It seems that no matter what a young woman is interested in or passionate about, society bullies her for it by using gendered labels. You like horses, then you’re a horse girl. You like to play video games, you’re a gamer girl. You like wearing dresses and the color pink, then you’re a girly girl. You like to wear sweatpants and hoodies and skateboard, then you’re a bruh girl. You like scrunchies and hydroflasks, then you are a VSCO girl. You like iced coffee and scarves, then you’re a basic girl. And of course we cannot forget the newest addition to the pack, if you seek validation from men then you are a “pick me girl.”
First let’s unpack the meaning of “pick me girl.” A “pick me girl” is categorized as someone who claims she’s “not like other girls” and tends to put other women down. She is very flirtatious and thought of as “boy crazy.” She acts differently around boys than girls. She wants approval and validation from men.
Now I ask you to consider where this behavior is coming from. To me, believing you “are not like other girls” is clearly based in internalized misogyny that is a product of our patriarchal society which you cannot blame a thirteen to eighteen year old girl for feeling. From a young age we are taught there is something inherently lesser about being feminine. We are told that being sensitive is a weakness. We are told there is something wrong with “being like other girls.”
Consider why a young woman might seek attention and validation from men. Maybe she does not receive the attention and nurture she needs at home. Maybe she has trauma tied to the male figures in her life. Maybe she grew up in an emotionally abusive household and constantly seeks validation in general. Maybe she is afraid if she does not win the validation of a man he will harm her. Maybe she has body dysmorphia or deep-rooted insecurities, and validation from others is the only way she can feel attractive. Basically, my point is that you cannot blame someone for seeking validation of any form because this desire or need is not something they can control or are necessarily even conscious of.
Now think about why a young girl might act differently around boys and girls. Is it not true we all act differently around different groups of people? We do not behave in the same manner around our friends as we do around our grandmother, our boss, our siblings, strangers, teachers, and romantic interests. When you hide certain aspects of your life or personality, like the rager you went to last weekend, from your aunt no one accuses you of being “fake.” We act differently around people we want to impress than around people we already know very well and can let our guard down with. The immense pressure to be funny and charming can make some people tease their friends in an insensitive way. I do not mean to say that it is alright to put your friends down to impress other people, but I think we all do it to a degree from time to time. Making fun of your friend in front of a guy you have a crush on is a nervous reaction, not some thoughtful anti-feminist statement. If it bothers you perhaps you should communicate that with your friend rather than turning to social media to cry “pick me.”
I am tired of seeing young women thrust into these ridiculous stereotyped categories and pitted against one another. I am tired of watching TikTok after TikTok of women making fun of other women for the things they enjoy. I think that the time has come to stop calling other women “pick me girls.” If you really think that putting other women down on social media for seeking approval from men makes you some sort of feminist icon, then you are saddly mistaken and just another victim of internalized misogyny.