Out of all the cultural phenomena that illustrates where the American people truly are when it comes to issues such as gender stereotypes and the still omnipresent objectification of women, it is instructive and ironic that the so-called “Cash Me Outside girl” stands above them all.

For the uninitiated, she has a name: Danielle Bregoli.

Bregoli, a South Florida teenager, will be 15 years old this year. A child of post 9/11 America, Bregoli was raised by pop culture and memes, as her parents had long since split up in a way that is acrimonious and yet typical of the current era—one in which people have relationships that are worthy of Bravo TV scripts.

Bregoli was a wild child, and the Fagin of the airwaves, the odious and contemptible “Dr. Phil,” saw an opportunity to exploit her in both 2016 and 2017.

Bregoli and her mother were on the good doctor’s syndicated schlockfest in an understated segment called “I Want to Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried to Frame Me for a Crime!”

It was there that she became famous. As audience members abused her, grown-ass men and women hooting and hollering and heaping opprobrium, Bregoli launched a catchphrase that made her career.

“Catch me outside—how about that?”

I write that in actual English, knowing that it looks unfamiliar, to make a point about the turgid caricatures of the phonetic spelling.

For weeks, or maybe months, or who the hell knows, “Cash me ousside, how bow dat” became what Bregoli was known for. Much like with Corrine Brown and “Go gata,” the “cash me ousside” meme provided a jump-off point for people—good people, I am assured, normal people, the kinds of people you wouldn’t mind sitting behind in a traffic jam—to treat this poor tween like
hot garbage.

Just for fun, I checked out a TMZ comment thread that saw some of these characterizations last week while writing this column; it was the same old shit.

Shit like this: “She got famous and made money by being disrespectful to her mom on live tv and conducting herself in a revolting manner. I still don’t understand how so many talented, kind people struggle in the entertainment industry but someone like her gets rewarded for treating her mother like crap on live tv and being unbelievably distasteful.”

As if Dr. Phil was hosting Firing Line or something, and Bregoli somehow went below the standards of the medium in a way that wasn’t as prearranged as WWE or a Jacksonville City Council vote.

And shit like this: “Little moron with funky eyebrows needs to get punched in the mouth.”

But, to be fair, she had her advocates: “I’m starting to like this 35 year old (chronologically 14 yr. o.) foul mouthed h 00 ker. On a side note … how does she wipe her *** with those talons?”

I was 14 once, and like many kids that age, it was a frolicky romp from one suicidal ideation to the next. (Good thing I made it through, amirite?) Of course, the only people talking shit about me were in my peer group.

Danielle Bregoli, as soon as she went on TV, was thrust into the crucible. Scrutinized, vilified, objectified. She could have crumbled. Instead, she monetized the moment.

The catchphrase became a hot sample very quickly, and she began to command five-figure appearance fees. Then, soon enough, she underwent a reinvention.

Bregoli began to record as “Bhad Bhabie.” I’m an old man, and hip hop music isn’t meant for me at this point. As a rapper, she’s no worse than people I grew up with, such as Ma$e and Magoo. The production is fine, if you like that autotuned vocal codeine rap stuff, on both of her hit singles: “These Heaux” and “Bad Bich.”

If charts mean anything to you, the songs were successful. Both were top 40 in R&B, etc.

I’m not sure if Bregoli has staying power or not; the arc I expect is for her commercial viability to fade very quickly, and for her to end up becoming either a reality show star or a political adviser to the president. However, what she did with at least $65,000 of her haul bears mentioning.

She paid off her mother’s mortgage. How about that?

There was never a trust fund for Bregoli. She made her own way. She exploited the energy of the zeitgeist. She got over. And got paid.

There’s a lesson there in perseverance. And a lesson that no matter how aspirational the public rhetoric is, people are assholes at heart, so there’s no point in pretending otherwise.