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We Don't Know What Lizzo Did, But We Do Know Cancel Culture Has an Obvious Gender Bias

by Emily McIntyre

Cancel culture is nothing new, we’ve seen it for years and it looks like it’s here to stay.

What it means to be ‘cancelled’ looks different depending on the celeb, but it seems that now more than ever famous faces are under intense pressure to perfectly achieve a level of ‘wokeness’ and understanding of society in order to keep their head above water.

And who does this intense pressure to be perfect seem to affect most? Well, we know it's not Cis White Men. 

I know, you're probably sick of hearing that - you may even be a Cis White Man - but hear us out.

All it takes is one problematic old tweet to resurface and an entire career is at stake.

Surely this should be a good thing, right? Calling people out, especially those with a platform and position of power, for any hateful, sexist, racist or homophobic comments? 

Of course, but it seems that there’s a recurring pattern for those that seem invincible to the threat of potentially losing their career over their ‘controversial’ opinions, and those that have fallen victim to being ‘cancelled’ all too hastily.

As Lizzo is the latest to come under fire, with a lawsuit against the 'Pink' Singer having made waves on August 1st, perhaps its time to look at who gets the brunt of this scrutiny.

Now, we want to make it very clear that we don't know what Lizzo did. Right now, only those involved know the truth and we're not here to excuse any behaviour - nor point blame.

Amidst all this hatrid and anger, it brought to light a bias that we're sick of seeing. And what we're here to do is talk about it.

Lizzo, a fat black woman, was cancelled within seconds of news of the claims breaking but Johnny Depp can be welcomed warmly to Cannes Film Festival and, if we even take race out of the equation, Chris Brown can still go on tour? 

That's only to name only two of a million recent examples where we, as a society, have not only turned a blind eye but fueled their reappearances. 

Whilst it can of course be progressive, cancel culture has also quickly become an inherently sexist way to abolish many female faces from their platforms, leaving them absolutely no opportunity to return, show growth or even apologise for the situation (because who wants to hear women out, right?).

We all too often hold women to these unattainable standards to get everything correct, waiting for opportunities to pounce on them for behaviour someone with no profile picture (and therefore no fear of repercussions) has deemed unacceptable. 

But men? They seem to be applauded for showing the bare minimum of human decency - and it’s okay if they’ve said something problematic, because it was probably satire anyway. 

Or, they disappeared for 3 months (if we're lucky) for some soul searching before a screenshot from their phone's notes page with an apology their manager wrote is frantically posted to Instagram in hopes of smoothing the whole situation over and making a quick escape from the domino effects of cancel culture.

If there’s one thing the people of the internet love, it’s jumping on a bandwagon, and if that means it’s suddenly trendy to hate on a certain actress, no need to find out the reason why!

Consider them already unfollowed and tweeted about.

There seems to be a clear, recurring bias to the way cancel culture is applied, and recent events have made that even more prevalent.

The most obvious display of this has to be the treatment of Amber Heard following her trial against Johnny Depp.

Originally a case that Depp filed against The Sun for defamation, became representative for something much bigger.

No matter how enlightened and supposedly ‘politically correct’ our post #MeToo world on social media claims to be, we still have not created an environment where women can speak out about sexual violence without risk of losing everything. 

Overrun with misogyny, Heard was, and still is, being painted as a villain by almost every tabloid and online platform imaginable.

When a court case where Depp, a 60 year old man who sent text messages to friends fantasising about murdering and assaulting his then wife and referring to her body as a "mushy pointless dangling overused floppy fish market”, was still able to walk out of courtroom and be met with applause and adoration - it has to open up a much bigger discussion.

Heard took the stand and recounted how she had been hit, manipulated, controlled and sexually assaulted and yet that same man was able to walk out of the trial branded a ‘hero.’

She’s not a perfect person by any means, but the sheer contrast in reception from the public, the press and social media received by the two, has to beg the question: how can a man who’s openly said such vile things and engaged in such awful behaviour get away scott free whilst Heard is left to crash and burn?

Oh, Depp can state that he “will f*ck her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead” but it’s okay because he’s going to donate the $1 million trial settlement to charity! (As if his net worth of over 100 million really took a hit there.)

Even now, a year on, Heard is still facing the repercussions; Petitions demanding DC to strip the actress of her role in Aquaman amassed over 4.6 million signatures whilst Depp was making appearances at the Fenty runway show in November.

But it’s not always such obvious cases of bias like this in cancel culture, sometimes it’s happening right under our noses and we don’t even know it.

Take Matty Healy for example, a man who’s built a platform on his controversial, ‘says it as it is’ persona - which, in simpler terms, means he can say whatever he wants and pretty much always get away with it.

It even became a running gag that his band would start playing over the top of him when he was about to 'take it too far' whilst on tour.

Despite having controversies that go back a long way, it wasn’t until rumours of a romance between him and Taylor Swift started to circulate that he began being called out - but under the lens of 'why is Swift dating this person?'

Paired with his appearance on The Adam Friedland Show podcast in February of this year, he truly brought attention to himself - although we all seem to have forgotten about that already. 

The episode was even removed from platforms by Apple and Spotify because of how offensive it is - that didn’t stop clips from circulating on social media though.

Healy could be heard mocking Ice Spice in a racist ‘discussion' with the podcast hosts where they speculated about the singer’s ethnicity, tried to mimic her accent, and made other derogatory comments about her ethnicity and body, including calling her “one of the Inuit Spice Girls” and a “chubby Chinese lady.” He could also be heard laughing and urging the host to mimic Japanese accents.

It unfortunately doesn’t stop there. 

Healy also went on to discuss a rather personal anecdote where a friend walked in on him masturbating, admitting to watching pornography from a hardcore site known for posting videos of white men sexually degrading and humiliating women of colour.

So why is it that he’s still playing to crowds of tens of thousands of people and being furiously defended on X (formerly Twitter) by The 1975 superfans?

It’s not until he starts ‘dating’ Taylor Swift that people begin to pick apart his questionable and quite frankly insufferable behaviour. And instead of using that energy to hold him accountable for what he’s said, Swift is turned into the villain for simply associating with him.

The beginning of the summer also saw Healy being called out by Rina Sawayama during her set at Glastonbury. Iconically, before she began to perform her song STFU! 

Bringing to attention his aforementioned self-admitted pornography preferences and racist comments, she stated, “Tonight, this goes out to a white man that watches Ghetto Gaggers, and mocks Asian people on a podcast... he also owns my masters... I’ve had enough.”

But the sad reality is, the likelihood of Sawayama being dropped from her record label after this is much higher than Matty Healy or The 1975 ever being stripped of their huge platforms.

I mean, thinking of Glastonbury specifically, Lana Del Rey got more stick for being late to her set than Healy did for being outed for screwing over Sawayama - proof is in the pudding.

Instead of channeling your anger towards Lizzo, at least wait until we have a ounce of evidence, maybe put that hate towards learning about men like Depp, Healy and Brown. I'd recommend looking up Depp's texts with Marilyn Manson, although I must warn, they're truly disgusting.

Edited by Emily Duff


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