What do you call an overly protective facebook creeper?
October 31, 2012 3:33 PM   Subscribe

What is the name for the phenomenon of creepy guys being overly protective of women they barely know on the internet, in particular on facebook?

A typical example of what I'm thinking of could be:

A young woman posts something on facebook about how she's going out to a party but doesn't know how she's planning to get home, perhaps asking if anyone can give her a ride. Then some guy she maybe barely knows posts some way-overly-concerned and paternalistic string of comments like "I'm worried about you, please stay safe!" or "Call me when you get home so I know you're ok," etc., etc. The basic idea being a creepy "nice guy" assuming the role of "protector" when the situation really didn't call for it.

I know I've seen this discussed somewhere with a compendium of examples, and I'm guessing there's probably an internet slang term for it, but of course it's hard to search for online because I just find examples of people actually being concerned for their safety and not this particular kind of creepy behavior.
posted by albrecht to Human Relations (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
posted by un petit cadeau at 3:34 PM on October 31, 2012 [17 favorites]

White-knighting. Relevant comic.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:36 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I guess it could be considered white-knighting, but I think I'm imagining some slightly different scenario, in which the putative protection is really unneeded and uncalled for. That is, I think of a white-knight as someone who adopts a feminist viewpoint just to curry favor or takes up the defense of a woman in a genuine dispute because he thinks she'll reward him for it. This is more like making up a cause for concern where none exists, specifically in overstepping the bounds of a personal relationship. Is that still white-knighting?
posted by albrecht at 3:43 PM on October 31, 2012

That's pretty much exactly what white-knighting is.
posted by bradbane at 3:44 PM on October 31, 2012 [5 favorites]

Concern trolling mixed with white knighting. But really, that is exactly what white knighting is. It is sometimes based on a real thing, but more often not really and so over the top as to be completely out of touch with the situation.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 4:04 PM on October 31, 2012

Response by poster: Sorry, I guess I'm still not getting it, then, because it doesn't seem to me that those definitions of white-knighting fit the situation I'm describing (and FWIW I don't think it was the term I saw before, although I'm not sure). The Geek Feminism Wiki says
White Knighting is an attempt at being a feminist ally that assumes that men are better feminists than women are.
and then gives examples like "defending a woman in an argument, cutting off her own defence of herself," but that assumes there is some real conflict taking place; the white-knight's assumption is that he's more qualified to defend the woman than she is.

Encyclopedia Dramatica says
White Knighting refers to the fucktarded online defense of attention whores, DevianTART "Artists", or douchebags, all under the pretense of supposed compassion for some sort of benefit.
I can't really parse all that, but again I think it means there's some real conflict and the white-knight steps in as a purported ally. I'm more specifically interested in examples of imagined threats to personal safety.

Are there maybe any examples that people know of where the term "white knight" is used in that way?
posted by albrecht at 4:07 PM on October 31, 2012

Fake-sensitive-guy with a white-knight complex. The point of white-knighting is that is *isn't* called for, because defending someone in need of defending is just being normal.
posted by gjc at 4:12 PM on October 31, 2012

Like we said, your example of the guy on Facebook being weirdly overprotective is textbook white-knighting.

It assumes two things from the White Knight's POV:
A.) The woman can't take care of herself
B.) The guy knows best even if he barely knows her
Which leads to:
C.) It's pretty obvious he expects some reward even if it's only attention, but usually it's a relationship/sex/whatever trips his trigger 'cause she owes him.

So in your example we have a woman who clearly can't get home safely (from the WK's perspective, his overwhelming care and knowledge and from that his expectation that she'll "appreciate" his "care". I use quotes because he's obviously turned interactions into transactions.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 4:17 PM on October 31, 2012

I have an old friend who does worry-wart stuff like this to everybody, as if he's anticipating pity, or a piteous situation. I think of it as generally paternalistic, technically not white-knighting.
posted by rhizome at 4:18 PM on October 31, 2012 [3 favorites]

i think paternalistic really covers it - putting himself in the role of protector or caretaker, like a worried dad, and then demanding the woman play along ("Call me when you get home").
posted by nadawi at 4:39 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

Nice Guy Syndrome
posted by inturnaround at 7:19 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

This behavior overlaps with a couple of Gavin de Becker's pre-incident indicators from The Gift of Fear, in particular "Charm and Niceness" and "Loan Sharking."
posted by johnofjack at 1:16 PM on November 1, 2012

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