"Pick me" needs to leave
The first time I saw a “pick me” video, I remember thinking it was pretty funny.
Lil Uzi Vert’s “Heavy Metal” is the audio of choice for this TikTok trend. The verse goes, “I got these girls and they fightin’ all up and like/And they screamin’ out like, ‘Pick me,’ like, ‘Pick me.’ ‘Pick me,’ like, ‘Pick me,’ like, ‘Pick me,’ like, ‘Pick me.’” In the video, a girl exaggeratingly mouths the words “pick me” with a caption of something “stereotypical” a girl does underneath.
The first one I saw had the caption “when girls put down their friends in front of other guys.” Yes, this is something I find pretty annoying. I gave it a laugh and kept scrolling through my for-you page.
A few days later, I saw another version of this trend with the caption “when girls say they only wear lipgloss and mascara” and after that, one with “when girls talk about playing for a volleyball team.” That’s when I realized something was seriously wrong.
This trend exemplifies the “I’m not like other girls” premise. It classifies many feminine traits as inherently annoying and superficial. The idea is to make yourself seem different, not basic and cliché like “those other girls.” It showcases the way internalized misogyny plays a role in the lives of many women, whether they realize it or not. But women should still be entitled to doing whatever they are comfortable with, regardless of how cliché it may seem. The disdainful commentary about “girls (who) say they only wear lipgloss and mascara” is aimed at those who avoid wearing heavy makeup because they opt for a more natural look –– they say they like to keep it minimal. In reality, there’s nothing wrong with only choosing to wear lipgloss and mascara, just as there isn’t anything wrong with wearing a full face of foundation or walking out of the house barefaced. The idea behind the original “pick me” TikToks regarding makeup criticized women who say they wear minimal makeup assuming they judge those who do not. But as the trend gained traction, it started attacking all women who wear minimal makeup for no other reason other than they want to. It automatically assumed anyone wearing lip gloss and mascara was judgemental of others who wear more makeup. It spread to smaller and ridiculous topics, like “the one girl that wears blue light glasses 24/7,” or “girls with names that start with ‘a’ and end with ‘a.’” It’s bad enough that the beauty industry and the patriarchy set standards that are unachievable for women. They shouldn’t have to face such unnerving expectations to literally just exist. We don’t need to have women tearing other women down on top of all of this either.
This “I’m not like other girls” ideology has been present in many women I have spoken to: women, for years, tried to disassociate from the patriarchal, bland stereotypes of themselves which have existed for centuries. Stereotypes include the notions that women belong in the kitchen, women should dress a certain way and women are less academically intelligent. The solution to this misogyny is not to tear down girls who exhibit stereotypically feminine traits and behaviors. The problem is not femininity: It’s sexism.
When I was in kindergarten, my favorite color was pink, simply because it was exactly what the conventional idea of the color is. It’s girly, cute and reminds me of flowers, magic and glittery things. Going into third grade, I remember suddenly changing my favorite color to blue. I don’t have anything against it; blue is such a comforting color, but the idea behind this change was that I didn’t want to be like the plain, dictionary definition of what a girl should be. I wanted to be my own person, not like “other girls,” so I said my favourite color was blue and tried to wear as many non-pink colors as I could –– an endeavor that really shouldn’t have been undertaken by an eight-year-old.
This mindset lasted a surprisingly long time. In freshman year of high school, I stuck to wearing black or darker shades. I still maintained the “blue-is-my-favourite-color” thing. But when it was time for me to move into my apartment in Ann Arbor, I had to decide how to decorate and furnish my room — and the years of staying away from pink came rushing back to me.
My laptop is pink, my bed sheets and duvets are pink, my lamp, my towels, my candles, the case I bought for my pepper spray –– they’re all pink. Maybe it’s because I’ve stayed away from the color I love for so long that I’ve become so insanely obsessed with it. Looking at it makes me so childishly happy.
I’ve updated my wardrobe with numerous glittery dresses and floral prints. I’ve bought multiple snap hair clips and sparkling floor-length skirts. Flowers and classical music make me happy. I would much rather wear a sparkly dress than ripped jeans and a cropped t-shirt. I also only like to wear lip gloss and mascara, maybe a little eyeshadow on special days; foundation tends to clog my pores. I’ve never been happier being myself. Our efforts should aim towards doing what we love, not trying to understand absurd standards of what cliché girls are, and then avoiding those standards at all costs. If you like to wear just lip gloss and mascara, wear it. If you want to wear more makeup, do it. It took me 15 years to say this without worrying I sound too stereotypical: I love pink.
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