The “pick-me girl” trend and dissecting internalized misogyny
If you've been online recently, you've probs heard of the term "pick-me" girl. Or maybe the shaming of "quirky" interests. And let's not forget the ever-so-popular "I'm not like other girls" phenomenon. Call it what you will, but they're not only unproductive but harmful. We're here to give you a brief lesson on the "pick-me" girl trend and how we can all do better.
What is a pick-me girl?
Simply put, a "pick-me" girl is a girl who presents herself as "not like other girls" for male validation.
“I only hang out with boys because girls are just too much drama.”
As the name suggests, they want to be "picked," and specifically picked by men, even if they have to deny their own femininity to do so. This often happens at the expense of other girls, throwing them under the bus.
"I don't wear makeup because I'm not fake like that."
It creates a dynamic that one type of girl is superior, shaming girls for genuine interests they may have. If "not like other girls" is the ideal girl type, then that implies that to be like other girls is inferior, and traditionally girly things are to be detested.
TikTok's pick-me girl
Over the past year, TikTok has taken the prized role of Gen Z's fave social media, cycling through trends like Gossip Girl characters to clothes. Sometimes, however, those trends can be problematic.
With Lil Uzi Vert's "Heavy Metal” song verse, “And they screamin’ out like, “Pick me,” like, “Pick me” / “Pick me,” like, “Pick me,” like, “Pick me,” like, “Pick me," TikTok users post videos captioned with stereotypical things a pick-me girl would do.
Bro they still won’t want you♬ original sound - Uzi
While the trend was originally a bit problematic, it has now taken a whole new toxic nature that puts other girls down for anything a girl does that may result in male attention. It started with calling out "girls who make fun of their friend’s insecurities around guys” to blaming "girls whose names start with a and end with e." Suddenly, normal things that many girls do are considered "pick-me" activities.
Most of the time, the creators putting out this type of content are actually the ones catering to the "pick-me" mindset. It's quite hypocritical, really.
The trend perpetuates internalized misogyny and allows traditional gender roles to dictate what is acceptable for a girl to enjoy, drawing a strict box around feminity before banishing it to the trash.
On internalized misogyny
Female media tropes are often sexist and you've def seen it before—cool girls, manic pixie dream girls, "strong" female characters.
Most people in this day and age grow up encased on all sides with media, and unfortunately, popular media is usually unkind to girls. Sexist tropes and gender norms are spread deeply and widely, to the point where it is internalized. Girls then project these subconsciously crafted ideas onto themselves and other girls, even if they may be aware of the gender roles and stereotypes at play.
Traditionally feminine values, activities and items are often villainized, while the female protagonist/hero of a story adopts more masculine traits and hobbies.
Being a girl who loves fashion and makeup, you can be labeled as a shallow "girly-girl." Being a girl who loves video games and sports, you can be labeled as a "pick-me" girl. TBH, it's getting hard to keep track of all these labels and accusations at this point.
The best thing to do is to rethink and rewire our mindsets to root out any deeply rooted misogyny. It's 2021—about time that we girl up and move past tearing other girls down. We're better than these hurtful trends.
All GIFs via GIPHY I Slider image from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
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