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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

‘Pick me, choose me, love me’: Why the villainization of pick-me girls is anti-feminist

Rachel Choi
Illustration by Rachel Choi

Is it wrong to want to be loved? 

Time and time again I ask myself, is it wrong to want love? It seems like an easy answer: Everyone wants love. So why are girls still getting torn apart in comment sections, discussion posts, and open forums by faceless and nameless accounts for the simple crime of wanting? 

We’re supposed to be women supporting women, but in reality, so many women pretend to support each other—at least, until girls start acting all “pick me,” and suddenly we become our own biggest haters. It’s you and it’s me, and everyone who has ever seen a video of a girl online demanding love or validation from men and been disgusted with her rather than with ourselves and a societal structure that prioritizes the approval of men over the safety and self-respect of women.

“Pick-me” girls are almost universally hated on the internet. If you search “pick me girl” on Tiktok, you will find thousands of mockeries, skits, and supposedly comedic smear campaigns against them made by people of all genders. The comment sections are always full of derogatory terms like slut and whore, and even actual violence and death threats. 

What even is a “pick-me girl”?  

A “pick-me girl” is supposed to be a girl who actively insults women in the way they attempt to appeal to men by pointing out what sets them apart from women as a community, e.g. “I’m not like other girls, I never wear makeup; my beauty is all-natural,” or “Oh my god I’m literally so small compared to other girls, you could literally pick me up right now.” Now, though, the term refuses to differentiate. If a woman is confident in herself and does the things that make her happy, whether it be for the attention of man or not, she is at risk of being called a “pick me”. Her favorite movie is a Quentin Tarantino movie? Pick me. She likes watching hockey? Pick me. She eats burgers instead of salads? Pick me.

Eponymously, however, she is simply a girl who wants to be “picked,” and will do things that specifically cater to a male audience to be “picked” over other girls. If that is the case, are we not all pick-me girls? If I put on mascara before a date, or choose the most flattering photos for my Bumble profile, am I begging to be picked over the girls beside me? It’s a competition, and it shouldn’t be anti-feminist to seek a male partner. 

It’s not anti-feminist to want a relationship, have romantic or sexual feelings, or simply want a happy ending with a man—despite what Disney thinks with their 2024 remake of Snow White. It is, however, anti-feminist to hate on women for going after what they want: it is not our job to police where women find happiness. Why does it feel shameful to desire love, when it is also what is expected of us out of life? We are shamed if we want a relationship, and we are shamed just as much if we do not. Women are shamed for the simple crime of existing, and “pick-me girls” are no exception. 

Even if we take the reason why so many women detest pick-me girls and the definition of the appropriated term that was originally coined by Black women—that they will actively put other women down in order to better appease men—we are also forgetting that we are not born feminists. I did not come out of the womb holding a copy of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and listening to Fiona Apple. We all find feminism at our own pace—and some of us never find it. 

“Pick me” is not an empowering term. Calling another woman a “pick-me girl” does not make a woman more authentic, more feminist, more self-loving. When we use a term with such negative connotations as this one, we are fueling the very fire we claim to be dowsing, as we are mentally placing ourselves above this perceived category of girls. 

When we do not agree with what a woman we respect is saying, we do not disregard their comments as null or “stupid” we evaluate, debate, and discuss as women, because as women we are all to used to the feeling of having our own opinions disregarded as null and stupid, simply because we are women. Why do we not observe this basic level of respect for “pick-me girls”? We should not be criticizing them; we should be educating them, allowing them to discover who they are when they are not existing for men.

There are powerful women like Candace Owens and Marjorie Taylor-Greene who are actively anti-feminist, who use their status to bring women down every day. So why are we using all of our energy to hate on teenagers online who lack malice?

Even when we compare the existence of “pick-me girls” to the more recent emergence of “pick-me boys”, we find this deeply-ingrained sexism present in the way the two are depicted. “Pick-me girls” simply want the attention of a man, and often are even sacrificing their own dignity to get it, whereas “pick-me boys” crave the pity and sympathy of women, and are emotionally manipulating women into sleeping with them and dating them. These self-appointed ‘nice guys’ are a threat to women in their sinister acts of demureness and self-loathing and yet are only treated with the very same hostility online as “pick-me girls,” a group who is truly hurting no-one but themselves. 

Originally, “pick-me girl” was a term used to describe someone who was tearing women down for her own personal gain. Even then, that wasn’t true—how can a woman do something for personal gain when the only thing she stands to gain feeds into the patriarchy? 

Nowadays, the term “pick-me girl” does not even describe girls. It’s a foolproof way to hate on women without catching any flack for it, brushing it off as funny, instead of what it really is: misogynistic. The elusive existence of pick-me girls is part of an age-old tactic to pit women against each other in order to let men stay in power.

I was born a woman and I will always be a woman. There is no way for me to escape and betray that label, as it is simply a part of me. When we ostracize members of our own gender, we are choosing to let societal pressure deny us a facet of our identity. The way we turn our backs on “pick-me girls” is no different from the way women turned their backs on purported witches in the 17th century. It is as if we believe that by spurning women we do not agree with, we are creating a more inclusive environment for other women, when in reality it is the opposite. 

We are being pitted against each other every day, and we do not even realize it. There is no such thing as a “pick-me girl.”

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About the Contributor
Ella Duggan
Ella Duggan, Opinion Co-Editor

Ella Duggan (she/her) is a sophomore communication studies major from Wellington, New Zealand, with minors in public relations and business studies. Outside of the Beacon, she is assistant music director for the Emerson Acapellics, an avid reader of romance novels, and loves hockey - Go Canucks!


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