“Pick Me Girls” Are Ruining Feminism – But Not In The Way You Think
Have you heard the term “pick me” flying all over social media lately? What does this term mean? Urban dictionary defines the term as follows: “a woman [who] is willing to do anything for male approval. She will embarrass or throw other women under the bus to achieve this goal.” However, people may also call someone a “pick me” when they are overly-excited while keeping themselves in the limelight. Oftentimes, they’re considered annoying, selfish, and dumb. Whether it’s for male approval, general attention from others, or whatever, “pick me’s” hunt for validation can be harmful to feminism, but is also a byproduct of historically sexist systems and institutions. So, let’s get the “pick me girl” discussion going. Here are some examples of the term being used, and what people are saying about its usage.
The Guy’s Girl
A lot of the time, women who have only or mostly male friends are labeled “pick me” for trying to be “one of the boys.” This “breed” of “pick me” is known to wear clothes that are either considered more masculine or “unintentionally” revealing in order to seem different from other girls. In this case, a woman is working hard to stick out of a crowd by becoming more chill or masculine in order to gain male approval. Acting this way implies that there is something wrong or undesirable about being feminine or behaving like a woman. Instead these women think acting like a man would make them more desirable and more exciting to be around for their male companions. In working so hard to make themselves seem different from other women, this kind of “pick me” also tends to put other women down in the process.
The Hyper-Feminine “Pick Me”
The other kind of “Pick Me” girl social media has been pointing out is on the other end of the spectrum. Instead of becoming “easier to deal with” because she’s practically “one of the guys,” a hyper-feminine “pick me” becomes “easier to deal with” and more appealing to those with patriarchal expectations for women. For example, this kind of “pick me” might never leave the house without makeup and criticize women who do. Or she might say she could NEVER eat as much as other girls around men, in order to seem more appealing, dainty, or feminine. When I think of the hyper-feminine “pick me,” I think about Cher in Clueless when she is trying to get the attention of her crush, Christain (before she knew he was gay). She did everything possible to make herself seem more appealing to him by becoming the image of a “perfect woman.” Cher bought herself chocolates and flowers, baked cookies when she hated baking, and spent an entire day planning outfits and lighting just for a date. Just like the “guys girl” type of “pick me”, this hyper-feminine version is still working hard to gain the approval of men, while using their “uniqueness” to put other women down.
My Hot Take On “Pick Me” Girls
So, what now? Well, I say we stop using this term! “Pick Me” girls’ behavior is the byproduct of sexism shaping one’s upbringing, convincing them that they can’t simply be themselves for the approval of others. “Pick Me” girls believe so strongly that their approval from others, especially men, is what shapes their self worth. Why wouldn’t they believe that? There are so many factors from fashion and beauty industries to gender roles in professional and academic settings, and more, that can shape a person to work hard to get that acceptance in the ways they know how. Hyper-feminine “pick me” girls make themselves a slave to their feminine roles and their fight to get men to like them. A “guy’s girl” pick me still puts all of their energy into getting male attention and approval but instead of thinking it’s best to hyper-feminize themselves, these women think they’d get more attention from being “just one of the guys.”
I’ve heard people say “if a woman ever calls you a “pick me” it’s probably because she’s never been picked herself” and I also don’t think this gets it quite right either. “Pick me girls” are acting in alignment with patriarchal systems and putting female worth in the hands of men, but those who make fun of “pick me girls” and calling other women the term are really just perpetuating this misogyny. Instead of dragging “pick me girls” and “non-pick me girls,” both sides are just pitting themselves against other women. In order to break down a system that places a woman’s worth in a man’s approval of her, women need to stick together and help each other rise up, not fall down. Offering support to those with internalized issues and behaving in a “pick me” manner can help them become their authentic self instead of thinking they’re only worthy if they behave a certain way. Before passing judgment, let’s be kind to other women and encourage them to be their true selves because they’re worthy just the way they are.
What’s your take on the “Pick Me Girl” trend? Let us know in the comments!