The Pick-me Chronicles

Everyday you dedicate yourself into being a pick-me, you stray away from the lord’s plans for your life.

Internalized sexism has a way of making us feel better than the next woman simply because we consider ourselves as a stickler to the rules and the next woman, a rebel.

Internalized sexism refers to the ways in which women reinforce sexism by utilizing and relaying sexist messages that they’ve internalized. This is an involuntary action meaning you cannot help yourself from saying those sexist messages. The message of sexism present itself to us in two ways which can be internal and external, Internal sexism is when we accept the misinformation and stereotypes that have been made for women, internalized sexism has to do with us and how we accept those information our sexist culture has told us, women, about ourselves. External sexism has to do with individuals and institutions relaying sexist messages unto us, it could be the media representation of women, the way daughters are treated harsher than sons, the church’s sermon on women making themselves rehabilitation centres for their husbands and other male figures, it could be the government’s excuse on not employing women by accusing them of being erratic and overly emotional, it could also be in the school environment where the girls are taught that their role in society is strictly tied to domestic work whereas boys have the freedom to pursue careers outside the home.

Sexist messages can be interpreted differently to each and everyone of us. For example, an elderly man telling a girl that she should learn how to cook because she needs to serve her husband, to girl A the message could be enough for her to learn how to cook because she has been told that women need to learn how to cook because they need to serve their husbands, to girl B, this message could simply not be enough justification as to why she needs to learn how to cook and she can ask why can’t men learn how to cook? Can’t men feed themselves? The message that was passed down to her was interpreted differently from girl A. As much as we all would love to be girl B, a good sum of women are girl A, they do not question the status quo and they accept the information about them that has been passed down.

It is important to understand that, while the ways in which we internalize messages vary from person to person, we are all of us, without exception, affected by these messages. ~Tekanji

Girl A has been told by an elderly man that the duty of women is to feed the men, girl A has accepted that today but in a sexist society where one is exposed to sexist culture everyday, it will be no surprise when those messages cling unto girl A and even girls like girl B could also get tired of having to challenge status quo and eventually give into those messages.

On social media and in reality we see a huge number of pick-me women and while some women cannot help themselves, we have women who intentionally pass down those messages so they can play Devil’s advocate. They enjoy playing the devil’s advocate and this is also as a result of internalizing sexism, when women try to alienate themselves from other women, trying as hard as possible to relate with their oppressor even when there’s nothing worth relating to, this is a means to escape their reality and the oppression which they face, women resisting to acknowledge their own oppression and relate to the oppression of other women is as a result of self-hate.

…For to confront another woman is finally to confront one’s self-the self we have gone to such lengths to avoid. And in that mirror we know we cannot really respect and love that which we have been made to be. ~Radicalesbians

In the beginning of writing this paper, I thought I was going to write an article critiquing The pick-me woman but that would’ve been me doing too much, doing too much in the sense that, those pick-me women are only the products of a sexist society and if I did an article solely on chastising them, then I indirectly would be placing the blame of their behaviours on them. (At this point I am having an internal conflict with myself).

Let’s talk about being a pick-me…

Being a pick-me mostly involves putting other women down in an attempt to make yourself look better in the eyes of the male. There are different ways in which you do it, benefit from it and harm yourself by doing it. In the current system we’re living in, being a pick-me has its benefits and it’s very easy to see yourself becoming one just to ensure that you are safe, with spouse and not ridiculed.

I think these are the thoughts that wanders in the heads of pick-me women and why they feel the need to take the actions they take and say the the things they feel the need to say.

THE BENEFITS OF A PICK-ME ?

* Being a pick-me is somewhat safe? You do not have to worry about being insulted and being ridiculed by the men you audition for as far as you keep heeding to their instruction.

* Being a pick-me in the church guarantees you a very religious man who would see you as the obedient, quiet and submissive woman that you are and this will automatically mean a potential suitor.

* Being a pick-me would you have you believing that if you’re ever beaten, abused or sexually assaulted, your story would be believed and would hold more weight than the girl whose story involved a short skirt.

* Being a pick-me would have you advocating for the male and in this, you would become the center of attention which in your mind is a good thing because no one fights battles for men.

* Being a pick-me would have you believing that we spend too much time advocating for women’s rights and men have no structures protecting them from oppressive women.

* Being a pick-me brings a sense of superiority, it makes you feel superior to the other women because while they’re busy being ridiculed and mocked, you are safe and no one seems to be mocking you.

* Being a pick-me would always guarantee a cookie and a dog-bone for being a good girl.

* Being a pick-me at work would have you doing more work than you expected with thoughts of being well acknowledged and appreciated in the office.

