When it comes to our romantic lives, we all want someone to choose us—someone who looked around and decided that we were the best option for them. In a way, the whole goal of dating is kind of to be “picked” by someone who we also want.
However, the desire to be wanted can get taken too far.
You Might Have Heard The Term “Pick Me” A Few Times
If you spend way too much time on social media like me, you’ve probably heard the term “pick me” thrown around a bit.
This term is especially used to describe a certain type of woman.
So What Exactly Is A “Pick Me”
A “pick me” is a person who will directly contrast themselves to someone else in order to seem more appealing in comparison.
This occurs a lot in the dating sphere when romantic attention is on the line.
Still Unclear? Here’s What It Looks Like
For example, a woman might post online that she doesn’t like when a man interrupts her while she’s speaking.
Another woman (the pick me) in this situation will go out of her way to say she’s fine with men talking over her all the time to seem more appealing to the men reading the interaction.
Okay, So That Was A Little Extreme
While that example might be on the more extreme end of the spectrum, it showcases exactly what “pick me” behavior looks like.
It’s a willingness to put down other women’s assertions in order to seem more attractive in a man’s eyes.
Pick Me’s Are Nothing New
Pick me’s are all over pop culture, and can be summarized in one notorious phrase: “I’m not like other girls.”
The idea of being different from other women is portrayed as something to aspire to.
It Makes Sense Societally
Our society as a whole over the past hundreds of years, has actively tried to pit women against each other.
In the media and other narratives, women are often supposed to view each other as competition for the attention of men.
It’s Definitely Been Played Up In the Media
So many romantic comedies further play into the “pick me” stereotype by pitting women against each other.
It’s often a girl who is “different” who is compared to a traditionally feminine girl.
She’s All That Is A Great Example
In the 1999 movie She’s All That, Laney, who is shy, quiet, and artsy, is directly compared to Taylor, a popular queen bee who cares about being prom queen more than anything.
It’s implied that, by being different from the stereotypical girl, Laney is a superior romantic choice.
The Effects Can Be Seen In The Real World
“Pick me’s” in the wild aren’t hard to spot.
They often will disparage things women typically like—”I just don’t wear a lot of makeup like other women do because I think it’s stupid!”
Pick Me’s Often Don’t Have A Lot Of Female Friends
One of the biggest red flags for me when meeting a woman is if she says something along the lines of, “Other girls just don’t seem to like me!”
Another favorite is: “I just hang out with men because they’re less drama.”
…And There’s A Reason For It
A “pick me” will claim that other women don’t like her, but will often neglect to say that they’ll throw any female friend under the bus in exchange for male attention.
They’re likely to prioritize men’s attention over their friends, leading the friendship to dissipate.
Pick Me’s Just Reinforce Misogyny
In their attempt to distance themselves from the actions of other women and define themselves as “better” for it, Pick Me’s just reinforces that femininity and women are inferior to men.
The damage is more pervasive than it just being an offhand comment because these comments set the precedent that it’s okay to tear down women for male attention.
They Undermine The Words Of Other Women
Women will speak out about the way men regularly mistreat them, only for other women to immediately swoop in and say that they’re okay with men treating them that way.
Not only does it work to invalidate the first point, but it allows men to excuse their own behaviors since some women are clearly fine with it. Effectively, the men don’t look further into critiquing their own behavior.
If Anything, It’s Self-Degrading
The thing about being a Pick Me is that you don’t really benefit from it: all that happens is that you end up in a relationship accepting treatment and standards you don’t really like just because you want to seem cooler than other women.
In the end, a Pick Me ends up being consistently neglected and disregarded while claiming she’s okay with it.
Luckily, People Are Starting To Take Notice
Over the past decade or so, more and more feminists have been dismantling the idea that “not being like other girls” is a good thing.
Instead, they’ve been looking into ending negatively competitive standards for women as a whole.
It’s Even Been Discussed In The Media
Perhaps most infamous is the “Cool Girl” speech from Gone Girl, which tears apart the idea of the “cool girl” who is fine with all the garbage men do without complaining.
Instead, the monologue points out how women who play “cool girl” ultimately are taken advantage of and are underappreciated.
Challenge Your Own Pick Me Behaviors
I think it’s a rite of passage as a woman to realize that you’ve been a bit of a pick me before.
I was in high school when I first asked myself: why am I pretending to like Quentin Tarantino movies so much? It was then that I realized that it was because men had always praised his films and I was trying to seem more likable.
It’s Not Like You Can’t Like Certain Things
Of course, I’m not saying that you can’t like traditionally masculine things (like sports and cars) or dislike traditionally feminine things (like makeup and romcoms).
It’s really about understanding why you feel that way.
Ask: Who Am I Doing This For?
If you really are doing something for yourself, it’s fine. However, if you base your interests and opinions on how you think men will react to it, you’re probably off the mark.
I ask myself: if there was no one else on this planet and I was alone to decide how I felt and what hobbies I liked, would I choose this? If not, it’s time to re-evaluate.
Because, Honestly, I Want To Be Like Other Girls
I’ve reached the point in my life where I accept someone telling me that “I’m not like other girls” feels like an insult.
Women are some of the most resilient, empathetic, and intelligent people I have met. I’m lucky to consider myself one of them. You should too.