The Simp Series Continues…

As a twenty year old man who uses the internet, it is becoming increasingly harder by the day to ignore or deny this new term that has taken the internet by storm seemingly overnight. With the power of comments, everyone has the power to cast judgement and with free reigns most of those turn out to be negative and spiteful. There is without a doubt an unspoken bitterness on social media platforms, especially considering how overly sexualized posts or accounts can become. Not to mention annoying bots that claim to be so horny to their two followers.

Cue the new term sweeping the nation, leaving everyone to question the legitimacy of the phrase itself, ‘simp’. Simp is a term that boomed in popularity at such a rate that famous Youtuber Pewdiepie considered some of the controversies surrounding the word to be outrageous, commenting “I don’t think I’ve seen the internet collectively lose their mind over something in a very long time” when referring to how chaotic the accusations became in such a short span of time.

According to Urban Dictionary, a simp is defined as “A man that puts himself in a subservient/submissive position under women in hopes of winning them over, without the female bringing anything to the table”. With a lack of a concrete definition -and people abused internet slang to seem edgy- the usage of the word is beginning to spiral out of control. Is a simp a man in a toxic relationship? Is a simp any man that compliments and helps his girlfriend? Should the term be reserved for men on twitch who share endless amounts of money to women who pay them absolutely no recognition? The plainest answer I can give at the moment is I don’t know.

I’ve seen the term slung around so much in the past few weeks, it’s already starting to lose its meaning on me. Which is why I wanted to investigate the term itself and where it came from and better yet, how did it spread so fast? It is almost cult-like how dedicated some men on the internet are in avoiding simp-like tendencies and there are already hundreds of videos discussing the use of the word and who necessarily falls under the category.

With such online outrage of the term, it is worth exploring who exactly uses the term and why they might be spamming the four letters on their keyboards across the web. The term has been traced back to the 1990’s in a Three 6 Mafia song, “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” as a word meaning that opposite of a pimp, which is not a far stretch from what it means now. The word has dwindled in usage in the African American since then and has only reemerged with the online meme community. This term is heavily abused by incels and misogynists alike along with a slew of other terms like cuck, beta, or manwhore. Could simp just be another addition to the angry male vernacular or does it hold more significance than the terms that came before it?

The word simp can also be used as a verb. Not only can men be simps by giving their all to women who may not feel any romantic relations to them, the term is also used to explain the act. As a noun it can be explained by the acronym, “sucker idolizing mediocre pussy” and as a verb by elaborating on what these men may do. It works similarly to the verb ‘stanning’ which is also abused online, as a way to say that one is obsessed with something or someone.

Although I am not harassed and accussed on Twitter daily about being a simp, internet personalities and celebrities alike are beginning to see this trend as it spams their social media. One instance that took Youtube by storm was when the popular Youtuber iDubbbzTV was accused of being a simp because his girlfriend began selling lewd cosplay photos of herself online. It may seem as harmless as a harsh internet comment, but with the swarm of accusations in such a short amount of time, one can only imagine where the term may lead. Perhaps it could cause an online revolt against celebrities who are very public with their relationships, or further the incel movement as a whole. Could this be an attempt to reclaim some sort of lost masculinity or just another buzzword for toxic trolls on the internet to sling around at their leisure? It may be too soon to spell the fate of the internet’s new colorful trigger of 2020 but it may be possible to project its direction by investigating the cases of those seriously being accused of being simps as well as tracing what groups in particular are using the word in a spiteful manner and why they might feel the need to follow a new line of verbiage instead of sticking to their usual spiel.

Internet culture works in mysterious ways, with much of it seeming random and trendy at first but like the usage of simp, it can always be further explored. How could a term questioning someone’s masculinity be deemed a heinous remark or possibly career threatening one if masculinity itself is in a stable position. If words like cuck or beta are falling out of popularity for a word that has proven to cut deeper, it must be involved in some way to masculinity as a whole if the insult seemingly only applies to men. At the time of writing this article, simp has even transcended deep internet banter and has gone corporate. I have been a witness to multiple (now deleted) arguments from companies with employees referring to one another as simps for decisions made in the office.

If masculinity is being targeted to a degree that this term can seriously be used to harm someone’s credibility as what society deems appropriate for a man, and it is showing an obvious prominence in the vocabulary of the early decade then we must at least understand the logistics of the word. Considering the word can have such power, it seems as though an exploration of its definition (or the best definition I can provide) is in order. Simp is not something that can be proven and as far as my Amazon searches go, they are not selling simp detectors yet so the insult can serve as a somewhat legitimate accusation in 2020. Considering how much weight allegations can be on platforms like Twitter, it is better for men, especially younger men, to have an understanding of what this word means and how they should handle the linguistic end of the online banter if they happen to find themselves involved in some way, shape, or form with simp accusations on the internet.

One of the most prime examples of what a simp is, does, and represents comes in the form of a TikTok by user @ryantheleader who posted a video in character as he gives a female friend of his money for rent while she rejects his kisses and literally walks on him as if he is a doormat. This creates a distinct difference between a man in a dedicated relationship and an instance of a man being abused and taken advantage of. This seems to come in various forms, with platforms like Twitch and OnlyFans growing in popularity, many young men feel inclined to donate money to their favorite starlets in attempts to receive some small form of recognition like a hello or a name drop. Twitch and Onlyfans users seem to be the majority when it comes to what most people would classify a simp as and many these streamers are definitely taking notice.

