A lot of men get really upset when they’re called “creepy” by women. A lot of them feel like they are being done a grave injustice when women express any fear of them. They’ll compare it to slut-shaming, they’ll compare it to racism, or they’ll just discard whatever thin veneer of humanity they’d been using to cover their misogyny and sense of entitlement and get incoherently vicious.
Here’s the thing, though. Women need a word to refer to guys who freak us out and make us feel unsafe, and that word for “failed my risk assessment” doesn’t need to meet the approval of men (and in fact might not do its job if it did require dudely endorsement).
I will readily concede that there’s a lot of casual classism and ableism and racism behind who gets read by others as frightening. For example, the fact that a lot of white women are particularly alarmed by black men? Racist as hell, so not okay. People who are creeped out by people with disabilities are being appallingly ableist and need to examine their shit. People who shy away from anyone not wearing designer clothing? Classist like whoa.
What I think a lot of men are doing wrong in their critiques of the word “creep” is straying too far toward saying that nobody gets to call anybody creepy, that we just plain don’t need the word at all.
When no. Maybe nobody told them, but lots of us actually do need to be able to label some behavior (and some people) as creepy. There just needs to be less classism, ableism, and racism muddying up that very important (seriously, we’re talking life or death here) category.
It has come to my attention that there are men in the world who just did not realize that the word “creep” is a thing women use to defend ourselves, rather than a way for the popular cheerleader they always wanted to bang hated to continue denying sex to mercilessly oppressing nerds FOREVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
I assembled a lot of links for one such person who is clearly a really decent dude who definitely just wants people to not be shitty to each other but happens to be really new to this issue. Since I went to all the trouble, I will compile them here for others facing a similar situation but who don’t have the energy to put together the intro course into Why Creepiness is Legitimately Objectively Bad.
I have an ungodly fricking number of links talking about why women need the word and what a lot of the criticism of the word is rooted in. Now they can be your links too!