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"Creepy" in modern America

"Google Trends" shows a steady increase in searches for the term "creepy" in recent years.

Having returned to the U.S. after a decade, I started to notice that Americans had begun to use the word "creepy" more frequently.

There was an article in the local newspaper about "The Phil's Trail Creeper." Some man was menacing women. Except that he wasn't. A bit later the paper printed a retraction. A man with an accent was talking to women.

At the time that that story was on the front page, I was curious to see how deep in the article was buried any specific information.

It was barely even in the front-page section that the article finally mentioned that a man was following women in a menacing way. Until that point it was nothing but soft language and that darling of American girls' words.

It was not just bad journalism; it was bad journalism pandering to the sexist idea that women are victims of the attention of unacquainted men.

The Bend Bulletin later made clear that there was never a man following women in a menacing way — only a man being friendly, and presumably trying to talk. He's probably from a country where that's acceptable.