Some, like video game streamer Corrina Kopf, are capitalizing on this trend, as she has recently posted on Instagram, simply writing “simp 4 me” as her fans went wild. This trend has continued on various platforms with various stars like Belle Delphine, Addison Rae, and others skyrocketing in popularity on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitch and benefiting from the generous donations of their loyal fan bases of young men desperate for their attention. Maybe the question now comes from separating Twitch users and incels who shovel out their money to streamers or friends they find attractive but have no chance of being with someone who may find themselves in a content and consensual relationship, who still find themselves being tormented with the word.

Since iDubbbz seems to be the most widely regarded bashed celebrity at the moment, starting with him might be a great step in the right direction. Ian (iDubbbzTV), has seen a wide array of backlash from his subscribers as well as other Youtubers for ‘allowing’ his girlfriend to run an OnlyFans account. According to an unspoken law of the internet, he should be in control of what she does with her body. The fact that she chooses to sell pictures of herself for revenue leads many online to believe that she walks right over him and puts him in his place. Many users have even taken it upon themselves to share memes of Ian bowing down to his girlfriend and obeying her every wish. At the end of the day, there seems to be a clear distinction between what Ian and his girlfriend have agreed is acceptable in their relationship, and the young men who endlessly seek notoriety and affection by using their money, sympathy, or whatever else they have to offer.

With as many opinions as the internet seems to have, other Youtubers chimed in on the issue Ian was dealing with. Probably the most prominent example was Pewdiepie’s video where he covers the controversy in full and discusses how many people felt betrayed by what Ian did. Pewdiepie seems to believe that a lot of the issues like Ian’s come from the notion that now “you sort of create an intimacy with people online” especially in an age with so much access to someone’s content and personality. He then mentions how the simp movement as a whole could be a projection of young men’s insecurity about relationships in general, stating “if they let their girlfriend do something like this, she’ll immediately start banging other guys” which conveys a level of uneasiness that young men may have, especially if they are not privy to relationships or have been mistreated in previous relationships. Pewdiepie jokingly ended his video stating that Ian should have “learned his lesson” almost poking fun at how ridiculous some of the claims made against Ian have become.

Counseling psychologist Dr. Raffaello Antonino has also weighed in on how harmful this movement can be to the self-worth of the young men being called a simp online. He claims that “the impact of this at a psychological level can be of a reduction in self-esteem and self-confidence, as it may correspond to the formation of negative beliefs about oneself,” which may lead to a self-deprecating cycle where they continue to give money to their favorite personalities regardless of what they may gain from it. Although the word simp may apply more heavily to those who act as doormats to the women they are infatuated with, this does not mean that this is treatment that they deserve to go through, as many of them believe that they may not be good enough unless they continue this line of thinking where they do not see themselves as an equal to these women.

The simp mudslinging may be much more complex than what I have covered in this piece but it is a slippery slope that has real world repercussions beyond any word of the same effect that have been used before it. Although groups of young men, whether they are single or in a relationship, may be categorized as simps all across the internet, it is worthwhile to note the differences between those being walked on and those who do not show their utmost domination in their relationships. The internet, for the most part, is a lawless environment where concreteness is often tossed out of the proverbial window as we all may be aware by now.

The outrage of the simp movement may not be able to be simply broken down or defined, it may simply represent the chaotic nature of the internet and the insecure notion of where men stand in the 21st century, where most masculinity is usually paired with ‘toxic’. As Angela Nagle puts it in her book, Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right, “into the vacuum of ‘leaderlessness’ almost anything can appear” when referring to how widespread the word simp can be used to label someone when there is no space to define it online. She continues, “no matter how networked, ‘transgressive’, social media savvy or non-hierarchical a movement may be, it is the content of its ideas that matter just as much as at any point in history” as if to say something like the simp movement that has spread so quickly comes from the fact that masculinity seems to be totally lost and misunderstood in the age of Instagram and Twitch.tv.

If anyone needs the proof, Twitch streamer BadBunny illustrates as clear as day how atrocious it can be for young men obsessed with online personalities. She calls her fans ‘paypigs’ and shouts at her audiences when they do not spam her page with 5 dollar donations despite watching her “for hours and hours a day”. In a society where this has become somewhat normal, using the word simp in proper cases could help shed light on toxic relationships and towards men who find themselves tangled in denial of whether or not they are in the friend-zone. Perhaps the simp movement can act as a provocative wake-up call for young men with low self-esteem to realize they do not have to throw themselves out there for any woman to use them. Instead of being used as an insult to drag others down, it could be seen as a beacon to remove these young men from bowing down to the women in (and out) of their lives and focusing on self-worth and identifying what modern masculinity means to them. If this is a term we are seemingly stuck with for a while, we may as well use it to create change in a world where many would argue masculinity is just as undefinable as the word simp. Considering how hand-in-hand they seem to be, setting boundaries for what modern relationships should be acts as a decent starting point.

Ian does not strike me personally as a simp, considering he views his partner as an equal who can make their own adult decisions on what they do with their body and how they make their money. Those who value themselves as lesser than those who they idolize and shower with money are the ones who need to be aware of how a modern relationship has to show a level of equality that they are clearly missing. In all likelihood however, the word simp will probably continue to be tossed mindlessly around the internet until it fades into obscurity like all of its synonyms before it.

Works Consulted

Nagle, Angela. Kill All Normies Online Culture Wars from Tumblr and 4chan to the Alt-Right and Trump. Zero Books, 2017.

Ward, Anna Maria. “Here’s Why People Are Calling Each Other ‘Simps’ Online.” The Daily Dot, 31 Mar. 2020.

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Anthony Carbonetta

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