Is cringey a word? Yes, I believe it is. I have seen it used a lot recently. And, in particular regarding the television show called White Lotus. There are a number of articles about the top cringe-worthy moments on the show. When I read those articles, I realized that I hadn’t used the word “cringe” in a rather long time. In a way, it’s interesting that cringiness is in vogue at the moment.
Cringiness, feelings thereof, are about extreme feelings of embarrassment and awkwardness. The show White Lotus shines a light on moments that cause extreme discomfort to the audience. This is so because it serves as a mirror. I can bet, regardless of gender or class or race, everyone watching it will find a moment that they have either seen, endured, or enacted in some way.
You have moments of unconscious biases rear their ugly head that remsin unconscious to the character. You have moments of snobiness attempting to come off as sophisticated. You have moments reflect some real interpersonal relations between couples.
As a result, millions of people watching this show are experiencing a collective cringey feeling. It actially amuses me to see and feel that cringe. This word and feeling had been absent from my life for a while. It actually may be good to again feel that sense of cringe. What we do with that feeling and self-reflection and insight (if so attained) is anyone’s guess in this moment in time where gaslighting is all the rage.