Prepper Shaming

I’ve faced many stigmas over the years, from being a stay at home wife, to removing narcissistic people from my life, and for being a prepper. There is this funky and ridiculous stigma centered around being a prepper.

In this day and age when quirky or different are the new normal, I would expect prepping to be perfectly acceptable. Yet most people have to be secretive of this fact because there is such a shameful stigma around the title of prepper. This made me start thinking about the reasons behind this, because I was really curious about it.

Doomsday Preppers. When I tell people I am a prepper, the first question is, “like a doomsday prepper?” I despise this question, because we’ve all seen the show. So I prepare for the judgement when I answer, yes I suppose so. This always conjures up the image of the conspiracy theorist who has spent millions of dollars preparing to live underground for the rest of their life eating MRE’s.

Keeping Secrets. I have had a couple of people tell me that they cannot publically follow me on social media because of the stigma attached to prepping. They are completely closet preppers because after trying to talk to friends or family, the response is just ugly. I find that sad. Who cares if someone is different? Prepping isn’t the cool kind of different, I guess.

Conspiracy Theories. I talked about this a bit earlier. I remember telling one friend that I was becoming a prepper, because it simply made sense to me. It was a lifestyle choice. The response was, so you’re moving to a shack out in the desert with a bunch of AR-15s? Because that is where people like that belong. No, I’m not the Unabomber. I’m simply changing my lifestyle a bit to be ready for emergencies. When did that constitute crazy?

Being a prepper is embarrassing. I personally don’t feel like taking steps to protect myself and my family is something to be embarrassed about, but maybe I am crazy. Should I be embarrassed about having life or car insurance, or money in my savings account? There really isn’t much of a difference.

I know where I am going when something happens. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say this to me, I could retire and go hide in an underground bunker with a whole bunch of AR-15s and become the stereotype. Lol. I always see this as the lazy response. I don’t want to think about that stuff, so I’ll just depend on you instead because we’re “friends.”

What people don’t realize is that they are missing out. They are missing out on the opportunity to secure a better future for themselves and their family. That is an opportunity that I certainly don’t want to miss!

The thing that I find interesting and probably a bit annoying is that preppers are part of the problem. Yes, I said it. Where do people find information about prepping? Where we all find any kind of information, the internet and social media. Too many preppers get involved in arguments on social media and create a hostile environment.

Some people just want to lurk and learn, but that is almost impossible when a thread is filled with hostility and the “it’s my way or the highway” mentality. That is not a welcoming place to learn, by any stretch of the imagination.

Prepping is not a one size fits all concept. It is different for everyone, but too many preppers treat it like their way is it. There are a million different factors that go into how each person, family, or household prepares.

Things like space, budget, living situations, special needs, the number of people to prep for. All of these are factors that go into how a person or family prepares, and it varies for everyone. That is why the one size fits all idea doesn’t work.

In groups on social media, there are some people who just like hearing themselves talk. You know where you ask a simple question like, how do I get started preparing, and get the novel of answers instead of just the basics. Cue the glassy-eyed look and whoever asked the question stopped reading around the 250 word mark due to boredom.

Many people also think that prepping has to be expensive. If you haven’t bought the best gear for a situation, you’re an absolute failure and you might as well have just done nothing at all. It doesn’t have to be expensive, nor does everything need to be purchased all at once. Even something as simple as buying an extra bag of flour during the next grocery store trip is a great start, or a case of bottled water. Or go read a blog about prepping, or search YouTube or a podcast. I follow several that have varying ideas on how to prepare, and they are fun to read and listen to.

The question is, how do we change this stigma around prepping and being ready for emergencies? The short answer is, we will never change everyone’s mind. Some people are dead set against prepping and think it is stupid. But there are still many ways we can at least reduce the stigma around it.

Start by just being nice. I feel like this should be common sense, but it seems to be becoming less and less common by the day. I love talking to people about prepping, and I am always happy to answer questions in regards to it. Take the time to do that when you have the knowledge, but do it in a gentle way.

The goal isn’t to scare people away from prepping. The goal should be to help others be more prepared, even if it isn’t to the same extent you do. Some people may just want to learn and gain more information before deciding to prepare. Everybody has a reason for prepping, and some may need information to figure out their own why.  

If you aren’t a prepper, be tolerant of those who are. Everybody makes different lifestyle choices. This is no exception because being prepared is a lifestyle choice. I would love to see this stigma and shame centered around prepping end. I’d love to see that end for anyone who is considered different or quirky. Everybody is different, so why waste the time being hateful or treating others like they are crazy.

The truth is preppers are all around us. They are normal, average people we see on the street every day. Our neighbors, friends, even family. But they may very well be afraid to tell you about it because of these stigmas.

20 thoughts on “Prepper Shaming”

  1. I totally agree people are scared of what they dont understand or things they dont know about. I am not a prepper by standards, but I do keep a stocked pantry, grow lots of seasonal food (in canada) and i know We could probably survive a limited but substantial time without power, transportation, access to stores… so really isnt anyone or everyone a prepper in one way or another?? Different isnt bad or wrong..just different and I feel if we were all the same…life would be boring!
    Good post and necessary.
    Carolyn

    1. The Prepping Wife

      Some people are totally preppers and may not realize it! Others, not so much. But you are definitely on the right track with keeping a stocked pantry and growing your own food, Carolyn! That is a great way to prepare, honestly. You don’t need to go to the extreme with it, and that is what I think so many people fail to realize. It really is just as simple as what you are doing.

