Until recently, many people had never heard the term “prepper,” and probably had no idea what it meant to be one. Today, however, the prepper numbers are growing by leaps and bounds. There are whole websites and online communities devoted to prepping, emergency survival, and other issues relating to disaster preparedness. Along with that comes a stereotype of what a prepper actually is and many of the common views are misconceptions. Some television shows depict preppers as crazy outcasts of society with radical worldviews. The media sometimes portrays the prepping community as extreme right-wing political activists or ignorant farming types. The truth is that you really can’t tell a prepper by image or political view points. We represent a wide variety of belief systems, political views, and approaches to emergency preparedness. With that in mind, let’s look at 5 of the most ridiculous prepper stereotypes seen today and why they are completely wrong.
Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists
This is just simply not true. While it’s common that every “sect” or group in a population has extremist radicals who are pretty close to teetering off the deep end – most preppers you would meet are just like the average American citizen. They have jobs, they wear normal clothing, their kids play sports – many things that you would consider normal. They aren’t all in underground bunkers with huge stuffed ammo lockers and guns lining the walls. The probably live in a house like yours. They are simply people who are passionate about being prepared for different situations, and many of them still manage to live a pretty ordinary life. They just probably have a really well stocked emergency kit, bug out bags, and massive non-perishable food supply. That’s not a bad thing at all! In fact, it’s very smart.
Completely Off Grid
While it’s true that a prepper’s goal is to be able to survive off the grid without many modern conveniences, most preppers normally don’t live in a world cut off from society. They use electricity and running water. They have social media accounts, use cell phones, and shop at real stores. They may homestead and raise many of their own foods, but they aren’t anti-social. Their goal is to be prepared and skilled enough to live without all of those things (because after a disaster, we probably won’t have access to them for a time), but they don’t avoid them in the meantime.
It’s a given that not everyone is going to be happy with the government. You just can’t please everyone. However, there is a vast misconception that prepping is an anti-government movement that is opposed to everything and full of people who want no form of rules and regulations. Not true. If you asked them, they would probably tell you they respect the government, but also realize the importance of being self sufficient as to not depend on the government for things, especially in a time of crisis. While preppers may disagree with lawmakers on some issues, they aren’t opposed to government itself. They aren’t paranoid and distrusting of anything related to the government, and they are not all entrenched in conspiracy theories.
Again, this is another huge misconception. Just because someone is prepared doesn’t mean that they have hoards of items and have a pathway through piles of stuff in their home. Many preppers have an organization system that works so they know exactly where to find something when they need it. Everything has a place and a purpose. They also believe in multipurpose items – so they probably don’t have a lot of clutter in that sense. It is possible to be a prepper and not be a hoarder. They also probably don’t make a lot of impulse purchases for this very reason. They buy and store items knowing exactly when and how they will be put to use.
Gun-Crazed and Paranoid
This is yet another huge stereotype. While preppers probably do have weapons and ammunition stored in their homes, the majority of preppers will have them for emergency defense or hunting only – not to create an arsenal that could bring down a couple hundred people. Preppers are not looking to start a war. We just want to be able to defend our homes and families if the need arises.
As you have read here, like many kinds of people, preppers are often misunderstood. They want to be treated like anyone else and not seen as fanatics who have a one-track mind. Stereotypes are a dangerous thing. And often they can rob us of relationships and getting outside of our circle to get to know someone who is different from us. We need to be careful to not judge the book by it’s cover – and in this case it is no different.
What are some other common prepper stereotypes that you have encountered?