Culture

The Hill I Will Die On: Cancer Is The Worst Zodiac Sign

"I'm a Cancer" is really not a line that works in a Tinder bio.

cancer is the worst zodiac sign

The Hill I Will Die On is a regular Junkee series in which we air our pettiest gripes. It should, of course, not be taken very seriously.


Fans of astrology will typically tell you that astrology has something positive to offer everyone. This is a blatant lie: astrology has something positive to offer everyone except those born between June 21 and July 22 of each year. All it has to offer to those born in that unlucky month is pain, because Cancer is objectively the worst star sign.

I know, because I have the misfortune of being a Cancer. Even just typing that phrase illustrates the problem: it’s one missed capital letter away from me declaring I’m a malignant growth you should cut out of your life as soon as possible. “I’m a Cancer” is really not a line that works in a Tinder bio.

It’s not just the name though — astrology has saddled Cancers with the absolute trifecta of shit characteristics. The star sign shares a name with a terminal illness, it’s visually represented as a crab or 69 or both, and its most readily identifiable characteristic is, like, weepiness.

You may be tempted, at this point, to say I’m overreacting and being overly emotional about this. Of course you’d say that — I’m a Cancer, and getting emotional and oversensitive is apparently what we do best. And sure, maybe I’m ugly crying as I write this story, but I am more than the tears currently pooling on my keyboard. This is the hill I will die on: Cancer is the worst star sign ever, and we deserved better.

There’s No Easy Way To Tell Someone You’re A Cancer

Google “why I love astrology”, and thousands of results will appear. These articles inevitably have one thing in common: a line, 3-5 paragraphs in, where the author announces that they are either a “textbook” or “classic” example of a given sign. The author of this article is, by their own admission, “a classic Taurus”; this one is a “classic Pisces”, and this one is a Sagittarius. I have yet to encounter a single defence of astrology penned by a self-identified Cancer, because no one wants to declare themselves to be a cancer.

I mean, you can buy a t-shirt that says “it’s a Libra thing”, or “Capricorn AF”. You really can’t buy a shirt that says “peak Cancer”, unless you want to field vague questions about whether or not you’re dying. And sure, buying merchandise is not the point of astrology, but a large part of the fun of it all seems to be declaring your identity somewhere, somehow. That identity sharing a name with a serious illness really sucks the fun out of the whole thing.

And why is the star sign called Cancer, anyway? Turns out it’s Latin for “crab”, the shape of the constellation Cancer. This is also apparently why the disease is called “cancer” — a malignant tumour, cut in half with veins stretching out from it, apparently looked like a crab to someone back in the day.

It’s Not Cool To Be A Crab, Or Have Crabs. Crabs Aren’t Cool

That brings us to the next downside of being a Cancer: crabs. No, not pubic lice, though that’s yet another unfortunate word association Cancers must battle. Basically, the symbol for Cancer is a crab, and it’s by far the most deeply uncool sign in the zodiac. Leos get a lionScorpios get a scorpion, and Sagittarii (that’s the plural, apparently) get a centaur with a bow and arrow. How can a crab possibly compete??

A picture of crabs copulating, because why not.

Yes, this is how crabs have sex. Photo by Gilsond dos Santos on Wikimedia Commons, used under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Meanwhile, the astrological symbol for cancer looks exactly like the number 69. “Nice”, I guess, but still not something you can really pop in your Tinder bio without context.

The imagery available to Cancers is, in a word, dire. Good luck if you want to get a meaningful tattoo of your star sign or something.

I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying

To top it all off, the characteristics typically associated with Cancers are also deeply uncool. Every horoscope I’ve ever read has inevitably described Cancers as “emotional” or “sensitive”. This horoscope site, for example, describes Cancerian strengths as being “loyal, emotional, sympathetic”. Sagittarius, meanwhile, gets “generous, idealistic, great sense of humour”.

A screenshot of Google search autocomplete when you type in "why are cancers so".

These are the Google search suggestions when you type “why are cancers so”. The top two autocompletes are “moody” and “sensitive” (though I’m pleasantly surprised to see “good in bed” coming in third).

Every set of horoscopes I’ve ever read has inevitably given Cancer a kind of weepy, flaccid reading. I have never read a Cancer horoscope that told me I was about to kick ass and find success. I have, multiple times, read horoscopes that warned me I might be feeling a bit devastated in the near future and should probably stay in on Friday night.

The same kind of trend even flows over to horoscope memes. A tumblr post titled “the signs as bitches” describes Cancer as “crying bitch”. A similar post outlining how the signs behave at a concert describes Cancer as, you guessed it, crying at the concert. Even the shitpost-y “the signs as noodles” assigns Cancer to “elbow macaroni”.

http://yespaperorplastic.tumblr.com/post/114627719203/signs-as-noodles

I mean, come on, elbow macaroni? Who would choose that over tortellini, or gnocchi, or literally any other pasta? Give me a break.

All This Pain, Just Because Some Idiot Connected A Bunch Of Dots And Thought It Looked Like A Crab

The worst thing about all this is that it could have been very easily avoided: almost all of the downsides of being a Cancer stem from the fact that some long-dead idiot connected a bunch of dots (stars) in such a way that it looked vaguely like a crab.

That’s an absolute joke, given that the constellation itself looks nothing like a crab.

The Cancer constellation looks nothing like a crab.

The constellation of Cancer as it actually appears (the crab was a bit of a stretch, hey?)

Someone with some actual foresight and/or creativity could very easily have connected those dots into a very different picture. Something cool, preferably, though most options would be better than a crab. But no, they saw a crustacean in the stars, and now we’re stuck with it. I will continue to exercise my rights as a Cancer and cry about it.