Updated: AUGUST 2, 2021
Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on July 22, 2021

Simp is an insulting slang term for men who are overly attentive and subservient to women, usually without being in relationships with them. These men would seemingly do anything to please a woman. Simp can also be used as a verb describing the behavior of these men.

Many who use the term simp believe the men they insult are attentive to women because they hope to have sex. However, it can also insult men seen as "feminine" because they are connected to their feelings and really care for women.

The term simp has been used for more than 100 years. It was initially just a shortening of the term simpleton. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, hip-hop lyrics called men acting subserviently towards women simps. This term hit the mainstream with the rise of the Simp Nation meme on TikTok around 2020. This internet trend saw social media users describing the behavior of subservient male millennials and welcoming them to Simp Nation. For these young people, simp is an acronym that stands for "sucker idolizing mediocre pussy" While simp is a relatively new use of the term, its meaning is already evolving. Now simp can also be used to show someone likes someone, like the slang term stan.

It's unclear whether the historical term simp, meaning simpleton, evolved to become the current meaning of the term simp. However, they may be linked. Perhaps people believed the men they’d accuse of being simps were simpletons because they were too stupid to stand up for themselves and take a more masculine role in relationships. This brings up additional problems with ableism, as it starts with the premise that people with lower IQs are worth less than people of average intelligence.

Men are called simps because they behave in a caring way towards women, often without the benefit of a sexual relationship. For example, simps might comfort female friends when they break up with other men, buy them dinner, or compliment them. While this behavior is sweet, it usually lands the simp in the so-called "friend zone." However, a man may be called a simp for expressing his love for his girlfriend, prioritizing time with a partner, or crying when his relationship ends.

There are several similar terms to simp, including cuck, white knight, nice guy, reply guy, and softboi.

More About Simp

Some men called simps are simply caring people who want to help the women in their lives. The word is used against them for being thoughtful friends.

There is a more specific simp stereotype, that of a man motivated by sex. Rather than working on themselves in the hope of attracting a partner, they focus all their energy on appearing to be nice. They hope this will make the woman they like trust them and give them some romantic leverage for sex later. The idea of this simp is that he becomes frustrated and acts entitled to sex because he put himself out for a woman.

The term simp is often linked to the term incel, short for involuntarily celibate. Incels believe they have a right to have sex with someone if they are friendly and polite to them. This is a view some "simps" share, but not all. The term incel has more of a misogynistic connotation than simp, which usually paints someone as weak or pathetic.

The term simp has been criticized for several reasons. People object to the way the term stereotypes and criticizes men for behaving in a way that’s not traditionally masculine. They also reject how the term tends to paint women as manipulative sexual objects out to use men for what they can get. Simp has also come under fire because it’s a heteronormative term that insults people who don’t conform to traditional gender roles.

Additionally, it is essential to recognize the issue of ableism in the term simp. Simpleton is akin to dumb or stupid or a general assumption of low intelligence. These terms are historically tied, not only to submissive cisgender men but people with disabilities. Simp is misogynistic in its glorification of toxic masculinity and degrading to men who have disabilities that allow these toxic entities to categorize them as feminine because of neuro and physical divergence.

Critics of the term also object to internet movements inspired by it, such as No Simp September. This annual online event challenges men to avoid simping for an entire month. No Simp September encourages men to be unsupportive of women in several ways, such as not donating to female online celebrities or promoting content featuring women.


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