* In being a pick-me, you have the attention of the men who fancy your cooking and cleaning skills. These comments makes you happy and provides you with the affirmation you need and with these comments, you no longer fear losing the male gaze.

This is a bunch of mumbo-jumbo and it’s all BS, why? Because with being a pick-me, you’ll never have that safety nor freedom to do the things you want to do because you have decided to stray away from the male gaze. The sad thing about being a pick-me is that, no matter how long you have dedicated yourself to being picked, nothing can ever be guaranteed for you once you decide to come out of that space. Are you really safe, sound and secure when you are confined to a pick-me space? I don’t think so.

Feminism is hated because women are hated. Anti-feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defense of women hating. ~Andrea Dworkin

DISADVANTAGES OF BEING A PICK-ME

* You’re never really safe. You’re never safe because the moment you step out of the space everyone is used to seeing you, you’ve automatically become one of the women you used to scold.

* Being a pick-me would have you believing less in yourself and more in the male who can’t light a candle to your name. You begin to believe in his potential being greater than yours even when he has no potential.

* You’re always going to find yourself ending up with bummy men because you have no expectations nor standards and even when you do, you really can’t express them because you’re Bob, you build all the men and mould them (in your words, a real woman builds a man from scratch).

* Being a pick-me at work wouldn’t guarantee you the loyalty of your colleagues, when you begin to shit on other female workers to make yourself look better, you’re definitely not going to have any friend to look out for you unless you’re targeting the male friendship.

* In attempt to protect the eyes of the male on you, you reduce yourself and allow the hideous and dull characters of the male to be imposed on you.

* In being a pick-me, you find yourself devouting your time into serving the male and looking after him even when it doesn’t suit you nor have your best interest.

* In being a pick-me, you allow yourself to be walked over by the male and spoken to in different uncouth manners just so you can cater to the fragility of the male’s ego.

* Being a pick-me woman does not guarantee safety, if you are ever abused or violated, there’s a high possibility that you would be treated just as badly as the women who you alienate yourself from.

* The love that you think you have found doesn’t exist, the praises you get for your meals, cleaning and nurturing would seize to exist once you step out of the role the male found you in. The love that you thought existed only existed because of the services you were providing.

* When you slut-shame other women and laugh at them to please the male and serve yourself, you are indirectly slut-shaming yourself. The generalization you make of women, grouping them into being decent/smart and dumb/promiscuous is only going to do you a bad deal because you are just like the dumb/promiscuous women you find yourself insulting everyday.

* Being a pick-me would limit the opinions you have, the language you want to use and the way you express yourself. In being a pick-me, you sign off certain emotions because you would not be allowed to express them.

The disadvantages of being a pick-me is larger than what you think the benefits are and they’re definitely not benefiting to you but to the male.

The identity and potentials of pick-me women will never be truly revealed because they have no life outside the male gaze.

Here’s the question, do we sympathize and teach these women the disadvantages of being sexist or do we scold and rebuke them? Tough love maybe. Sometimes, it’s about doing the necessary thing and hoping that after it has been done, the people would gradually settle into the idea.

What can we do to reduce and finally stop internalized sexism?

First, we must accept that women also participate in sexist culture and acceptance is the first stage of handling a problem. When we have accepted our contribution to sexist conversations, we can do better for ourselves and this involves the smartest of women to the least, vigilant, aware, educated and uneducated women and once we have finally accepted that we are all capable of internalizing sexism, we can change those systems.

We cannot assume that every woman should know better than to be sexist towards other women because some women are yet to accept that every woman is indeed capable of being sexist towards other women.

We cannot expect women to not be pick-me’s but what we can expect is for them to be open to change and new ideas that do not contribute to harming women and themselves. In thinking women cannot be sexist, we’re still reinforcing the ideas that says women can’t do this and women can’t do that.

Secondly, women would have to acknowledge the ways they contribute to sexism and this doesn’t only involve being sexist towards other women, this includes yourself, how you act and pass judgment unto yourself. Freeing yourself from oppression and becoming familiar with the behaviours and reactions you put out would help you in growing out of internalized sexism.

Internalized sexism doesn’t also have to involve pick-me women putting other women down to uplift themselves, it can also be you judging yourself more than you should have i.e. Masturbation. We know the different approach between men and women when we talk about self-pleasure, in high school we already have the male conversing in the open about how much they masturbate and how they do it, yet we have women who refuse to give men handshakes in the fear of tainting themselves (now, the issue here isn’t refusing to being physical with the male but slut-shaming yourself because you did).

