Extremely Online

What Does It Mean To Be “A Pick Me Girl"?

The term is complicated.

TikTok’s greatest trick is its ability to rebrand things that have always existed. A walk around the block is now a hot girl walk. A person who hits the gym before work and takes vitamins is now that girl. Setting boundaries is now the villain era. A turn-off is now “the ick.” A founding member of this family of internet age definitions is “pick me girl,” which is really just a rebranding of the “not like other girls” trope.

The “pick me” conversation is huge online and became a commonly referenced term on TikTok ever since 2021. The tag #Pickme has 3.3 billion views on TikTok, with #pickmegirl collecting 1.6 billion views. This may be the first time you’ve heard the phrase “pick me girl,” but if you’ve seen any Amanda Bynes movies from the early aughts, then this should be nothing new to you. Between She’s The Man, Sydney White, and What A Girl Wants, Bynes’ characters were the classic “cool girls” of our youth, with their aversion to lip gloss and sundresses, and their “I get along better with guys” energy. Those characters just wanted to play soccer with the dudes!

The term “pick me girl” is most often hurled at the “guy’s girl” types. A “pick me girl” might say something like, “I just don’t get other girls,” with the ultimate goal (subconsciously or not) being to get attention or male validation. One user, @trippiereed, says that the wording itself explains the term’s definition: “A pick me person is someone who is behaving in a certain way so they get chosen by someone over someone else.”

Whether you’re a self-identified girl’s girl or a peer-defined “pick me girl,” conversations about the phrase attribute its entire concept to misogyny. Critiques of the term believe that through its definition, women are still centering men in the way they navigate life and where you fall on the “pick me” scale is parallel to the way you interact with the men in your circle. One TikTok user, @bastardofbolton, put it simply, “A pick me suffers from the crime of internalized misogyny, not the crime of being annoying.”

The “pick me” definition originated on Twitter in 2016 with the hashtag #TweetLikeAPickMe, which involved users mocking one particular genre of “pick me” girls that brag about being “wifey material.” In the years that have followed there has been an unapologetic embrace of the ultra-feminine in terms of fashion, makeup, and proudly labeling oneself as a “girl’s girl.” Euphoria-style glam with bejeweled manicures and artistic eyeliner have replaced the “no makeup” makeup style, a look that may have attracted the “too much” critique just five years ago.

In 2022, the “pick me” vibe goes beyond hating lipstick, liking sports, or owning a longboard. Often, the internet assigns the “pick me” title to people who oppose their social or political opinions as well, a concept that TikTok user @mosesbabyyy has discussed on her page. In a Feb. 2021 video she explains that individuals who don’t support women’s rights are helping to support the patriarchy, therefore making them one version of a “pick me.”

The “pick me” definition has been expanded to include so many different interests and common phrases, and on TikTok, anyone can be given the “pick me” label but it only holds as much power as one allows it. As @trippiereed says: “There’s seven billion people in the world, you can’t say that everyone reacting to something makes them a pick me as well.”