“I have a confession to make. I’m a ‘pick me girl'”


Photo by Julie Hang

Mia Rojas, Columnist

I have a confession to make. I’m a “pick me girl”.

A “pick me girl” is a girl who disassociates herself from stereotypical, hyper-feminine characteristics and activities in order to be a “cool girl”. She usually puts other women down and claims she’s not like other girls in hopes of impressing male audiences.

So why am I a “pick me girl”?

I specifically remember going into middle school, arriving at Flick Pool, and being greeted by a substantial amount of preteen mid-drifts. In other words; almost every girl my age tossed their one piece swimsuit for a bikini. It’s also worth mentioning at this point I had already discovered the impossible world of Western beauty standards, and had my own fair share of insecurities about my body. I looked down at the little belly I had as a perfectly healthy and normal 11-year-old girl, and decided it wasn’t good enough. 

So naturally, I hid in my safety blanket of a one-piece for a few more years. When I noticed I stood out from the crowd, instead of admiring how great all the other girls look in their swimsuits, I would do something else — I would use my deep- rooted insecurities to tear down the other girls who wore bikinis. I would pick apart their flaws in order to make myself feel better, usually by claiming that “I’m just not like other girls because I don’t want to show my body off to the world”.

What’s almost as disturbing as the fact that I was only 11 to 13-years-old is that after a while I started to believe it too. I started to believe that I was better than other girls or that the boys would find me quirky and different. That I could finally become a “cool girl”.

And although current “woke feminist” me can laugh about the absurdity of this situation, the underbelly of my pre-teen mindset highlights a much larger issue — that since our adolescence, us girls have been pitted against each other. We’ve been taught to compete for male attention and that we are each other’s foes, not friends.

Just think back to the movies we watched growing up like High School Musical  or Mean Girls.  Through a series of petty catfights we see the two female leads of each movie call each other vile things and stab each other in the backs to win over some boy. 

It’s also no secret that Sharpay and Regina, the two antagonists of these movies, are both portrayed with hyper-feminine characteristics such as pink clothes and heavy makeup. This sends out a dangerous message to girls watching -who now think that portraying themselves femininely is “vain” and “catty”. I know that I was affected by tropes like these because of instances like my swimsuit phase.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still watch and adore these movies knowing what I know now but it is still important to recognize the systemic problems they may portray. All of these ugly displays of female cattiness and vanity stem from something called internalized misogyny. This is when women shame and belittle other women as a product of sexism they hold towards themselves and their own gender in order to compete for the male gaze.

After learning this term, I opened up a whole new perspective on how I view myself and other women. Acknowledging the presence of my internalized misogyny has aided me in seeing other girls not as competition, -but as multi-dimensional and complex individuals who have their own struggles and insecurities. 

I think all girls can think of an instance where they’ve demonized their femininity or competed for male attention, but what helps me with my internalized misogyny is realizing that we didn’t teach this to ourselves. This is the product of decades of sexist belief systems and institutions set to tear women apart. 

So why not give the patriarchy a good kick in the gut and love and support each other?

Just remember to not be so hard on your inner “pick me girl”, she’s trying her best.