Cancel Culture

An Examination Of Social Perspective

Ryan Kelleher
4 min readOct 21, 2021


Photo by Obie Fernandez on Unsplash

I don’t remember a time when the world was more decisively split than it is right now. We’ve allowed behemoth news networks and social media platforms to put us all at odds with one another.

This phenomenon has become increasingly apparent within two groups, in particular, that being men and women. As a result, the split between how men and women view the world and each other is at an all-time high today.

Unfortunately, we’re at a point where it’s no longer okay for men to display or be proud of their masculinity without worrying that doing so will be considered offensive. Masculine behavior is increasingly labeled as toxic. As a man, I have to constantly wonder if what I say or write will open me up to cancel culture.

When the public seems so angry, so easily offended. It has made me wonder if we’ve lost our sense of compassion, our understanding of empathy, or at a bare minimum, our sense of humor.

The social labels that men and women place on each other and their interpretations or misinterpretations are the root cause of this. And, Unfortunately, there seems to be a double standard in effect regarding this issue that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough.

Men are often generalized to be misogynistic and accused of objectifying women. When in truth, both sexes are equally guilty when it comes to this issue. Furthermore, men are often cast as responsible for toxic relationships without discussing the common sense logic that women are just as capable as men in creating these unhealthy circumstances.

These modern labels are often overused and unwarranted. Unfortunately, however, men are left without a voice to defend themselves against these gross generalizations with the current climate.

In a world where every man and woman appears to want to find a loving partner, these issues do nothing more than push men and women further apart. Men are left in a position where they wonder if they can even tell a woman he thinks she’s attractive or not without being labeled unfairly.

An excellent example of this is from an article I recently read where a female author was offended that someone called her a MILF. As a feminist, she interpreted the term MILF as derogatory and felt it reduced her to a sex object. Unfortunately, the writer was so put off by this that she allowed it to ruin her entire day.

In contrast, another female author thought that the term MILF was both flattering and empowering as a woman and a mother in a second article. She argued that being called a MILF made her realize that just because she was a mom didn’t mean she couldn’t still be sexy and attractive.

You see, it’s all about social perspective. Each one of these women is reacting to the same label while interpreting it entirely differently. Interestingly enough, the acronym MILF (mom I’d like to f***) originated in a 1990s comedy movie and has remained in the popular lexicon ever since. The term has spawned several derivatives, including its male counterpart DILF (dad, I’d like to f***), that I’ve so brazenly attributed to myself in the title of this article.

In a GQ article, a male writer documents feeling proud of being labeled as a DILF. The writer explains that the term makes him feel respected and admired for being viewed as attractive for taking a more modern active role as a father.

These labels, when spoken or written, in my opinion, do not express a literal intention by their users to carry out any sexual act. Instead, they are figurative expressions meant to be complementary and used to say that a man or woman is attractive and even more so because they are a mother or father.

The gender double standard of these acronym labels is evident when someone takes offense at being called a MILF. This is no different than when a man is affectionately called a DILF or is complimented for having a “dad bod.” You see, outside of just his looks, a man with a child is a turn-on. With that in mind, it makes sense that a woman caring for her children would be seen in the same light.

From a social perspective, one must ask, why is it okay for a woman to call a man a DILF. Still, some consider it derogatory for a man to refer to a woman as a MILF?

It seems to this writer; the answer comes down to how indoctrinated the recipient of the label is into the increasingly common woke culture. In the end, these are just words. However, rather than using these words to empower themselves, some will use them to cast blame and cry victim.

We would all do well these days to take things less seriously. We are all so quick to jump to the negative connotation of any situation. It’s already hard enough being a parent without taking credit where credit is due.

The labels MILF and DILF should be celebrated rather than viewed through the lens of an overly sensitive victim mindset. While becoming a parent inherently changes who we are as men and women, it doesn’t encompass everything.

Simply put, being a good mother or a good father is attractive.

With the ever-changing definitions of what it means to be a man and a woman, it’s easy to see that we could all do well to find some neutral ground here. If we all use social labels to empower us rather than offend us, if we see the humor in things rather than take offense, we might find that we all have a lot more in common than we thought.



Ryan Kelleher

Associate Director of Information Security @ SAAS Company