It seems that everywhere you look nowadays there are references to the trendy new term “Basic”. If you like Starbucks you’re “Basic”, if you quote Harry Potter you’re “Basic”, if you wear yoga pants you’re basic, if you eat brunch…you’re obviously basic. I’ve postponed writing this blog entry for awhile out of fear it would come across as defensive or humorless (both unattractive qualities if I do say so myself). However I would like to vouch that I have no problem laughing at myself, I can poke fun at my “dumb blonde moments” even though I know I am perfectly intelligent. I can play up my “sorority girl” qualities with a head tilt and “wait what?!” to make my friends laugh and I am totally cool humiliating myself when I bust out my white girl dance moves.
For whatever reason the term “Basic” really sort of irks me, rubs me the wrong way if you know what I mean. I’ve asked myself why I have allowed a silly urban dictionary worthy buzzword to occupy space in my brain for thirty seconds let alone thirty minutes and I’ve come to several conclusions why every article on the “Basic Bitch” makes me want to slit my wrists.
First and foremost I find the term inherently a little sexist. I’m not about to call out each and every one of my instagram and facebook friends as chauvinists or woman haters, I know the intent is to be funny…yet why do we catergorize popular female trends as “basic” but popular male trends as just “cool”. A woman who likes the Kardashians, has a crush on Channing Tatum and owns a picture frame with the word “Friends” inscribed into it is suddenly thrown into the most boring and belittling cliché I’ve yet to come across. Yet a man who watches Game of Thrones, jerks off to pictures of Kate Upton (sorry bout that one, you know it’s true) and wears the same Nike basketball short as every other frat guy you’ve ever met isn’t called the same term. Why are women teased and ostracized for their interest in popular culture while men are encouraged to engage in a similar sort of “Bro-mance”.
The sexism of the “Basic” guidelines bother me, however what bothers me more is the shallowness of the stereotype. The term “Basic” brings me back to middle school when I refused to wear anything pink or from Abercrombie because I saw this immature behavior as a rejection from the norm. I had convinced myself that by stabbing safety pins through my jeans and dying my hair vibrant red with blonde streaks I somehow became more original. While I certainly stood out among my preppy classmates what I didn’t understand was that my interest in black nail polish and heavy eyeliner didn’t make me inherently interesting or unique. When everyone tries so hard to be “different” instead of just being themselves everyone ends up the same. You then are left with the group who accepts the norm and are all the same, and the group who tried so hard to reject the norm that they’re all the same. Is one of these groups really more “basic” than the other? While an interest in Abercrombie may speak to an individual’s unevolved junior high taste in clothing it says very little about who they are as a person, about their heart, their mind, and their experiences.
I am all for the hatred of boring people. I have no interest in long conversations about Kendal’s modeling career or in quoting Mean Girls constantly (although I’ll admit it’s fun on occasion). I have no interest in befriending girls (or guys) who provide shallow conversation, who only offer support as shopping companions and coffee dates debating which celebrity clothing lines are the best. Yet, I find that judging a person by which TV shows they watch, where they buy their yoga pants and whether or not they say “literally” in the incorrect context is a poor basis for friendship.
I don’t find myself (or anyone else) particularly interesting based on their choice of television shows. I might hate you if you watch Pretty Little Liars, just as I might hate you if you watch indie tv shows only aired on obscure German websites. While an obsession with Lauren Conrad says something about your personality, I’ve found that it really doesn’t tend to say much. What I look for as defining qualities in people are their experiences, their views on life, their goals and ambitions. While I basically worship Taylor Swift, find myself addicted to Starbucks and buy the majority of my underwear from Victoria’s Secret, I don’t find myself defined by these traits (okay maybe a little defined by my Taylor Swift obsession). What makes me interesting is my story, my thoughts on the world outside of reality tv and the person I am when you really sit down and talk to me (just after I take a picture of my cute boots in the fall leaves).
As for the term “basic”…I can’t even (;