9 Creepy Things Society Says Are OK

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Admittedly, the word "creepy" can mean something different to everyone — that is, things that totally give me the heeby-jeebies might not bother the person sitting next to me at all, and vice versa. However, there are quite a few social norms which, when prompted, a lot of us tend to realize are actually pretty darn creepy. What are some of these things society thinks are OK that are actually really creepy, you might be wondering? Luckily for you and I, there's an AskReddit thread posing this very question: It asks, "What is the creepiest thing society says is OK?" — and as you can imagine, Reddit absolutely blew up with thousands of responses and counting.

Again, "creepy" is subjective, and there's plenty of back and forth in the comments on what is unfairly labeled as "creepy," or what is more "misunderstood" or "stigmatized" than legitimately creep-worthy. With this mind, I tried to pull comments that refer to gender norms and social constructs, particularly those which relate to women. When it comes down to it, "creepy" things to me should be reserved for, say, horror movies, not the frameworks through which we see the world and value one another in our society. You can check out the full thread of responses over at AskReddit, but here are a few of the responses that struck me the most:

1. Paparazzi Culture

Personally, I've never been affected by paparazzi because I'm not remotely famous. However, for people who are frequently in the limelight (whether they choose to be or not), the paparazzi can really invade people's personal space, create tons of drama and tension, and basically ruin lives. While arguably paparazzo photographers are just doing their jobs like anybody else, it's a tough profession to defend because it's so clearly making money off of the drama and suffering of others, and often without their subjects' consent. If you were to mimic that behavior with a non-famous person, I can only bet you'd get into some legal trouble, but when people are "famous," it becomes "OK." Being a public figure is one thing, but that doesn't mean every aspect of your life is fair game.

2. Purity Culture

Purity culture and everything that comes along with it (including purity rings, etc.) place an enormous amount of value on a woman's "purity" (aka her virginity). It teaches girls that their worth is tied up in their sexuality, and it discourages them from actually owning their own sexuality. It also contributes to the classic double standard surrounding sex: Men are "studs" for having sex with lots of people, while women are "sluts."

3. Catcalling

As a woman, I've regularly experienced catcalling over the course of my life, whether it's been on my way to work, at school, or going to the pharmacy in my pajamas. And I'm far from alone: Catcalling is a huge cultural problem and ties into a big picture problem with our society's values. The pervasive nature of catcalling sends the message that women exist for other people's pleasure, regardless of their own wants and needs; furthermore, it normalizes the continued harassment and sexualization of women, which we're subject to simply by virtue of existing. While there's been awesome activism and awareness about catcalling in particular lately, the issue is persistent which, as a feminist, is frustrating.

4. Touching Pregnant People Without Asking

Personally, I've never been pregnant, so I've never experienced this, but it's a thing that happens. Yes, it's become a cultural norm of sorts where people expect that it's OK to reach out and touch a person's pregnant belly. For me, this connects to our cultural norm that it's OK to touch women's bodies without their permission; it suggest that there's a communal sense of ownership over women's bodies. Inreality, though, the only person who has any ownership over a body is the person to whom that body belongs.

And it's not just pregnant women or touching, either; we see the same thing in action when people touch or make unwanted remarks about a person of color's hair, or when people ask nonbinary people about their junk, or in any number of other cases and circumstances. The bottom line: If it's not your body, leave it alone (unless you're asking for consent during a sexual situation, in which case ask away).

5. Posting People's Nudes Online

I have literally no idea why people do this. Well, I have an idea: People post photos and videos of naked women (or exposed to some degree) because they want to get revenge on that person and feel superior to them. In a society where people ask for women's nude photos on a regular basis, it's also all too common to see people post pictures of their ex when they break-up. But hey, guess what? Not OK. This creepiness speaks to the level at which we value women based solely on their bodies, how much we treat women's bodies as public property, and how much shaming we do when it comes to women's sexuality.

6. Declawing Cats

OK, so this one has nothing to do with women, but I still think it's important: While many places no longer allow you to have your cat's claws removed, it still happens. While pet owners make their own decisions, it's important to remember that the research is in when it comes to declawing, and it's dangerous and painful for cats. While people don't want to scratch up their furniture, our pets are living, loving little creatures who can't speak for themselves, especially when it comes to a medically unnecessary operation.

7. Gore And Violence Are Considered More Acceptable Than Nudity And Sex

This? Is really strange. In movies, TV shows, and video games we're regularly seeing a ton of graphic violence, and for many people, it's no big deal — while something like an errant nipple belonging to a woman is the END OF THE WORLD. Does it seem like that should be reversed to anyone else? How is it acceptable to perform acts of violence, and yet our bodies are penalized simply for existing?

8. We're Basically Working Ourselves To Death

OK, so I'd actually say this one is more "unnerving" than traditionally "creepy," but regardless, it's true that our society sometimes has such a huge emphasis on hard work that we allow ourselves to put other things — family, relationships, friendships, personal growth, and so on — on the backburner indefinitely. Sometimes, it's important to step back and ask ourselves what we're actually working towards and what we're gaining from our work.

9. Victim Blaming And Victim Shaming

This comment pretty much sums up a lot of what's prevalent throughout the thread, but the fact that people still blame victims when it comes to sexual harassment or assault is sickening, and in my opinion, definitely plays into our society's values and cultural norms. When society as a whole blames victims, it sends the message that it's women who are at fault, and that it's not the responsibility of the perpetrator. This, I think, stems back to cultural and societal norms about women's inequality.

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