The word ‘Creep’ and Society — Revisited

The Lonely island performing ‘The Creep’

It is easy, and usually intrinsic, to evaluate if a person comes off as a creep. Creeps seem to have similar traits and emit matching vibes that, with time and practice, are easily deciphered and flagged. Once a person is identified as a creep, all interactions with said person are permanently premeditated and constricted. No one likes having a creep around — they are unnerving and feel dangerous. Note my use of feel in the previous sentence; it is extremely important. Our feelings have been guiding us since the beginning of time in reaching decisions; however, these feelings do not have sense of fairness. Furthermore, these decisions that are reached may not necessarily be the best ones, but the ones that feel right.

An important criterion of identifying a creep, whether you like to admit it or not, is appearance. If a person is not pleasant to look at, this may heavily affect our interactions and thoughts about them. Humans are extremely fast in recognizing and analyzing faces — we always have been, it used to be an integral role in survival. Furthermore, two people — one rather pleasant looking and the other not — may express the exact statement with the same intentions and emotions — yet, it will be received differently. This is due to the constant evaluation of the person based on stimuli, namely the visual stimulus. Humans are social creatures that strive to surround themselves with similar characters. A person appearing to be alien to one, be it their personality or appearance, has already lost the first impression — which is popularly recognized as a deal-breaker.

The ‘creep’ effect, if you may, is not prevalent in ordinary encounters as much as it is in romantic ones — and rightly so. As controversial as it is to concede this, appearance has always existed in our partner formula, and most likely is here to remain. One may attenuate the appearance criterion after learning the real value of companionship and personality, but no one should feel ashamed of maintaining this requirement. After all, as previously stated, humans are visual creatures, and instinctively look for equivalent or better-looking partners for reproductive purposes. Interestingly enough, as a side note, the previous statement might come off as a surprise — humans are renown for marriages solely for social status, power, wealth, or maybe even, less common admittedly, desperation.

The digital media age has inevitably invaded us and plays an important part of our modern-day society. Although advantageous and an aid to human advancement, the internet may be used as a tool to control the perception of others. Body image immediately comes to mind as an issue amplified by the internet. Luscious hair, prominent jawline, and chiseled abs for men; clear and zit-less faces, big and firm breasts, curvy yet fat-minimized bodies for women. No wonder why you would find zombies at the gym that do not know why they are going. No wonder why many women choose to conceal their natural faces with a layer of makeup. We are trying to live a perfectionist world where everyone meets that beauty standard — forgetting that beauty is not unified but found in our quirks and imperfections.

If you think you are not affected, then I will restate a word — creep. I bet every time I have mentioned this word, you subconsciously imagined a man, forgetting that creep is a gender-neutral term. This is because online culture and movies have repeatedly reinforced the idea — a creep is portrayed as a man that is unpleasant looking, overweight, unlucky with women, little to no friends, drug usage, shady practices, and why not — lives in a trailer. This is extremely dangerous as none of the previously listed fit in the literal definition of creep: a detestable person, one that deserves extreme dislike. We live in a culture that is hostile towards unlucky individuals. Returning to our hypothetical, two people — one rather pleasant looking and the other not — could approach the same individual with romantic advances and both getting shut down. The former will be shunned as an individual seeking their romantic soulmate, but evidently is not compatible with the sought-out person, but the latter will be viewed as a loner that remains to struggle in finding romantic companionship. In a 2005 Saturday Night Live (SNL) sketch, it is suggested that to avoid a sexual harassment lawsuit, you should: be handsome, be attractive, and don’t be unattractive. This sounds inherently wrong because if you are considering filing a lawsuit, then the sexual harassment offense is of considerable magnitude, but it should not depend on the offender’s looks. It is important to remember that SNL is comedic and is intended for humorous audiences, but this sketch has been cited afterwards in arguments in similar subjects online for many years after, as many believe this is an observed phenomenon. All the previously listed issues are also similarly present for women and are not unique to men. In fact, women seem to have it worse regarding body image. It is unbelievable how the world sexualizes different parts of women and pressure them in maintaining an unnatural standard. It is not surprising that more women struggle with depression than men. Being incapable of accepting your own body, and feeling uncomfortable in your own skin can be disastrous on the mental health.

Maybe we cannot take definitive action regarding these problems, but naturally humans are wired to act this way. In a 2011 psychology study, it was found that we naturally pay more attention to attractive people — which does not come to a great surprise, I have mentioned earlier that as humans, we are constantly evaluating humans based on stimuli. So, if it seems that this is who we are, what can we do? Perhaps being aware of these problems suffices as a change. The next time you want to judge someone, or flag someone as a creep, take a moment and re-evaluate why you felt that way. As humans, we are plagued with biases, and being aware of them could be beneficial.

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