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Has the Term “Prepper” Been Slandered?

A week or so ago I read a blog post (can’t remember where for the life of me now!) that roughly stated the blog owner was fed up with the word prepper–know that I’m hugely paraphrasing everyone’s comments in this paragraph–in large part because it was being destroyed by the media and public.

He basically said that we should call ourselves “survivalists” because, well, that’s what we all are! The word “prepper” has lost it’s meaning, or something like that. One of the commenter’s then stated that a survivalist was expected to be someone who ran into the woods to survive who knows what, while a prepper was somebody who prepares for life’s challenges with a purpose. I quickly chimed in and agreed with this particular commenter and didn’t think about it again until a few days ago as I watched yet another doomsday [fill in the blank] television show on the coming Mayan apocalypse… I really have to stop doing that.

In this particular show they were throwing the word “prepper” around like it was an everyday word everyone seems to know. Along with other shows like Doomsday Preppers that, though entertaining to me, may be causing the prepping movement more harm than good. In fact, I may have just changed my mind about being called a prepper. While I do strongly align myself with being called a prepper–because that’s what I feel I do and am–I’m afraid that the media (television shows) are giving us a bad name…

…in other words, the word “prepper” is being hijacked and that’s not good news for you or me! We’re being made out to be “crazy,” “radical,” or just plain different, something I’ve always reserved for those… survivalists. ;) Now, I don’t mind being different and sometimes I pride myself as being such, but I don’t want to be singled out either and I definitely don’t want a target on my back.

This in no way means I’m going to stop doing what I do. Not at all. But, maybe a new self-description is in order?

Out of curiosity, let’s define the terms survivalist and prepper real quick (as per a Google definition search):

  • Survivalist – someone who tries to insure their personal survival or the survival of their group or nation.
  • Prepper – an individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances…

Heck, I can’t argue with either of those definitions! By definition we’re all survivalists, of course. And if you’re reading this blog post then you’re likely a prepper too. I know I am.

So, what does this mean for the future of the word, prepper?

Maybe nothing. I still consider myself a prepper; however, I certainly don’t like the word being associated with the supposed “craziness” that many of these television shows depict. Perhaps it’s an inevitable consequence of being a current fad? Or maybe it’s more than that. I hope so, well, sort of. I don’t like the fact that more and more people feel the overwhelming need to prepare themselves because that means things aren’t good (duh!), but I do like it that more and more people are choosing to rely on themselves rather than the government, corporations, just in time distribution systems, and so on.

Now, back to the question at hand: is there a better term to describe what I am, what I do (and you too)?

Besides making up a whole new word… probably not.

I think we’re going to have to “weather the storm” so-to-speak. And, more importantly, be shining pillars of example to those who have a misunderstanding as a result of television shows like Doomsday Preppers. That should be our duty and priviledge to the world…

…to stand up and be proud to be a prepper!

13 comments to Has the Term “Prepper” Been Slandered?

  • MethaneCreator

    Names and Stereotypes. Shame-Shame. Had my Great-Great-Great-etc…Grandfather Noah not “prepped” for the Flood, I wouldn’t be here either. Educate your neighbors, friends, and family on stockpiling for an inevitable disaster event. If all they have stored is 2 weeks worth of food/water. They will be better off than the few who fight in lines for Government handouts. I honor my Father for his foresight in pushing me towards entering Scouting. Be Prepared! Many skills learned in Scouting will keep me out of trouble. I prefer to be known as Mr. Terra Nova…….

  • rassd71

    I am neither a prepper nor survivalist, then again I don’t label myself beyond being a Christian, American, husband and father. I choose not to use the term ‘prepper’ as of late our government has put people on the no fly list for being ‘preppers’.
    Have the media and shows like ‘Doomsday Preppers’ given the world a slanted view of the community of ‘preppers’? Absolutely. Just as they did with Survivalists before that.

    The timing of this article is ironic as I had a similar discussion a few weeks ago regarding the labels. Including the term ‘prepper’ and ‘zombie’ as being over used and having lost their meaning.
    I think what is important, is not that the terms may have some negatives to them, but that people are discussing these issues! People are waking up, there are now whole industries that cater to the needs of those who wish to prepare. And while I don’t believe in a Romero style zombie apocalypse, I believe in any disaster, there are zombies… simply those who are unprepared and looking to take from those who are. So, call them what you will.

    Maybe we should start calling them Scouts, after all, the motto is to ‘ALWAYS be prepared’! ;-)

    • I hear you. I like the fact that people are waking up and talking about it, but at the same time it seriously bothers me that the news media is destroying yet another positive term that I choose to label myself as. Give it another 5 or 10 years and I’ll be seen as just as cooky as any ol’ survivalist… maybe I’m there already. ;)

  • GoneWithTheWind

    A common sense adult in a world berift of common sense. Not as catchy as “prepper” but closer to what I believe in.

  • Rod

    I am neither (and both) – I am self-reliant. That means that I am trying to rely on myself and not others to be successful in whatever I do. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want a community of like minded self-reliant people that are willing to work together out of mutual respect and common aspirations.

  • Bugout Bob

    I have always understood the term prepper to be a kinder, gentler form of survivalist which was a term that came to mean any crazed armed loonie who happened to being preparing for the end of the world (Teotwawki had not been coined back in the day as an acronym). I had dabbled on the outskirts of the survivalist movement back in the late 70′s and early 80′s and found most were pretty stable individuals but some fit the stereotype. Things haven’t changed since I moved back into prepping a year or so ago … the journey in between is not germane to the discussion.

    Personally, I don’t need a label as I consider myself a fairly ordinary man just trying to look out for his family. You’ll never see me on television. The problem with the term ordinary is that it brings to mind sheeple and I definitely don’t fit that camp.

    I don’t know that there is a better term than prepper. I am sure it will eventually have as much baggage as survivalist. I don’t have a suggestion for a new label although it would be cool to coin one, I thought maybe “anticipater” but it doesn’t seem to hit the target. So for now, I’ll go with prepper, for those who ask what that means I usually tell them to think survivalist without the crazy.

    I am sure there are as many loonies in the prepper group as there were in the survivalist movement. Having surfed various blogs they are all out there, the angry white male who is a hater, the mall ninjas, the head case who looks forward to Teotwawki so they can create their own empire, but most are just regular ordinary people who are planning for when times get hard (or very hard). There are those I would love to welcome into my community and those who would scare the crap out of me. However I digress.

    My vote is stick with prepper unless someone comes up with something else brilliant.

  • Dave

    I don’t need another noun to label me. I have enough already. So I am comfortable not being a “preposterous.” I am a “prepared” man. Maybe I am hung up on the franker of it, but it seems that when adjectives are turned into nouns the title gets devalued.

    • Dave

      Wow. Auto correct turned “grammar” into “franker.”

    • Dave

      Holy crap. Auto correct formed “prepper” into “preposterous,” how ironic. New rule for me: No posting on mobile devices.

  • MICoyote

    So we have come full-circle.

    First, we abandoned the term Survivalist because it contained too many negative images made by the news media.

    Now, we are getting rid of “prepper” because it contained too many negative images made by the news media.

    What will people now call themselves? And when will the MSM turn on that term?

    I always used the Survivalist because that is what I am. If your so scared of being called X, then why are you preparing for WROL? People will be a lot meaner to you than calling you names.

    • I never said we were getting rid of the term prepper. I prefer it to any other term as it describes best what I do, what I am. I’m just saying that it seems the media will destroy this term as well.