A “pick me” girl is chill. She claims she gets along with men way better than women. She mocks other women for liking anything that is mainstream or traditionally feminine. She orders wings because she doesn’t eat salads and let’s everyone know about it. She’ll chase those wings down with a beer because she loves beer so much, she “might as well be a guy.” She’ll dismiss women’s issues, feminism, and claim women have nothing to gripe about.
She’s a chameleon, subconsciously blending in with the men around her, playing her role, and appealing to the male gaze of how women “should” be and act. She’s not like other girls, she’s a “pick me girl,” and the likely reason she acts the way she does is more nuanced than some may think.
What is a Pick Me Girl?
If you spend a decent amount of time on social media, specifically apps like TikTok, you might have come across the Pick Me Girl trend. According to Urban Dictionary, the top definition of a pick me girl is: “a girl who goes out of her way to impress men by ensuring she is “not like other girls.” While the term pick me girl is gendered, it’s important to note that there are male versions of pick me girls (called simps, or sometimes nice guys). However, the problematic traits of a “pick me” personality can span across all genders.
These women are easy to pick on because her attitude towards other women’s interests, mannerisms, lifestyle choices, and hobbies feels inauthentic and is ultimately rooted in misogyny. She has no problem putting other women down to gain male attention and validation, whether or not she knows that’s typically the intent.
Pick Me! A Cry Rooted in Internalized Misogyny
To unpack why the pick me girl is the way she is, it’s important to understand internalized misogyny. Internalized misogyny conceptualizes the way some women will feel contempt towards their own gender. It is often subconscious and can be hard to identify when women grow up in cultures with patriarchal values that favor traditionally masculine traits.
Most women have likely experienced internalized misogyny before – in fact, you can probably identify a few ways you’ve thought or done something that you now realize was rooted in monolithic messages you once received about women. Someone who is a pick me girl likely has not yet unpacked why she feels compelled to proudly demonstrate loyalty to men, while distancing herself from fellow women-identifying people.
The pick me girl simply wants to, as the name suggests, be picked. If she is deemed worthy by the men she surrounds herself with, she might be chosen by one of those men as a partner. It typically feels good to be wanted and hurts when we feel lonely and rejected. The pick me girl mentality is born out of an attempt to avoid those painful feelings and revel in the idea that out of all the available girls men can pick from, they picked her. If that means she must renounce other women to secure that feeling and safety, that’s something she’s decided she’s willing to do.
In Defense of the Pick Me Girl
While the pick me girl’s beliefs and actions can be annoying at best and sexist at worst, she is not a lost cause. The thing to remember is that these women suffer under patriarchy, whether they are aware of it or not.
When a pick me girl constructs her personality around what men want her to be, she is shrinking and limiting her true self. The pick me girl doesn’t get to wear what she really wants to wear, like what she really wants to like, and enjoy her preferences without fear she will be rejected by men, or labeled, “just like other girls.”
The pick me mentality denotes a woman who lives within restrictive, male-centric standards and that likely is painful to some degree. That’s not to say that society should accept problematic behaviors, but that we might try to find some empathy to understand that pick me girls potentially have not considered how their actions and beliefs contribute to sexism, internalized misogyny, and ultimately the continued oppression of women.
Instead of publicly shaming pick me girls, maybe we can attempt to extend an offer to provide perspective, empathy, and education. The pick me girl doesn’t have to accept that offer, but maybe it can create a productive conversation amongst women around how we can support each other, as opposed to tearing each other down.