Simp culture fuels toxic masculinity

Simp culture ostracizes boys who are kind and encourages them to adhere to the social construct of masculinity

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by Katie Massman, Twitter editor

I first came across the word “simp” while mindlessly scrolling through TikTok. I don’t recall it exactly, but it was something along the lines of “If you compliment a girl and she isn’t your girlfriend, welcome to simp nation.” Confused, I went over to Google and searched the definition of this word simp, which, according to Urban Dictionary, means “a man that puts himself in a submissive position under women in hopes of winning them over.” After further interrogation of some sophomore boys, though, I came to the conclusion that simping was more of being overly nice to a girl, which may lead to placing girls over their friends.

At first, I didn’t really think much of it because it was just a harmless word boys were using to make fun of people online. However, I began to hear it more and more from boys I was friends with, to the point where one boy would call his friend a “simp” just for having a conversation with a couple of girls. He would respond by walking away and refusing to talk to any more girls, as if this was like the worst insult he could have received.

Although it seems like a stupid, immature teenage boy thing, I think there’s a deeper effect it has on young adults. Obviously girls will be negatively affected due to boys trying to act tough instead of kind, but it can be deeply confusing to boys who are trying to learn how to form healthy, respectful relationships. Do they continue “simping” in order to be a genuinely nice person, or do they begin acting tough and careless in order to fit in with their friends, even if that isn’t their natural instinct?

This decision often ends with the latter, resulting in a society where boys constantly degrade their peers in order to look cool and tough, therefore perpetuating a cycle of toxic masculinity. 

According to Wikipedia, “toxic masculinity” is defined by adherence to traditional male gender roles that consequently stigmatize and limit the emotions boys and men may comfortably express while emphasizing other emotions such as anger.

This does not mean that masculinity itself is toxic, but when certain “masculine” traits are overexaggerated they turn unhealthy as boys feel forced to succumb to this stereotype.

So when boys call each other out for “simping,” they subconsciously reinforce the idea that showing certain emotions and making themselves vulnerable should be looked down upon.

How do we combat this widespread belief that making oneself vulnerable means you are weak? 

I would have to believe it starts within boys’ friend groups, as most of the time they are just looking to impress each other. I hope they soon realize this trend does not hurt anyone other than themselves and come together to put it to an end. 

Yet this toxic masculinity is so normalized in our culture that this solution may be a little far fetched. So the first big step we can all partake in is creating an environment where boys are able to speak about their emotions, become vulnerable and be polite to girls without fear of retribution. It also would not hurt to eliminate the word simp from our vocabularies, because after all there isn’t such a thing as a simp, that’s just being a polite person.