"The Worst Thing A Woman Can Call A Man"?

I'd never had cause to think about the word "creepy" until an article pointed it out.  As the article mentions, "creepy" is a word used disproportionately by women, and disproportionately to describe a particular kind of undesirable man.

It's true; if someone tells me someone else is "creepy," I plant a metaphorical red flag on that person's entry in my mental database.  As women, the word "creepy" is used as a warning to other women.  It is a warning which is not lightly given, and which is almost always taken seriously. 

You can call a guy almost anything, and the woman you're talking to will brush it off as a bad day, a personality clash, whatever.  But if you call a guy "creepy," she will sit up straight and shift forward.  She may want details, or she may simply nod and agree.  But no matter what, "creepy" is kind of a sacred word among women, if that doesn't sound too trite and overbearing.

"Creepy" unpacks as "someone you don't want to be alone with."  It carries predatory connotations, and indicates lack of respect for boundaries.  The (male) author of the source article moans that women brand a guy creepy "when a guy looks at a girl for a little too long, when he friends her on Facebook a little too quickly" but that isn't my experience.  In my experience, it takes one of two things to earn "creepy":

1.    A single, yet utterly outlandish incident
2.    A pattern of stalkerish, too-forward, or boundary-ignoring behavior.

For example, she's not going to call a guy creepy if he friends her too quickly on Facebook.  But if this is part of a long-standing pattern of inappropriate behavior, then it may well be the last straw that leads to "creepy." 

(Note to guys: the best way to get yourself branded "creepy" is to give unsolicited back rubs to female coworkers.  This behavior is more common than you might think. 

Sub-note: if a woman's shoulders tense up when you walk up behind her and set your hands on them, this is not an indication that she is tense and needs a massage.  It is an indication that you need to back away and NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.)

As the author relates in the anecdote he ends the article with, it is entirely possible to get the "creepy" label by accident.  But the way to shake it is to BACK OFF.  When you get right down to it, "creepy" is just a shorthand for indicating that "this guy won't back off." 

I'm intrigued by his anecdote, though.  I would like to see a transcript of everything he elided past.  Which is to say, what happened on the walk home?  I suspect that he tripped her "creep alarm" somehow during the walk; presumably by accident.

And there is the final lesson: you don't get called a creep at random.  If you are a guy who has been called "creepy," it's not a death sentence.  But it is an indication that you frightened her, however unintentionally.  Food for thought, one should hope.

Photo credit: Flickr/pdeonarain


magdelyns's picture


"Creep" is actually a gendered insult, and therefore, a sexist term used predominately by women.  I don't think men have any obligation to give a pass on the sexist expression.

Creepy or creep is a pejoriative term used by women against men.  Since Women have little responsibility in the mating game, except to accept or reject an advance, they operate from a position of "privilege" in which they can brand unwanted attention as socially deviant.  Unwanted attention comes from those men that women feel are inferior.  Because the calibur of men that a woman attracts can be a direct reflection on their own worth ("mirror image effect"), when a woman is approached by somebody she finds unappealing she internalizes the attention as a poor reflection on her own worth.  She then lashes out.  It is a mechanism for not only rejecting an advance, but denigrating the man who attempted the connection.

BTW:  women don't get called slut, whore, or fat "at random"



Interesting comment, thank you.  Although I would add that in addition to accepting or rejecting advances, women's responsibility in "the mating game" also extends to avoiding date rape, disengaging with potential stalkers, and so forth.


Your article reminds me of a post that I wrote last year about date rape--experts actually advise women to look out for "creepy behavior." I think the worst thing that can happen to a guy who is accidentally mis-labeled as "creepy" is that he won't get laid on that particular night. I also think that women know when certain people are crossing lines that they shouldn't. 


notbuyingit's picture


You are so obviously blinded by your irrational fear of womens equality that I feel sorry for you.
On what fucking planet do "women have little responsibility in the mating game, except to accept or reject an advance" where "they operate from a position of "privilege"..."

Let me give you a hint, not this one! Your comment is directly contradictory. How can any person 'operate from a position of privalege' AND 'have little responsibility' at the same time. Trust me, IF women were so privaleged, the rates of sexual violence would be much lower. Don't hate on all women because you got rejected a few times and armoured up in a MRA group. Chances are YOU feel so entitled to women that you yourself act like a creep.



Tam Lin's picture

Tam Lin

I've gotten this before, even from women I thought I was friends with. It's very hurtful. I respect your opinion, but I think you're being a little too kind; it's a lot easier to get branded a "creeper" than to go around giving unasked for shoulder massages (who the hell does that?). In my case, I'm quiet, perpetually shy, and cursed with a face that looks like 40 miles of rough road. So you see, it's not about what you do, even what you don't do (in my case, talk much or have much to do with anyone) creeps people out.


Qixe's picture


i call them pogo's and floobs. A floob is a weak guy that acts like he cant do shit without a woman and dresses to nice; he's an idiot who tries to be like a playboy even though he is sensitive and understands what he is doing. A pogo is a pogo stick, he has got no legs and moves by hopping on vaginas.


worth commenting's picture

worth commenting

i love it i had called some men creepy and my definition is like the kind of guy you just can't even look at thanks for the post