Let me preface this post with compassion and empathy because I know that, as Black women, we are not afforded any. I am a recovering Pick Me. All of us experience coming of age in this violent, abusive, sexist and oppressive system called patriarchy. I have made a commitment to unlearning this system that tells me I’m only good for how well I can serve others. I refuse to be anyone’s mule. Breaking the chains of the system that has subjugated me for so long feels incredible! I have a newfound sense of adventure. I can even hear the joy in my laugh again. The gig is up!
1. Misogynistic Maryan
Misogynistic Maryan had a wonderful upbringing, so she doesn’t understand why we need feminism. “Where is this hurt coming from?! There are honorable Somali men who are doing right!” Anecdotal experience doesn’t negate institutional or systemic oppression, lol. It doesn’t change the fact that the majority of us live in poverty, experience barriers to access and a plethora of restrictions on our womanhood. Nor does it justify why so many men walk out on their families leaving them to perish.
2. Breadwinner Barni
Breadwinner Barni pays all the bills. She also does all the housework, childrearing, caregiving and is the only one listed as an emergency contact. She doesn’t ask for much because this is her duty. However, her health is deteriorating after many years of being overworked. Breadwinner Barni is tired of the long hours and low wages. She was not prepared to be the only person contributing to a growing household. Breadwinner Barni graduated from wife school and is now working herself into an early grave.
3. Maandeeq the Mule
Maandeeq the Mule rejects feminism and would rather return to a simpler time. I remember when I was Maandeeq the Mule. She doesn’t mind laboring tirelessly for the right man. Maandeeq the Mule has been programmed, packaged and is ready to be shipped! She is in her early 20’s, so she still believes there are “good” men out there as long as your actions, choices and mere existence adheres to strict merit-based standards. Where do these standards come from, you ask? Good question.
4. Righteous Rahma
Righteous Rahma has a hadith for everything. Feminism is obsolete because unlike other deities, there is absolutely no gender oppression in Islam. We have the right to vote and inherit land, so what’s the issue? Her critiques on gender, politics and social change fall short. She is unwavering in her commitment to misconstruing feminism, race, intersectionality and everything else. Male scholars continuously spew misogynistic rhetoric and will never advocate for women’s rights. So, Righteous Rahma will remain oblivious to her duty to fight against oppression because she believes that Islam and feminism are incompatible. And she’s right.
5. Honorable Hooyo
Honorable Hooyo is in survival mode. She is equipped for a life of inevitable hardship and suffering. Her sons are “fixer-uppers.” They lament about how difficult it is to find a mule–I mean wife. Spoiler: they are looking for an Honorable Hooyo in the women they date. However, her daughters achieved success despite very little room for error. She has a difficult time holding her sons accountable because of the internalized guilt and shame she has about being a single mother.
We were all raised to be Pick Me’s, but I’ve made a concerted effort to dismantle this oppressive force that exists inside of me. This voice that expresses doubt, worry and fear that I am not good enough. That I am only good for being a mule. We are more than our productivity! We will not work ourselves into an early grave. We are worthy of a life without suffering, violence, and heartache. Love and healing to all! ❤