  2. I had no idea what a prepper was, nor had I seen any shows regarding preppers. I subscribed to your newsletter because I thought this idea seemed reasonable & wanted to learn more. I was a Girl Scout Leader for 9 yrs, & a Cub Scout Leader & Boy Scout volunteer for several years – so I get the “be prepared” mentality. But you are correct in saying it is just common sense! Having gone through several electrical outages lasting days, it was good to be as little prepared as I was. Thanks for your newsletter, blog posts, etc.
    Take care!
    Donna

    1. You’ve got nothing to be ashamed about! I’ve gotten so many great ideas from your site that will allow me to help my family if there ever is an emergency or if we lose power for more than a day or two. It’s a great reference tool.

    2. Love this! My husband and I are preppers and we get so many comments about how zombies aren’t real, etc. We love knowing that even with something as common as job loss, we have food, water, and power for 6+ months while we get back on our feet. People are so surprised to hear we are preppers but we embrace it and always try to share our reasonings!

      1. The Prepping Wife

        It amazes me that people don’t think about real things like job loss or medical situations that can stop someone from working. It really is that simple so often. I keep money set aside for when/if my debit card gets shut down (this happened when I tried to purchase a premium theme for my blog, and when my husband had his wallet stolen) that way I can still put gas in my car, and can survive without going to the grocery store for a while. We had a freak snow storm in February, where we couldn’t get out for several days and I was fine, had plenty of food and water. Wasn’t sweating not going to the store. If my prepping keeps me in control of situations like that, I feel very successful!

  3. I never thought about the stigma you might be facing. I think what you do is pretty cool, if I’m honest. There is nothing wrong with being prepped. We stock up on shampoos, conditioners, soaps etc. We have a hot press full and I can happily say we’ve never been caught short.

  4. I have definitely heard people knock preppers but in reading your stuff you’ve helped me realize how unprepared I am for a disaster. My wife always jokes that if god forbid something happened she’d follow me because I’m a bit of a McGuyver. Your stuff makes me realize that those skills will only get me so far without preparedness I’m screwed. Let the haters hate and you do you I know when and if the s**t hits the fan you will be surviving and I’m going to track you down for a meal. 🙂

    1. Lindsay Brown

      I second that sentiment! Let these people hate because they are going to be the ones crying when they aren’t prepared for sh*t man!

      Also, I’ve been ridiculed before for obsessively canning and food prepping so I (sort of) understand what preppers are going through. However, I had no idea there was so much involved in prepping until I started reading your blog! That’s why I love following you and reading your stuff!!! I learn so much, and it is awesome!

      You are so knowledgeable in this area of expertise and I think it is wonderful that you have the ability to share it with those who want to listen!

      1. The Prepping Wife

        That is exactly why I started my blog, Lindsay! I love teaching people the basics to help them. If we all have at least the basics covered, it is a huge step in the right direction.

  5. This is a great read. Part of the reason I divorced my husband of 25 years, was because of his constant negative attitude and worrying about what might happen, instead of enjoying life in the moment. He was obsessed with that show and wanted a fallout shelter buried in the backyard. Me, I wanted to go and live and be…not be worried and obsessed with the what-if’s. I get being prepared, but his obsession with it was a turn-off and depressing. There must be balance…in all things and above all, you have to live and enjoy and not be afraid to travel and face challenges…he wasn’t. He lives life in fear. I was in the 2013 Boston Bombing…and I went back in 2014…no way would I let those asswipes (pardon my French) rob me of that victory. So yes, preparation and not utter fear and being a hermit…which he is sadly.

    1. The Prepping Wife

      There is definitely a big difference in being prepared and living in fear. Totally agree with you, Deb! For me, being more prepared has made obstacles much easier to deal with. I learn from them, but at the same time, I’ve got this and can handle them. There is a peace of mine that comes with it.

  6. It is very hard to make your life great. to remove people who make you feel wrong, do do not believe in you, who do not trust you. Such read as your helps a lot sort things out and be better in the end of a day

  7. Erica i love you to death. You are real, vulnerable and down right honest. A rare trait in the 21st century. I have never heard of the word prepper. Thanks for introducing this word to me. In life to be successful we have to appreciate each others differences and not be judgemental.
    I have learned so much from reading your blog and loved this post. We need to respect each other and understand their vantage point.
    Thanks once again.

  8. I became a prepper last year officially. But I think I have always been a prepper for a long time. My family members find it really crazy and call it a bizzare habit. Well… M not gonna change 😀

  9. Whoever is shaming a prepper must not be paying for insurance too because its indirectly preparing for a doomsday that may never happen.
    As long as what you do makes you feel confident and comfortable in case of an emergency, then do you. They will always talk anyways.

  10. I can totally see how preppers are stereotyped. I really think it’s crazy to be against something someone else is doing. Keep doing you!

  11. Subhashish Roy

    I think it is a wise decision to be a prepper and be prepared for unseen eventualities. I probably will also be called a prepper.

  12. This was really interesting to read. While I can honestly say that I had never considered the stigma associated with being a prepper before, now that you mention it, I TOTALLY see all of this. Just look at the way that preppers are depicted in television shows and movies… it’s no wonder that people have this preconceived notion that preppers are all crazy. I wonder if having better and more realistic representation in the media would help to normalize the concept of being a prepper? While I wouldn’t say that my husband and I are nearly prepared enough to consider ourselves preppers, we have started to put together supplies as a ‘just in case’ precaution. I think the whole COVID situation opened our eyes to the fact that you honestly have no idea what might be waiting around the corner. After all, how many of us predicted that we would see a global pandemic in our lifetime? Right?

    1. The Prepping Wife

      I sincerely hope that I’ve normalized it as much as I could. Because honestly, I am just an average person. I just have OCD about organization because there is a sense of confidence in being ready for emergencies. I think with your camping experience, you are more of a prepper than you realize, Britt! With some organization and centering supplies in one place, you’d be set to leave the house with only a few moments notice. I can see you easily being more ready for that than most.

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