Say Hello To Simp Marketing

After years of telling men that they’re the problem, is it really that surprising that many would rather withdraw from society and satisfy their dopaminergic urges by simping for total strangers?

By Andrea Mew7 min read
Pexels/cottonbro studio

Multimillionaire Twitch streamer Pokimane said she couldn’t find a healthy, tasty treat. To remedy this problem, she started her own snack brand called Myna, which consists of one pricy product that took the internet by storm: Midnight Mini Cookies. The added vitamin D raised eyebrows among the gaming community – they understandably felt patronized by the implication that they don’t see enough sunlight – but that wasn’t all. 

If one thing is certain, it's that the most internet-savvy among us will sleuth for the truth behind any marketing scheme. Their findings? Pokimane’s cookies, retailing at $28 for four 4 oz packs, were near one-for-one matches to Toatzy’s product Midnight Mini Cookies, which were being sold at Costco at a fraction of the cost. Was Pokimane just rebranding a white label product to turn a pretty profit off her devoted male followers? 

Despite any damage control done to try to justify her business decisions and the awful optics of calling her fans “broke,” Pokimane is guilty of what I like to call “simp marketing.” Surprise, surprise! She’s certainly not the only internet influencer to luxuriate in her own fans’ fetishizations. 

Oh, Look, Another Gamer Girl Riding the Gravy Train

Would you pay a premium for a mediocre product if someone you idolized sold you on its alleged benefits? Influencer-licensed products are now part and parcel of our modern economy because I suppose creators can’t capture people’s shortened attention spans operating on a one-trick pony model. 

Though Pokimane’s net worth is reported to be around $25 million, she doesn’t necessarily have fluid capital to research and design a bespoke product out of the blue, but as a smart businesswoman, she probably wanted to diversify her portfolio beyond revenue from streaming. It’s true, she never alleged she was the one slaving away in a kitchen, baking vitamin D cookies for basement-dwelling devotees.

Still, Pokimane’s decision to buy the rights to an existing product with very little relevance to her niche (I mean, tiny bags of tiny cookies? Girl Scouts will be knocking at our doors soon enough to sell us on larger, less expensive, mass-produced desserts) and setting such a high profit margin seemed like a tone-deaf move to very clearly capitalize on a lonely male audience.

The origins of the word “simp” are hotly contested. Some say it evolved from “sympathy,” while others say it’s slang for “simpleton.” One Urban Dictionary definition nails this insult’s nuance quite well: “it means a guy that is overly desperate for women, especially if she is a bad person, or has expressed her disinterest in him whom which [sic] he continues to obsess over.”

A simp will defend his one-sided crush to his grave in the hopes that she will acknowledge his “good” deeds, doing things like commenting on all of her social media posts, giving her access to streaming services, treating her to expensive food and drink, buying her gifts…the list could go on. In any case, he treats her like a princess, but she doesn’t give him the time of day, whether that’s because she literally doesn’t know him or because she’s laughing at his thirst behind his back.

“Most often, this refers to dudes obsessed with online female personalities like streamers or youtubers, who do tons and tons for them. I'd actually differentiate them from niceguys because niceguys /always/ view being nice as transactional, and that's part of the term,” explained one Reddit user. “I'd say some simps are definitely niceguys, but not all of them. Obsession and excessive devotion are more the key part with simps, and some don't really expect anything in return.”

Bottom line is, simping is unhealthy, validation-seeking behavior that likens a man’s value to a doormat. Simp marketing is nothing new, of course. E-girls across a variety of platforms find ways to place monetary value on their essence, whether that’s OnlyFans “models” selling lewd selfies or streamers trying to quench the thirst of their followers. And I mean literally.

What’s the Deal with This Streamer to Sex-Object Pipeline?

Kaitlyn Siragusa, better known as Amouranth, is a fellow Twitch streamer who cosplays and creates provocative ASMR content. She’s one of Twitch’s most popular streamers (netting over 6 million followers) but also uses rival platform Kick as well as OnlyFans and Fansly to draw in profits. Forbes reported her gross earnings last year were estimated at $15 million, which comes as no surprise since she dolls up so nicely for the male gaze that they’ll throw as much as $15,000 combined at her just for sleeping on live broadcast.

Recently, Amouranth tweeted the news that she purchased over 2,000 acres of Valencia orange orchards in Florida with the goal of overtaking Bill Gates’s farmland empire. Whether or not she'll dive into orange juice manufacturing is unknown, but Amouranth is diversifying her own portfolio through an entirely separate, and frankly disturbing, beverage venture: beer brewed with her own vaginal yeast.

