After 169 years of publication, The New York Times yesterday registered a new achievement: they published an article about the word ‘simp’.
It’s not just a throwaway piece in America’s paper of record, either. The article links the term ‘simp’, and the folks who accuse others of ‘simping’, to a pervasive culture of misogyny.
In A Short History of ‘Simp’, reporters Ezra Marcus and Jonah Engel Bromwich argue the term – used to denigrate a man who exerts himself to impress or comfort a woman, without that effort being acknowledged – has links to the gnarlier side of men’s rights activism.
‘Simp’ traversed through hip-hop before becoming “a staple of men’s rights forums, where feminism is derided as weakening men,” they wrote.
The pair claims ‘simp’ then bubbled into mainstream social media, including TikTok, where jokey content about ‘simping’ has become a genre unto itself.
@polo.boyyCEO of shiny chins ##fyp ##foryou ##foryoupage ##simp♬ hey ya rockstar – emetuttell
Marcus and Engel Bromwich argue that ‘simp’ is more than a lighthearted jab at guys who try a bit too hard to make themselves noticed. They state it’s a pretty solidly sexist term from top to bottom.
“The word expresses discomfort with equality when it comes to gender, and offers a simple way to dismiss the people causing that discomfort,” the pair write.
You don’t need to look too far back to see evidence for their claim.
Google Trends data reveals that global search interest in the term ‘simp’ peaked in late March this year.
The timing is notable: around the same point, YouTube star Ian Carter, aka idubbbz, was the target of a misogynistic backlash when fans discovered his girlfriend, Anisa Jomha, operates an OnlyFans account.
Carter initially played along with the ‘simp’ jokes. But in a March 29 video, he defended Jomha, expressed his support for sex workers, and disavowed his weirder and more abusive fans.
“I love my girlfriend, and I’m totally fine with it,” he said.
“It doesn’t affect me. If you are upset by me admitting this, then I suggest you go idolise someone else.”
It’s those hardcore fans – the people Carter says felt “personally betrayed” by the revelation – who are primarily targeted in the New York Times’ piece.
If you’d like to learn more about internet slang from an august paper of record, be our guest. While you’re at it, peep the MEL Magazine piece which provided the backbone for a lot of the Times’ report.
fuck what the new york times says, i’ll simp til i fuckin’ die, and then i’ll simp in the afterlife
— GTL, gym, tan, lexapro🦫 (@heroinjuulp0d) July 7, 2020