“Pick me, choose me, love me.”
The iconic line from Shonda Rhimes’ “Grey’s Anatomy” has sparked a narrative among young women; one that is perpetuated by social interactions found within Twitter and other social media outlets. This mentality—which will be referred to as the “Pick Me” complex—often manifests itself through the regular denouncement of women via tweet or Facebook post, but also appears in in-person interactions.
This strand of internalized misogyny is most outwardly expressed through separation from the collective.
“I’m not like other girls” and “I don’t hang out with girls, they’re too much drama” both seem like harmless comments. Though what both comments suggest is not only a stereotype of an entire gender, but also further the assumption that women have trouble controlling their feelings toward one another.
Not only is this rationale problematic, but it contributes heavily to an established patriarchal society. Internalized misogyny provides an excuse for men to continue being misogynistic, only now masked as acceptance: enter the “Pick Me” complex. What typically transpires on Twitter is that insecurity appeals heavily to men, and many women have taken notice and adopted this low standard to curry favor with unworthy men.
The practice of criticizing girls and women for violating sexual norms or behavior, also known as slut shaming plays a large role in this. The loose definition of a “real woman” is associated with modesty, prudence and submission. Women who define themselves by these qualities publicly believe it betters their chances at finding a partner. However, more often than not women end up putting others down in the process.
Though married, Ayesha Curry most recently made headlines regarding this topic when she discussed her opinions in 2015 on the matter.
“Everyone’s into barely wearing clothes these days huh? Not my style,” Curry said. “I like to keep the good stuff covered up for the one who matters.”
Curry then tweeted, “Just looking at the latest fashion trends. I’ll take classy over trendy any day of the week. #saturdaynightinsight.”
There is a difference between expressing your preferences and doing so while bringing other women down in the process. Terms like “classy” and “ladylike” were termed to divide and oppress. Neither one of those terms have concrete definitions; they’re subjective, almost as if the definition of a “real woman” is a figment of our imagination.
The sentiment above appears to be framed in an unflattering light and from a place of maliciousness. However, those who fall victim to internalized misogyny are simply products of the oppressive world in which women live.
The “internalized” half of the problem refers to the fact society has been telling women they are inferior for so long they started to believe it. The problem lies within the decades of systematic oppression and constantly being crippled by the patriarchy. The urge to appease men has been ingrained into girls and women from the very beginning. Though we’ve taken colossal steps to progress and move away from this problematic rationale, it begins with checking ourselves before anyone else.
There is no benefit to women putting other women down on behalf of the desires, attitudes and standards set by men.
– Mena Ashwood is an English sophomore