In an interview with Dextero this October, Amouranth divulged the dirty details: Polish brewery The Order of Yoni (yes, yoni, like the term for vulva) will take her vaginal smears into a laboratory setting, isolate and process the lactobacillus bacteria into pure lactic acid, and produce a “completely safe and healthy” inebriant. 

“It’s hilarious,” Amouranth told Dextero. “People will buy [the beer] for sure. I don’t know if they’ll actually drink it. I mean, they’ll probably drink it.”

The streamer’s boozy business collaboration shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, however, since she regularly capitalizes on simp marketing strategies. Aside from her literal pornography pulling in profits on OnlyFans, Amouranth once sold 1,000 “super exclusive limited edition Scent Jar” of what was allegedly her own farts and human hair for $400 each and 3,000 autographed jars of her own alleged hot tub water for $50 a pop. 

Warning: Don’t Drink the GamerGirl Bathwater

Simp marketing really took off after YouTube sensation-turned-pornstar Belle Delphine took her male audiences’ requests to drink her bath water (a remark commonly used in jest to demonstrate total thirst over an e-girl’s digital presence) literally and jarred what she called “GamerGirl Bath Water.” 

Sold at $30 a jar, Delphine made the disclaimer that her customers shouldn’t actually drink what was supposedly her bonafide bath water, but some did, turning the simp marketing stunt into a full-fledged viral meme. Delphine, not yet in her twenties at the time, made £10 million (around $12.7 million), not only from people trying to stave off major FOMO for missing out on a silly cultural moment, but also from real, lonely men who were willing to pay a premium simply to feel closer to their digital crush.

Delphine, like Amouranth (and to a lesser extent, Pokimane, though she doesn’t get nude for her views), dresses up in bimbo-esque cosplays for characters from popular franchises. An innocent Nintendo fan wouldn’t expect to see titillating takes on Princess Peach like Delphine gratuitously posts online, or a casual Marvel fan wouldn’t expect to see Amouranth’s erotic take on Spider-Man, but these ladies fill a curiously creepy niche.

Their anime-inspired appearances hit all the dopaminergic urges in the minds of men who need a replacement for human contact. After all, there’s no barrier to entry when it comes to 2D girls, and they certainly don’t carry all the same baggage that 3D ones do. The exaggerated but still human-like imagery of anime characters nails an ideal fantasy for female physiques: voluptuous busts, tiny waists, clear skin, and innocent eyes. 

Unsociable men, young and old, who have been raised to be castrated, emasculated versions of themselves then find themselves bankrolling the simp marketing economy because they’ve fallen into the trap of fanservice. Fanservice is material, often sexual in nature, that is intentionally added to works of fiction to please the audience. You’ll often see it used in East Asian fan culture like the K-Pop industry or, like in this case, anime-adjacent content. Essentially, sex sells, but this brand of sex has a more innocent allure than run-of-the-mill, raunchy pornography. 

Have you noticed how this coquettish, bimbo-like aesthetic that Delphine and even Amouranth adopt to entice their male audience has gone mainstream? Earlier this year, TikTok was overrun by NPC streamers like PinkyDoll or Cherry Crush and copycats followed suit. The trend warranted enough attention to get coverage in The Washington Post, NBC, CBS, and many more legacy news publications. 

What’s one thing that Delphine, Amouranth, PinkyDoll, and Cherry Crush all have in common? They’re all OnlyFans girls selling their sex appeal in a fetishized segment of the pornography industry. Lately, it feels like unless a viral female content creator is upfront about her values with her audience, there’s a significant chance she’s also got a promiscuous side hustle. Obviously, I’m not trying to wrongfully insist every female streamer is an OnlyFans girl, but the odds aren’t working in women’s favor.

“Slow, sleepy goodmorning sex gf and rough, energetic goodnight sex bf is the perfect yang-yang relationship we all need ;>,” tweeted Delphine with a photo attached of her lifting up her tank top to show off a slim stomach.

Men Need Meaningful Work…and Far Fewer Carnal Distractions

Since the mid-1960s, the rate of NEET men (not in education, employment, or training) has steadily increased, but with the advent of Covid-19, more males have subtracted themselves from the workforce, fallen victim to the trap of self-medication, and spend a scary sum of their time in front of computer or phone screens. 

