by S4B0T4G3FIRE | May 07, 2021, 8:00 AM EDT
As you may or may not already be aware, the term, “simp,” gained a lot of traction in Internet vocabulary in 2020, particularly in the communities surrounding live-streaming. For those who may have heard this term before but lack an understanding of its meaning, this article will eventually provide you with an explanation of it and a way to counter its misogynistic momentum in today’s world.
Before we begin, it is important that we are all familiar with the social problems at play here. In the context of “simping,” we are dealing with stereotypes, harassment, and misogyny.
According to society’s perspective of humanity, so long as a pattern exists within a particular group of people who share similar traits (no matter how small the sample size is), assumptions can be made about every other member of that group as well. For instance, society has been led to believe (or at least joke about the accusation) that “<insert any stereotype here>” is true. Some people may argue that there is factual data to support an accusation, while others may argue that there is factual data to oppose an accusation, but all this debate will ever do is extend the lifespan of the stereotype by fueling the fire beneath it.
The lesson to be learned from stereotypes is that it is unfair to assume the capabilities of, or place unfair expectations on, a particular individual just because he/she falls under a particular category derived by society’s poor judgment and relentless attempts to pass off the slightest patterns as absolute. In fact, this can often be the first stage of harassment as it provides harassers with “vulnerable” targets.
Harassment is nothing more than the purposeful isolation of an individual or individuals based on a particular characteristic such as level of intelligence, financial standing, and physical features (height, weight, clothing cost, etc.). Sometimes, harassment can be lighthearted and perhaps even “funny” in nature, but it all comes down to how excessive, irrelevant, and/or uncalled for it is. A group of friends sharing banter about an outfit that one of them is wearing could be seen as innocent and funny. However, if a third party were to start pointing, laughing, and name-calling at the person wearing a “silly” outfit, this could be seen as blatant disrespect and bullying.
In a case as mild as this, intentions play a major role. In more extreme cases, on the other hand, intentions rarely matter. Not only is this valid for sexual harassment and hate crimes, but it is also true for all types of virtual harassment. On the internet, intentions cannot be communicated between users. You can try to convey your intentions behind a “harmless” joke, but there is always the off chance that they will be overlooked anyway in the name of “cancel culture.” Such is the case with misogynists and “simping.”
Misogynists all over the internet, in an effort to discredit women, will do just about anything to stigmatize the act of supporting women who play/stream games. Whenever a female gamer/streamer receives any kind of support, whether it be a new follower, subscriber, or (especially) donor, misogynists are quick to raise the “simp” card or throw the “simp” flag onto the field. In their minds, nobody could willingly support a woman without receiving something abstract in return; nor could anybody make a simple donation to a woman for the reason that the entertainment she provides is worth it. Instead, “if you give your time or money to a woman, you are a simp because women are unworthy of such gifts, and you are only doing it to receive attention.” Thus, your true intentions to do nothing more than support an individual are overlooked and ignored.
To make matters worse, this is not the only context where misogynists point fingers. If anyone ever decides to defend a woman who is being targeted by sexism or sexual harassment, misogynists will immediately make the accusation of simping once more.
Redefining Simp Culture
It seems as though simp culture is here to stay, so the internet may as well get used to it. However, that does mean everyone must endure it in its current connotation. Destigmatizing simp culture is a two-step process:
- Redefining the weapon that misogynists have been using.
- Countering misogyny altogether by calling out people who prejudicially attack women, and then confronting them to let them know why they are wrong.
The first step is quite simple, actually. The word, “simp,” is the weapon used by misogynists to shame women and their supporters. If we change the meaning of this word, we can essentially nullify all of the negative connotations surrounding it. One obvious way to do this is to turn it into an acronym for something positive. For instance, “Supporter of Intellectual & Meaningful People.” If the internet were to adopt a new meaning like this one and embrace the acronym as something good, it would thwart the efforts of misogynists to weaponize it.
For this to work, however, the quiet majority (who possess common sense) would need to be more vocal than the loud minority that has been running rampant on social media for years. Then, whenever you see someone showing prejudice toward women, you must rise alongside them in their defense. Some people would call this “white-knighting,” but it is more commonly known as “standing up for what is right.”
Takeaways and Conclusions
Gaming and live-streaming have proven to be some of the toughest environments for women to gain respect in. The more women contribute to it and earn from it, the more misogynists try to delegitimize their success. Solving this problem begins with dismantling the arsenal of insults that the quiet minority of Internet users have wasted their time building. Currently, we are not stigmatizing misogyny with the same conviction that misogynists are using to stigmatize women’s contributions to the world. We were careless to let the situation get this out of hand, and now it needs to change. So, condemn the disrespectful actions of people, tell them why they are wrong, and inform them about what is correct. They clearly have not been taught basic decency and manners, so enlighten them! 👍
Thank you for reading this public service announcement! It is unfortunate that this stuff even needs to be said, but there are still people out there who have yet to realize the error of their ways. 😩 If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please feel free to comment below or on my social media at Twitch, Twitter, and Reddit.
Like this article? If so, I encourage you to check out some of my other articles here!