Why You Should Stop Saying the Word “Cringey”

Amelia Westfall, Staff Reporter

The internet is so diligent at connecting a high array of people in record time that majority of what’s in become unoriginal and loses effect fast. It seems that something that is completely relevant one week will lose all meaning and bearing the next. Two big issues arise from this, one being that some people have a harder time than others when it comes to realizing that something is now outdated, and two being that irrelevance of internet trends are extremely relative. In fact, “coolness” in itself is extraordinarily subjective.

What may seem “cool” to one group of people is extremely trivial to another. This forces those who are desperate to be cool to ensure their position. A “holier than thou” attitude settles around people who want to secure their trendiness. By hopelessly trying to reach a higher status as someone who is in, they need to lower someone else’s status and push them out. This is amplified in our generation’s overuse of the word “cringey”.

To cringe is to coil away which is similar to what the word “cringey” means in today’s slang. Nowadays, people use the word “cringey” to signify that an action or thing is unpleasant or awkward.  However, “cringey” is followed with so many connotations that it’s a lot less innocent than something being merely awkward. When calling a person “cringey”, you’re saying that they are lesser than you. You’re saying that they are out of the loop of what’s cool, and you are not. You are belittling their beliefs and interests simply because you don’t like them.

It is such a strange concept and an ironic one at that. Since the majority of things that are seen as “cringey” today once were cool themselves, then the same people who ridicule others as being “cringey” were once “cringey” themselves. This ties in with its subjective nature and also makes it difficult to fully comprehend the dichotomy of what’s cool and what’s not. It makes it impossible to understand what is in and what is out, and it also makes it terrifying to not know what’s in and what’s out.

People who call others “cringey” make it seem like being anything less than cool is the ultimate crime. It’s like no one can like a single thing that’s not mainstream without people being ready to jump on them. There is a pressure from everyone else to fit into their tiny, little boxes and not be noticeably different. It is not a crime to like something that doesn’t fit into what’s mainstream. The tired usage of “cringey” on the internet and in real life creates a toxic environment where people cannot be themselves; they cannot fall out of line because if they do they will be ridiculed. Obviously, this kind of attitude is nothing new since there have always been social pressures to act or dress a certain way. However, “cringey” is a normalized way of straight out telling someone that they aren’t socially adequate enough. It is a casual reminder to someone that they are beneath everyone who is more in than them. This is utterly detrimental to a person’s self-esteem as they cannot be who they are without fear of being quickly alienated.