Do you like:
- Pumpkin spice?
- Pumpkin spice Starbucks?
- Leggings and Uggs?
- Forever 21?
- Instagramming food?
- Greek yogurt?
- Yoga or barre?
- Lauren Conrad (and you loved her since she was LC)?
- Rooftop get togethers?
- Ryan Gosling?
- A good top knot or messy bun?
If you answered yes to these, and especially if you are a white female in your late teens and early twenties, I’m sorry to tell you, but you are what many in pop culture consider “basic.”
Why It’s Time to Get Rid of Basic B****
A girl who embraces her girly-girl side and isn’t afraid to read US Weekly with her nude gel manicured nails as she adds wedding pins to her “Future Mrs.” Pinterest board while sipping a pumpkin spice latte sounds like a girl I would hang out with. But, *gasp*, this girl is commonly referred to as basic, a basic girl, or my favorite, basic bitch. This mindless term, used as an adjective and noun, is multifaceted in that it can be an insult or term of endearment.
Ex: (Looking up your ex’s girlfriend on Facebook). Oh, she wears midi rings, a slouchy graphic tee, and leather leggings? Basic.
Ex: (Taking a selfie with your bestie after barre class). #basicbitches
Whether you’re using this term to put someone down or lightheartedly label yourself, let me tell you why the term basic has got to go!
Believing you can label someone as basic means that you have a higher standard of what someone should like or not like. Newsflash: if you’re resorting to the word “basic” as a sophisticated criticism, you did not nail it. You are not morally superior. You are lazy. And heck, you are basic for following such an idle trend.
It doesn’t flatter you
When you use the insult ‘basic,’ you’re saying you’re so above someone else that you can’t even be bothered to come up with an actual offense because you’re just. so. important. In fact, you are wasting your time because you do care. If you were so ‘non-basic,’ you wouldn’t even be on the boring basic train to begin with.
I was just reading Hamlet today and came across a lovely insult – sponge. What an interesting, compelling dig! It is so enthralling, in fact, that it warranted an in-depth conversation with my students about its many implications. Next time you truly wish to insult someone (which I do not condone), at least make it interesting. Learn a new word. Think of a creative comparison. Spineless, weak, someone who mindlessly absorbs information only to be wrung dry later: sponge! (Feel free to say it in your best Shakespearean accent, too.)
It doesn’t make sense
Current high fashion and luxe lifestyle trends value basics. You don’t flaunt your designer brand by slapping logos all over, you choose classic, simple, and understated designer pieces. Fashion bloggers, celebrities, and the everyday girl look ultra chic in plain skinnies, worn-in booties, and oversized cable-knit sweaters. So from a culture that values the basics, being basic is actually a compliment, no?
Let’s look at this one disturbing definition from Urban Dictionary- Someone who is unflinchingly upholding of the status quo and stereotypes of their gender without even realizing it. She engages in typical, unoriginal behaviors, modes of dress, speech, and likes. She is tragically/laughably unaware of her utter lack of specialness and intrigue. This definition would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. How can anyone, jokingly or not, propagate a term that says this group of girls is special and valuable and this group of girls is boring, which means they are expendable?
It robs of us individuality
Guess what? I like pumpkin spice lattes, and I’m a mom, a high school English teacher, writer, and blogger with a master’s degree. I can play piano and cello, write poetry, have never had a brain freeze, and can lick my elbow (which is supposed to be impossible!). I think those are pretty interesting things, and I know many others who enjoy “basic” things, and they are all interesting. We are all different. Basic bitch is not only boring, offensive alliteration, but its blanket-term nature assumes that because girls like X, Y, or Z that they are all the same.
Some groups of people call each other slurs that within that group acts as a term of endearment. Girls can jokingly and even (weirdly) sweetly call each other slut, whore, or bitch, but this needs to stop. Bitch is the most commonly used and accepted slang/curse word, which is pretty sad. People call men bitches to imply they are weak or acting womanly. People call women they don’t like bitches, and it’s a common name for assertive women. I don’t know which is worse actually – calling men ‘Sally’, a bitch, or telling guys to stop ‘acting like a girl’ is incredibly insulting because you’re saying that showing feminine traits is a laughable, heinous crime.
Being basic isn’t bad
I’m confused as to how leggings, pumpkin, and food Instagramming are common targets of being basic. What about white potatoes, the most popular vegetable? How about…umm…water? Why don’t basic girls get tagged as enjoying a college education? In fact, according to The Huffington Post “Federal data show that female students…for the past decade have accounted for about 57 percent of enrollment at degree-granting institutions.” And, The Atlantic reports that “American women…have, for the first time in our country’s history, come to earn more advanced university degrees than men.” It sounds like being a ‘basic girl’ means having a college education, possibly a higher degree, and probably enjoying a good mashed potato and water.
I’m not a person who is a huge stickler for political correctness or finds no humor in lighthearted jokes or sentiments, but I do feel strongly that as girls, boys, men, and women, we are just plain smarter than ‘basic.’ We are more creative, interesting, and kind.