I think most of us have romanced the idea of being famous. But when we fantasize about that position of prestige and power, we only see the glitz and glam. We see the lights, the fame, the free gifts, and of course, the money.
Rarely do we consider the flip side. The lack of privacy, the time we’ll have to sacrifice with our loved ones, and the real likelihood that your words will be twisted to fit someone else’s agenda.
Ayesha Curry, mother, businesswoman, and wife to NBA player Stephen Curry, recently joined Jada Pinkett Smith on her Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk.”
Together, with her mother and sisters-in-law, Sonya and Sydel Curry, and Callie Rivers, the women discussed what it’s like to be married to NBA players. They discussed the idea of maintaining your individuality when married to superstar athletes. The women talked about their decision not to follow their husbands on the road. And they talked about work, life, motherhood and wife balance.
Naturally, throughout the course of the conversation, the topic of groupies came up. Jada asked how these women deal with groupies and other women chasing after their men.
Ayesha said, “I’m a grown woman so I’ll just insert myself. I’m okay with it now. The ladies will always be lurking and waiting for their moment but for me, I honestly hate it. I don’t like when I feel leveled off with somebody. It irks my nerves. So we had the conversation about it, like when we’re going somewhere we make sure that I’m being introduced. I don’t like to have to introduce myself. It irks my nerves. So I try and make that known. But there have been a couple of times when I wanted to punch somebody in the face. But that’s just human nature.”
Reflecting on all of the attention her husband receives, Ayesha says she feels a little insecure with men not finding her attractive.
“Something that really bothers me and has honestly, given me a little bit of an insecurity is like ‘Yeah, there are all these women throwing themselves [at Steph] but me, the past ten years, I don’t have any of that. It sounds weird but I have zero male attention. Then I internalize it and I’m like is there something wrong with me? I don’t want it. But it would be nice to know that someone’s looking.”
The women assured her that this was not that case and that in reality, because her radar is off, she’s likely not even aware of the men who are interested in her.
The conversation eventually turned to anxiety and which situations make these women anxious as it pertains to being a target in large crowds and public spaces. Ayesha shared an incident she can’t shake that has made her anxious.
“I’ll never forget we wanted to go buy bikes one day. And I’m sitting in the back, nursing Riley. She’s less than one-year-old. And this lady—this group of people come over and they’re trying to ask Stephen for pictures and autographs—this woman opens the car door, sticks her body in the car and is like, ‘Let me see.’ And I’m like, ‘No, get out of the car.’ And she says, ‘Oh honey, you know what you signed up for.’ And that’s kind of stuck with me for a long time. I’m like actually no, I didn’t. And I think I deserve some type of personal space and so that’s where everything stems from for me.”
For one reason or another though, people have taken Ayesha’s comments to represent her being “pick me.” I think we all know this definition. A “pick me woman” is someone who moves and operates with the intent of making themselves pleasing to men, often at the expense or degradation of other women who choose to move differently. Not only did they say that Ayesha was “pick me,” they said that she was so “pick me” that she had to take medication for it.
I’m confused. How is not wanting other women throwing themselves at your husband make you a “pick me”?
And while I understand that the definition of a “pick me” is operating in order to gain attention from men, I would argue that wanting men to find you attractive is not “pick me” either. If that were the case, than more women than not are “pick me.” It’s human nature. It’s wanting to know that you’re still desirable after you’re married with three kids. I think it’s foolish to pretend any woman who desires any semblance of attention from men is operating from an unhealthy place.
Still, I know the origin of their outrage. Back in 2015, Ayesha set Twitter ablaze when she shared her opinion on fashion trends and her preference for covering up.
“Everyone’s into barely wearing clothes these days huh? Not my style. I like to keep the good stuff covered up for the one who matters. Just looking at the latest fashion trends. I’ll take classy over trendy any day of the week. Regardless of it you like my “style of clothes” or not (which I don’t care) please do not tear women down and degrade them…Not cool peeps.”
The comments were unnecessary. We can look at her and tell she prefers to dress modestly. And even with that caveat at the end, people still felt her comments were judgmental, that she was elevating herself above the women who choose to show skin by calling herself and her style classy—insinuating that women who choose to show skin are not.
It was problematic. And I get that. Still, to take a conversation from four years ago and equate it with what was said during Red Table Talk, in 2019, is unfair. It doesn’t account for potential growth in perception and the lessons she’s learned about the power of her voice since 2015 and the way your words–if you’re not careful–can be used to hurt and harm other women—particularly when you’re expressing these sentiments as a woman of color.
Furthermore, to combine tweets from 2015 to statements in 2019 is unreasonable. There is someone who argued that Ayesha Curry wants to be found attractive like the women she degraded with her tweets. But that’s not what she said at all. There was no mention of comparing herself to other women in her desire to be found attractive by men. She didn’t say that she resents the attention women who wear less clothing than she does receive. She said that in comparison to all the attention her husband receives, she would like some as well. She also wants to know that men—other than her man—find her attractive. And I don’t think that’s pick me.
We have to make a distinction between women who operate for approval of men at the expense of other women versus women who want to know that they could still get it.
I wonder if the women who are calling Ayesha “pick me” for these comments watched the entire episode. Because if anything, Ayesha seemed to be a woman determined to define herself outside of the relationship she shares with her husband. To me, the most memorable part of her insight was what she shared about the importance of her individuality within the context of a marriage.
“I need to make sure I have something for myself. As well as my marriage. One, it’s going to make me happy and full. I’m going to be a better parent. And it’ll make my husband a better person as well because he has this strong woman next to him, who has her own wants and needs and knows what she wants. So I feel like I have greater value and passion and I’m just a happier person that way.”
There are hundreds of NBA spouses who have been content to marry a rich athlete, have children, shop, stunt and chill. But in the short time Steph and Ayesha have been “a thing” in terms of fame and notoriety in the NBA, she’s managed to do way more than most. And judging from her comments, it hasn’t been for the sake of her man. It’s been for the edification of herself.
There will always be women who will look at her as a woman dying for men to choose her. But as far as I can see, she seems to have made a priority out of choosing herself.
You can watch the full Red Table Talk episode below.