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“Pick Me” And Its Toxicity With Black Women

There is an unwritten code that you have to automatically subscribe to the same ideologies as all Black women because you are a woman and Black. Not doing so garners you the label of “pick me.” Recently that term has received its colonized legs and been all over social media.  It is ironic that the term, by definition, applies to the general mass of women, and its use promotes toxic femininity.

THE DEFINITION

A “pick me” is a woman who has internalized misogyny and deliberately goes out of their way to impress men. Exclude the obvious women catering to the male ego because the term is rarely inappropriately used with them.  However, my experience and observation has been that anytime a Black woman has stated an opinion that does not degrade Black men, the term “pick me” has been used in an attempt to insult her. Why?

TOXIC EXPECTATIONS

Why is there a need for women, particularly Black women, to align with everything ALL Black women say? We are not monolithic. This isn’t Drumline, where it is one band, one sound. We are speaking about reality where, although I am a Black woman, my experiences and observations will not always reflect your truth. This is OK. My experiences shouldn’t discredit your truth, and neither should your truth discredit my experiences.

OUR BEAUTY IS IN THE MANY FACETS OF OUR DIVERSITY

The beauty of existing as a Black Woman is that we have shared experiences and a common understanding. We are also able to have individual experiences that add depth to various conversations. There are only two absolutes in life- we are born Black women, and we will die. Everything else is left up to life experiences and perspectives. If I must silence my thoughts because a greater portion of my demographic feels a certain way, how is this not toxic? How is this not crippling the freedom of thought?  How are we not oppressing one another for the sake of an agreed agenda?

I know that in my writing, if I state that “Black men ain’t this or that,” I have overwhelming support from us (and by us, I mean Black women). If  I amend that statement to include women or add “that may be your experience,” I, along with the women that agree with me, a “pick me.” How?

What attention is anyone vying for when they state, “this may be your experience, but it isn’t reflective of everyone”? Who are we trying to be chosen by when we are in healthy relationships or content with the peacefulness of discovering ourselves?  No one is stating that your experience did not exist. Just as you are concerned with how Black people are portrayed in the media, you have to be conscious about the sentiments you portray. Can your experience be reflective for all, or like in traditional media, is it isolated events?

MARRIAGE AND THE ‘PICK ME’

Furthermore re this terminology isn’t exclusive to the initially defined woman. By default, it applies to the masses, including the women that hold the same general sentiments regarding Black men. Any woman seeking traditional marriage is a “pick me.” Why? The woman subscribes to the ideology of marriage (this by no means is bad). Someone said that we should be married, and the majority believe that.  At the simplest level, the woman put herself out there vying for attention in hopes of being chosen by her partner.

Let’s go further. Many women hide parts of their “personality” to become more appealing. Some go as far as curving their sexuality. This is not for health reasons, but for the sake of not being deemed a “whore”. These women are living “truths” chosen for them to be more appealing to society. She is conforming to someone else’s ideology hence making herself a “pick me” by default. What about women who surgically alter their bodies? (There is absolutely nothing wrong with surgical enhancements)  Are they “pick mes”?

 

Just because an experience may contradict an opinion someone is trying to make as fact doesn’t mean that the woman stating her experience is a “pick me.”  We have to stop expecting passes from each other just because we are Black women. We have to understand that our experiences aren’t the sole indicator of absolute truths.

About niksofly

I don't write to appease those that are unsure of themselves. I write to create a space for thought and conversation.

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One comment

  1. An educational piece! I was unaware of this term and appreciate the light & knowledge you spread sis!

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