route for redemption, and compared it to "the way students denounced… their elders for incorrect thought during Mao's Cultural Revolution and in Stalin's Russia". In her book "Problematic: How Toxic Callout Culture Is Destroying Feminism", Dianna E. Anderson stated that "The line between calling out and harrassment is a thin one, especially in a world of social media "pile ons" and blacklisting".
Call-out culture has also be characterised positively, with Dr. Ealasaid Munro, a lecturer in Communications, Media, and Culture at the University of Stirling describing it as one "in which sexism or misogyny can be called out and challenged… facilitat[ing] the creation of a global community of feminists who use the Internet both for discussion and activism".
- Concern troll
- Hashtag activism
- Internet vigilantism
- Milkshake Duck
- Mob justice
- Moral panic
- Narcotizing dysfunction
- No Platform
- Online boycott
- Online shaming
- Outrage (emotion)
- Outrage porn
- Public shaming
- Righteous indignation
- Social criticism
- "The Year of Outrage". Slate. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
- Musariri, Dorothy (15 November 2016). "How cancel culture attempted to silence Jamelia and Kanye West". The New Statesman.
- Bromwich, Jonah Engel (28 June 2018). "Everyone Is Canceled". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- Bérubé, Michael (January 2018). "The Way We Review Now". Publications of the Modern Language Association of America. 133 (1): 132–138. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
- Kinos-Goodin, Jesse (3 December 2018). "Have we hit peak cancel culture?". CBC Radio. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- Garel, Connor (9 July 2018). "Logan Paul and the Myth of Cancel Culture". Vice. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- Caramanica, Jon (25 June 2018). "Into the Wild With Kanye West". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
- Brooks, David (15 January 2019). "The Cruelty of Call-Out Culture". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
- Anderson, Dianna E. (2018). Problematic: How Toxic Callout Culture Is Destroying Feminism. University of Nebraska Press. p. 84. ISBN 1-61234961-7. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
- Munro, Ealasaid. "Feminism: A Fourth Wave?". SAGE Publishing. Retrieved 15 May 2019.