The phrase ‘pick me’ has added fuel to the fire that is internalized misogyny.

By Sabine Waldeck, Deputy Opinion Editor

If you’re a frequent TikTok user, there’s no doubt you’ve seen the term “pick me” flooding the comment sections of girls’ TikTok accounts. 

For those who don’t know, Urban Dictionary (the obvious be all and end all of definitions) defines “pick me” as a girl who goes out of their way to impress boys and make them seem that they’re ‘not like other girls.’”

These so-called “pick-me’s” are stereotyped as girls who drink beer with the boys, watch sports in their free time, and don’t understand why other girls are into such frivolous things like makeup and shopping. They are girls who feel like they stand out due to the fact that they are not as enthralled with the quintessential girly things and instead lean more towards masculine interests, in order to be “picked” or more appealing to men. 

A more severe case of a “pick me” can lead to putting other women down for liking things associated with femininity. They hate on other girls for things that would be considered to be a “basic bitch” thing to do––wearing too much makeup, sleeping with “too many” guys, or being too dramatic, whatever the case may be. 

So, to counteract the aggression these pick-me girls have, those who feel attacked will ridicule them back. To belittle these girls and hurt their egos, other girls will flood their comments with the phrase over and over again until it’s all you see while scrolling.

However, this is a fighting fire with fire situation where nobody wins. 

“Pick me’s” say and do things to present themselves in a way where some might consider them different and special in comparison to other girls in order to gain male attention. Yes, this is bad, but it stems from a thing most girls have had to overcome at some point in their lifetimes—internalized misogyny. 

According to the UMKC Women’s Center, internalized misogyny is “when women subconsciously project sexist ideas onto other women and even onto themselves.” This toxic way of thinking only breeds hatred among women and is completely unnecessary. We already get enough of that from our male counterparts.

“Pick me” girls want attention from men because, as women, we have been told that is what is important. We are taught to appeal to the male gaze, and that being like other women is a bad thing. 

Starting as soon as women can understand the dynamics of our society, we are told we need to appeal to men, to fit ourselves into the misogynistic world we are going to grow up in. Women are told we shouldn’t be “like those other girls,” instead, we should fit this perfect idealized version of feminine but not slutty, conversational but not loud, and unique but not stand out too much. Therefore being any of the latter is negative and we should hate on women who embody them. The difference between women and “pick me” girls is that this mentality has stuck with the pick me’s. 

That mentality is a hard one to unlearn. If you are repeatedly told that being like other women is bad, then having to retrain your brain to no longer believe that is no small feat.

In a time where “women supporting women” is so popular, how is also calling other women “pick me’s?” 

It is almost anti-feminist to ridicule these women for trying to appeal to the male gaze since that is what has been ingrained into them. Why would we as women make it harder for one another to just live when we know how much we already have to deal with in the first place? 

Calling these women “pick me’s” only pushes them down and further away. If they feel like they are being attacked by other women then the internalized hate they have towards their own gender will be even more justified in their minds. It makes them feel more validated to hate on the other girls calling them names because they have been taught that women are just way too dramatic and sensitive. 

Women need to come together. Those who have successfully pulled themselves out of this misogynistic way of thinking should teach other women how to do so, not ridicule them for struggling to. If the people calling girls “pick me’s” had to also unlearn their own internal misogyny, then there should be a layer of understanding to these girls that are still stuck in it. Instead, we have allowed ourselves to fall back into the trap the patriarchy has set up for us for women to hate on other women.

You can not preach a girl gang while also hurting other girls who have yet to break away from what they have been taught––acting like every main character in movies, TV shows, or books, the one who “is not like other girls.” This paradoxical way of acting causes more disdain among women. 

This is not an easy task, but if every “pick me” comment was replaced with one of attempting education and not judgment, maybe we could actually embody what it means for women to support women.