SIMP! Just a word, or a symbol of fragile masculinity?

Lily Deitch, A&E Editor

Simp. A word that has commonly taken a place within the day-to-day speech patterns of a typical high schooler.

I see the word everywhere. It’s on Tiktok’s “simp nation,” (a group of boys who compliment their crushes without being in a relationship with them). I see it in rap and music. And I hear it at school. I’ll often pass a group of boys in the hallway and see them making fun of their friend for just talking to a girl.

Honestly, I know I hear it among groups of girls too. But I hear it much more with boys.

And it’s viewed as a joke.

In reality, though, It’s not as innocent as it seems.

This phrase comes from the word “simpleton” which means an ignorant, silly, or foolish person.

Below the joking nature, the phrase reveals some disturbing truths about the way boys mentally develop and want to treat each other.

“It’s a dead joke, it’s just not funny,” junior Griffin Terry said.

There is an idea that if boys are “overdoing it” then they deserve to get made fun of. It isn’t silly or ignorant to compliment someone or be nice to them. So, what is too much, and why is there even a “too much”?

I guess if a guy totally abandons his other friends for his crush, that wouldn’t be nice; but there are better ways to deal with that situation than making fun of him.

It’s discouraging. It implants insecurity in the mind of a developing teenage boy. It makes them think they are not masculine if they don’t act in any way other than as a tough-guy. It makes them think that they need to hide their emotions.

According to The Children’s Society, a London-based charity, “Growing up should be a time of exploration and expression. Not a time to fit into a predesigned gender-specific box.”

After looking through the interviews with Creek boys, I was surprised with the responses, though.

When asked if this word makes them hesitant to show affection toward a crush in front of their friends, all responded with no.

Frankly, it made me feel optimistic. This is the community I would hope for, one where boys aren’t afraid to be openly interested in the person they like; it is just not the one I see around me.

When I’m out and about, at school and with my peers, I hear simp all the time. It’s possible that since I’m not actively part of these conversations, I could have it wrong. And maybe there is hope for our world after all – maybe this is just people’s public veneer. Maybe my views were too “simp”le.

A place where boys treat everyone kindly. Isn’t that the type of world that we want to live in?

I was raised to think that kindness is the most important skill to have. If everyone is kind.

Expression should be applauded, especially since it is so hard. It’s unexpected, but boys might actually be comfortable with themselves, despite all the jokes.