Internalized sexism is also having sex and shaming yourself for enjoying it. I’ve seen something along the lines of post-nut clarity as the excuse but for women, it’s more than that. We shame ourselves simply for engaging in sexual activity and enjoying it, this also plays into having sex, (when we don’t find ourself relaxing) we find ourselves overthinking, worrying about how much sweat we could produce during the performance, if our bodies look good enough, if our vagina looks and smells great, while it’s normal to worry, we find ourselves overdoing it and shaming ourselves in the process.

Internalized sexism is when women judge themselves and doubt themselves more than they should have over certain issues, this is when women go for job interviews and when asked what pay are you expecting? They decide to go for a lower price that is beneath their expectations simply because they do not believe that their work is valuable for a better price or they do not want to appear greedy. Now, while this could also be because of one’s insecurities in their abilities or the fear of not being good enough, a majority of women tend to go for lower pay even when their credentials meet more than the requirements. (You can see: Women don’t ask for more money )! Women have been told that they’re not as worth much as men and this reflects on their pay check so it makes a lot of sense why women would feel the need to judge themselves and deciding their fate without even trying. Let it be clear, women refusing to ask for more money isn’t the reason for the gender wage gap.

…when the women negotiated for themselves, they asked for an average of $7,000 less than the men. But when they negotiated on behalf of a friend, they asked for just as much money as the men. ~Amanatullah

Internalized sexism is conforming to dating norms and this involves participating in casual dating and regular hookups even at our own detriment, when we show disdain towards women who are interested in exclusivity and commitment rather than the recently popular casual dating hemisphere. This could also be showing disgust towards women who enjoy no-strings attached relationships and we should remember that neither of the two is superior to the other.

Internalized sexism could also be us doubting the patterns we’ve acknowledged in fear of being called overbearing, rude, bossy and too much to handle. When we ignore the behaviours we’ve noticed and the judgement we’ve made on those behaviours, we’re indirectly telling ourselves that we are incapable of being assertive and of course, this is part of living in a patriarchal society, where men are referred to as driven, clear-headed, great judge of character, women are referred to as bossy, sensitive, confused, disrespectful or rude. All your observations are valid and you should always feel free to state them because most of the times, our intuition is right.

In trying to disassociate yourself from other women .i.e. when you’re given the you’re not like other girls type of comments or when you’re told I don’t meet a lot of girls who like reading, they’re all occupied with makeup and then you find yourself being very eager to disassociate yourself with other women and respond with thank you/ I know right. The supposed compliment you were given was more of an insult than a compliment and this is one of the examples of brunette and blonde differentiation, brunettes are supposedly the brilliant, decent, reserved, good women while the blondes are dumb, stuck-up, self absorbed, slutty, makeup loving women (an unnecessary stereotype). Disassociating yourself from other women could also be interpreted as they’re not good as me or those type of women do not deserve recognition, I find myself always saying no one is the same as the appropriate response to that type of comment or what’s so bad about the other women? It shuts the commentators up and it avoids you from going forward with a conversation that could shame women.

Internalized misogyny does not refer outright to a belief in the inferiority of women. It refers to the byproducts of this societal view that cause women to shame, doubt, and undervalue themselves and others of their gender.” Suzannah Weiss

Thirdly, trying to teach what you know to other women so you can help them grow out of certain behaviours, being able to criticize their actions in the ways that they can learn of the dangers their speech and action poses. When it comes to change and impact, women are capable of doing a better in job in helping other women and teaching them, it’s our duty to carry other women along so our movement and impact is stronger. I share the same idea with Valerie Solanas who says “the liberation of women is important, urgent, impatient, necessary and cannot wait for those who are yet to change, adamant to change, unwilling to change their ideas that are harmful to the liberation of women“. Feminism/Women’s rights/ Women’s oppression/ Womanism/ Women’s inequality have all been existing for centuries and women are doing the best they can to continue progressing and we cannot wait for the people who are unwilling to get over themselves to join the fight for women’s rights, saying this means the liberation of women cannot be on pause neither can it wait for you to want to learn, we’re going to force you into learning.

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Thanks for reading!

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For reference:

What is internalized sexism?

Feminist Campus (Misogyny)

Nina Cherry (Misogyny)

Image by: CustomCabinGirl

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5 thoughts on “The Pick-me Chronicles

  1. I think it’s important to try to carry women along. I’ve said before that I’m not likely to argue with men about feminism anymore, because it’s just a discussion to them but it affects my entire life. But with pick-me women, it’s different. It affects them too. Their behavior is dangerous to them too, and most times, they’re pick-mes because that’s how they were brought up

    Liked by 1 person

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