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Posted under: Opinion

B. Simone, Black Women And The ‘Pick Me’ Culture That Just Won’t Seem To Go Away

For generations, Black women have been expected to put out strenuous amounts of emotional and physical labor, all in the name of love.

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In a recent viral video, B. Simone, Instagram comedian and internet personality, is under fire after saying women’s standards are too high when it comes to dating. With over 5 million followers on Instagram, the Dallas native took to social media in honor of Valentine’s Day, where she talked with her followers about “manifesting love.”

In the video, she says, “Here’s a little challenge ... we got all these things we want in a man ... He gotta be tall, he gotta be dark, he gotta be handsome, he gotta have pretty feet, he gotta be a family man, he gotta be financially stable, he gotta be rich, he gotta be successful.”

Simone goes on to explain that the statements are hypocritical, saying, “He gotta be all these things, and we ain’t even have the things on that list. He gotta be a family man? B***h, you ain’t talked to your mama in six months, but you want him to be a family man!”

Black Twitter rightfully called out the internet personality for her past actions, namely the plagiarism scandal surrounding her bestselling book, Baby Girl: Manifest the Life You Want, and her past statements on wanting to date an entrepreneur instead of a man with a “9 to 5” job.

A few celebrities have even come out in her defense. Tyrese, the singer, and actor, has come out in support of B. Simone, saying, “Women are pissed? Calling her a fraud? But why??????” in a recent Instagram post

If we’re being honest, this is a message fed to Black women time and time again. Why? 

I’ll tell you that it's not because we’re bougie or our standards are too high either. The social phenomenon of humbling Black women is nothing new and shows how scared society is for our achievements or growth. It shows when we are only appreciated for practicing modesty.

Black women lead the pack in employment and education, but why are we the only ones repeatedly asked what do we bring to the table?

Black women, along with Asian men, are at the bottom of society’s social and dating hierarchy. More than 70% of Black women are unmarried, according to the 2010 census Households and Families Brief.

For generations, society told Black women to make themselves smaller in our men’s presence and stand behind him instead of beside him. This conversation has exposed our dirty laundry, showing the hidden, ingrained misogynoir and sexism within the Black community.

According to Urban Dictionary, the term “Pick Me” gained notoriety over the last few years and is defined as “a woman who is willing to do anything for male approval.” Male approval still holds much weight in the Black community despite the narrative that Black women don’t need or want Black men. As a woman, having a man is almost a sign of self-worth and shows society, “look, someone values me!” Having a man means you are chosen, that you have value.

Society puts too much weight on women, particularly Black women, when it comes to love and dating. We raise our girls to seek men's attention early to value their approval, often while lowering our self-esteem in the process.

Lack of self-esteem often leads to Black women being subjected to dealing with toxic relationships or "situationships." 

Take Yvette and Jody from the cult-classic movie Baby Boy. She had a car, her own place and a steady job, but she put up with a man who had no job, no car and no options. In hindsight, she is the prize in the situation and should have walked away. Instead, she stays and is rewarded by society and seen as something to aspire to — a real "ride or die" chick. 

In her now famous book, We Should All Be Feminists, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says the real issue is we don't raise our boys and girls the same.

“We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case. We don’t teach boys to care about being likable," says Adichie. "We spend too much time telling girls that they cannot be angry or aggressive or tough, which is bad enough, but then we turn around and either praise or excuse men for the same reasons. All over the world, there are so many magazine articles and books telling women what to do, how to be and not to be, to attract or please men. There are far fewer guides for men about pleasing women.”

Personally, I have been focusing on uncentering myself from the male gaze by not seeking out male attention and not being overjoyed when it eventually comes. I think women drive themselves crazy trying to fit into the box of what men want. Often, they don't even know themselves.

The issue isn't exactly what B. Simone said. It's the fact that she has built a million-dollar brand on being the "manifest queen,"  encouraging women to manifest the things they want out of life, only to switch and now ridicule women for specific having standards. Dating and love are hard enough without putting this unnecessary standard on women. Having standards is not wrong, and I'm tired of Black women being told they're wrong for having them.

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Alexis Oatman, (iamlex) is a 20-something writer, journalist, and podcast host from Cleveland, Ohio who enjoys speaking about popular culture, f*ckboys, and everything else in between.