Saturday, September 08, 2012

Creeps in Society

I would like to be surprised by the way some people are trying to redefine the word "creep."  One person's bad behavior shouldn't deserve being called "the creep," as if he was somehow unique.  Many fans have creepy behavior.

I can think of three types of creepiness:
  •      personally creepy
  •      generally creepy
  •      specifically creepy
Personally creepy is what creeps you out.  It may not creep out anyone else in the world.  Take clowns.  I enjoy clowns, they are generally amusing and often acrobatic.  Now, maybe it was in response to Killer Klowns from Outer Space or It, but, about 20 years ago, people started to say that clowns creeped them out. I still don't understand that one.  I was in the situation for most of the summer of being majorly creeped out by my own body after surgery.  I hate looking at incisions.  In fact, I would not look at my incision if I could possibly avoid it.  As fascinating as medicine has always been to me, I could never consider a career in medicine because of this problem.  But it doesn't seem to bother medical professionals that much.  So I know my response was my problem.

Generally creepy is behavior that people engage in without thinking about it and it's not aimed at any individual.  Wearing clothes inappropriate to a situation, for example, not bathing regularly...general behavior we can point at and say "Weird."  But it's just the way the person is.  We can either accept it or reject it.

Specifically creepy is when one person does something to another that really creeps the second person out.  This happens from time to time in personal interactions, and is more likely to happen when one person is attracted to another, and completely misreads the situation.

Take that Readercon situation again. I respect the fact the man involved really creeped out one specific woman during Readercon. I believe the woman who brought the complaint about him. Given the Readercon rules of conduct, she did the right thing.  But, an awful lot of people have chosen to go beyond being sympathetic and helpful to the woman to being outraged and therefore generally creeped out.   They are trying to project their feelings of outrage on the rest of us by blowing this unfortunate situation out of all proportion.

What's next - burquas? Male bodyguards? Being forced to stay home to avoid the possible outrage of a man making a pass?   Now that's really creepy.

Related postings:

  • They Said/They Said
  • Dealing with Anonymous and/or Abusive Comments
  • Sexual Abuse and the Pillars of Society

    Anonymous said...

    I've been astounded at the number of women in this discussion who are apparently living their lives in seemingly constant fear of or anger at every male that they encounter, convinced that all males are potential molesters/rapists. I can appreciate this attitude from women who have undergone some sort of trauma related to this but I don't think that accounts for many of the reactions I've been seeing. What a sad way to go through life!

    Laurie Mann said...

    I have to agree. And I've known men who were rapists:

    I understand women, and even some men, get mightily creeped out by an unwanted pass. But the vast majority of people making a pass do understand "No." I also understand that some women have trouble saying "No." Maybe that's what we need - a class on saying "No" and understanding and reacting to "No" properly.

    Geoffrey A. Landis said...

    Yes, there's a difference between "creepy" in any of the many senses of it, and "unable to understand or accept the word 'no',"
    I certainly have met several people who seem bizarrely inappropriate in their personal interactions. As it happens, these people haven't been hitting on me, but I do think that if they did, it would be creepy.