When there’s a wealth of endless entertainment options online, why work for wages that have diminishing buying power in our increasingly inflating economy and barely afford a modest home or even be able to provide for a family? Men can’t help but be jaded by a culture that tells the XY sex as a whole they’re disposable, chauvinistic pigs who should kowtow to a more “egalitarian” power dynamic. But it’s not egalitarian to elevate one sex over the other.

In many aspects of society already, today’s men are made out to be much sissier than their predecessors, for lack of better terms. They’re berated and mocked in commercials or movies where showrunners seemingly find it hilarious to stereotype them as dumb or incapable of figuring out normal household tasks. They’re told it’s predatory to approach women, so what’s the result? 

Well, they sit and watch streamers as though it’s a virtual strip club and get fleeting serotonin boosts from sending them Bits and buying their bathwater or white-labeled cookies.

You can’t convince me that any man who is currently in a committed relationship is serious about his woman if he’s buying simp cookies at a premium price. And if he’s single, there’s no way he’s a prime candidate in the dating pool when he’s bankrolling an e-girl’s lifestyle. No, simp marketing mostly preys on incel men, or involuntary celibates. 

Incel men are vastly misunderstood and misrepresented by viral personalities who have committed heinous acts like Elliot Rodger. Data suggests that incel communities – 95% of which subscribe to the black-pill mentality that there’s nothing to be done about their romantic prospects – have significantly higher rates of diagnosed autism than the general population. Furthermore, a significant minority of them engage in some form of online, hostile misogyny.

“‘Incel’ has become another meaningless slur, and how beneath the shrieks and shouts of condemnation, the actual men who have fallen into this culture itself, are shouted down, deprived of help, and only radicalised further,” wrote pro-men’s advocate George TheTinMen on an Instagram post sharing the aforementioned data from Ph.D. candidate William Costello. “This is the extreme and ugly side of mental health, so where have all our mental health advocates gone?”

It’s a cruel reality. Neurodivergent men show signs of struggling, but the voices that are loudest about mental health awareness are deafeningly silent. The opposite sex is half of our population, and yet they’re vilified, their innate masculinity is pathologized, and so they become weak. Only then can the simp marketing scheme really turn such high profits.

Simp Marketing Flourishes Thanks to Celebrity Worship

Cosplaying pornstars wouldn’t be able to rival Bill Gates for land ownership or make money off their bathwater if our culture didn’t practice the empty religion of celebrity worship. Fan culture, when taken to the extremes we see today, appears to be gaining major steam at the same time that genuine religiosity is shrinking in America and beyond. You might just innocently follow Addison Rae or Charli D'Amelio on social media to gain fashion or makeup inspo, but some people genuinely look up to TikTok celebs or Instagram models as a way to determine their own values and goals.

The parasocial relationships that celebrity worshippers develop lead to constant, negative self-comparison, maladaptive social media usage, and even self-absorbed daydreams of fame. Logan Paul gained his multi-millionaire net worth from an obsessive following first on TikTok, which followed him to YouTube, but now he’s a television and movie star as well as a high-profile boxer. As a simple content creator, he had charisma, but through his enthusiastic work ethic, he expanded his brand far beyond short-form video content.

When I first saw a bottle of Prime at the local corner store, I had no clue that Logan Paul and his buddy KSI were behind it. I was blissfully ignorant of his content, but once it caught steam among the fitness community (of which I dabble in some content for my own personal inspo), I was amused but certainly not surprised. 

An energy or “hydration” drink at least made some logical sense to me for an entrepreneur breaking into the world of combat sports or martial arts. But some more critical of Logan, like YouTuber Philion, assert that his products are scammy since they don’t scientifically deliver but have drawn in boatloads of dollars from influencer marketing.

But Prime, or even Feastables – the food brand created by e-celeb MrBeast (a.k.a. Jimmy Donaldson) that’s behind the Deez Nuts chocolate bars you’ve probably seen and shaken your head at while walking through grocery store aisles – are easy markets for digital content creators to break into. Put a face to a mediocre product, and the superfans – or, in the case of Pokimane, the simps – will put it on a pedestal. Yes, not only are we preying on insecure men, but we are also preying on spiritually lost people.

Closing Thoughts

Pokimane’s cookie stunt is only one example of this simple content creator to simp marketer pipeline, and her controversy certainly won’t be the last. Influencer-owned or licensed products may often be unoriginal or seem like total scams to those of us who are a bit more critical and discerning, but a large cohort of people today are socially isolated and driven to develop parasocial relationships with easily accessible online personalities.

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