I think what bugs MRAs and guys like them so much about the word “creep” is that it’s the only word they understand means “Game over, you lose. Don’t ever go near me again.” Anything else, they feel they can work around, even a flat out “no”, just means “okay try again later” or “maybe it’s not a firm no, let’s see if I can talk my way into her phone number with another 5 minutes of pushing.”
But “creepy” means that their “shot” is over. If they’re creeping us out, that means anything else they do will just creep us out more. Pushing the issue will just mean they’re being more of a creep. It’s over. She’s never going to be interested. Goodbye. It is the ONLY word we have that shuts off all opportunities for them. It is the only word we have to set our boundaries in stone.
That’s why they’re obsessed with policing it, that’s why they want it to be unusable, or call it a slur, that’s why they keep wanting explanations and claiming creepy is too vague, because they can nitpick and rules lawyer and push against explanations.
If we say they had bad breath, it means pop a breath mint and try again, if we say we’re tired, it means try again tomorrow, if we say we don’t like them, it just means we need to get to know them better, if we say we’re in a relationship, it means wait until it’s over (or try to sabotage it if they pretend they’re our friend), if we just want to be friends, it means for them to wait until another time, if we hate that they’re a transphobe, they’ll try to convince us they’re really not, if we think they’re exotifying us for our race, they’ll try to dictionary fight us about what exotifying means and it’s “just a preference”, if they touched us and we didn’t like it, they’ll try to convince us we’re over sensitive and it’s a compliment, if they were following us around, it was just them really liking us and not stalking. On and on and on, everything we say and do will be picked apart as to why it is totally okay for them to keep haranguing us and why we objectively mustn’t rule out dating them.
Hell, there are sites upon sites upon sites, and bestselling books teaching men how to push, talk, pressure, confuse, trick, threaten, and nitpick their way past our “nos”, past our explanations, past our boundaries. To so many guys, “no” (and any variation of no, including all explanations) means “wrong tactic, try again.”
So we HAVE to say “you’re creeping me out”, because they ARE, because a lot of the behaviours above are creepy, because not leaving us alone is creepy, because anything else we say gets pushed back onto us, and they refuse to respect our boundaries, and that is fucking creepy! Creepy is the only tool we have to definitively send a message to a guy we’re not interested. You’re creepy, if you do anything else towards me, you’ll be even creepier, and THAT they do understand.
And that’s why they hate it so much. That’s why they want to take the word away from us. And that’s why we can’t let them. It’s the only tool we have in a society where nothing a woman says to a man to set her boundaries can’t be picked apart by that man and pushed back onto her to defend, and re-defend those boundaries.