I don’t know about you, but lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of ‘pick me’ energy in the online freelance world.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, which has roots in Black internet culture, a ‘pick me’ is typically a woman who seeks male validation and attention by putting down other women and playing into patriarchal and misogynistic stereotypes.
The stereotypical pick-me is a girl who plays down their femininity to show that they’re cool and chill and “not like other girls.” Or they play it up to show how they are better than other women who aren’t feminine or ‘wifely’ enough.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen quite a few posts that read something like this:
“I don’t care about making $100k+/selling courses/doing speaking gigs. I just want to be happy/not stressed/have more time with my kids.”
And every time I see these posts, I think to myself: why does it have to be either-or?
If you really don’t want to make more money, sell courses, or do public speaking, that’s absolutely fine. It’s a choice, just like it’s my choice to do those things.
But why justify your choice? Or assume that people who have the former don’t have the latter?
I also don’t think it’s an accident that I’ve never seen posts like this from cis straight men.
Women aren’t supposed to want to make a lot of money or want power and visibility. As the famous Chimamanda quote goes, “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man.”
And thus, we get pick-me-ism. When you bring other intersecting identities into it – race, ableism, culture, religion, sexuality – it gets even more complex.
Ultimately, what anybody wants for their life isn’t anybody else’s business. Making a lot of money isn’t inherently wrong – and neither is making less.
But I do think we should pay more attention to how we all, consciously or not, encourage and validate pick-me behavior.
Why do we love to see women rejecting these markers of success but cringe when we see them embrace them?
Why do we immediately assume that an ambitious, powerful woman must be severely lacking in other ways?
Why do we limit our potential?
I’m so tired of this either/or narrative. To paraphrase a sentiment my friend Sarah shared on Twitter; I think it’s a shame to think you have to choose between success and happiness.
I’m still on this journey myself, but I believe it’s possible for me someday because I’m surrounded by ambitious, powerful, high-earning women who have made it possible.
And I hope you believe it’s possible for you too.
’Til next time,
Big (virtual) hugs,