The Internalised Misogyny of the Term Pick Me Girl
© Illustration by Jamie Goodricke-Clarke
Who is really to blame for the use of misogynistic labels such as 'Pick-me Girl' and why we should stop using them.
She likes beer. She loves sports. She prefers male company. The term ‘Pick-me girl’ has become unavoidable on TikTok whether that be by videos created or comment sections filled to the brim with this insult. Notably, the term is used to target girls who exhibit quirks not usually associated with females and is another example of prejudicial insults used to pit women against each other and make one type of woman more favourable than the other, but who is really to blame?
If you are a keen user of TikTok then I don’t doubt you may have come across the term ‘Pick-me girl’ which has gained great popularity over the last few months. A ‘Pick-me girl’ can be defined as a girl who alters her behaviour, often in ways that are demeaning to other women and often herself, to gain validation from men. Since emerging in popularity, the #PickMeGirl hashtag has gained 788 million views on the platform and there is a whole multitude of videos that highlight individualities of the trope- ranging from ‘girls’ whose names start with a and e’ to mocking POVs of ‘hanging out with the Pick-me girl’. What is troubling about the trope is that it shames women for having certain interests with the assumption that these quirks are in pursuit of male validation. It is another toxic label used to brand women a certain way when the larger issue of internalised misogyny is left unaddressed.
What is a ‘Pick-me girl’?
According to urban dictionary, a Pick-me girl can be defined as a girl who seeks male validation by indirectly or directly insinuating that she is “not like the other girls’. She prefers beer to wine, doesn’t wear makeup, loves sports, is extremely unique, and is ultimately very pickable to men. In its origins, the term ‘pick-me girl’ epitomises a woman that has internalised misogyny, favouring male individualities, but not because she actually likes it- because she wants men to like her. A Pick-me girl often prefers male company because females are ‘too bitchy’, she generally doesn’t mind being sexualised by men because they are her friends and it’s just a joke. Sexist jokes are funny to her and girl humour is too sensitive, unlike her male counterparts’ dark humour.
Why is it so toxic?
At the heart of the ‘Pick-me girl’ trope is the implication that women are in the constant pursuit of male validation. Remarkably most of the time the people accusing girls of being a ‘Pick-me’ are other women, constantly pushing the idea that one type of woman is superior and, in a way, - women should all be carbon copies, so as to not be branded with these problematic labels. If a girl enjoys football, she is a pick-me. Why? Because football is a male sport and if she likes football, boys like her. With the extent to which the label is thrown around online now almost every female behaviour is invalidated and the line between the accuser and the accused is so blurred that it is hard to know who to blame and who has internalised misogyny the most. Don’t get me wrong, if a girl is demeaning other women to be picked by men then she is a definite agent of the patriarchy yet often online, the girls accused of being a ‘Pick-me girl’ are inadvertently displaying the traits and are not actually seeking male validation.
How can this type of internalised misogyny be tackled?
As women, I think it is fair to say we are all guilty of seeking male validation at one point or another just due to the very blueprint of the society we live in. As a society, we need to recognise and change the reasons as to why we internalise misogyny and understand the constant villainization of female traits is an issue that needs to be tackled. For women, these tactless labels are constantly undermining female behaviours and interests and in 2021- this should be stopped.