If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you may have come across phrases such as, “#dontbebasic,” “basic bitch,” “basic white girl,” etc. If a girl (and yes, only a girl) follows a trend or enjoys something that a mass majority of other girls enjoy then she’s labeled as “basic.” All of what could have made her unique is ripped away simply because she enjoys fall, pumpkin spice lattes, sweaters, uggs, “girly” TV series, or finds a specific male actor attractive. This girl apparently has no originality and is shamed for the harmless things she enjoys. So basic. How dare she enjoy pumpkin flavor in her coffee?
What gets me more about this trend is the #dontbebasic. When I see a hashtag like this floating around, I’m instantly reminded of the “I’m not like other girls” trend that typically appears in YA novels or shows/movies geared at teen girls. This is when the story is almost dedicated to making sure that the lead female role is different from ordinary (or “basic”) girls. This girl typically reads and drinks tea. The “basic” girls wear short skirts and she wears T-shirts. They’re cheer captain and she’s on the bleachers – you get the idea.
Not only is the “not like other girls” a terrible mindset to have because it makes girls feel ashamed for liking anything that most girls like, it also makes them feel the need to compete against these other girls in order to stand out. The “basic” trend makes girls think to themselves, “well, I don’t like this so I’m not basic like those other girls. I’m different. I’m better.” I know this because I was one of these girls in high school and even for a bit in college.I thought I had to be different from the other girls for boys to like me and to have a sense of worth. It was an ignorant idea and I’m thankful that I’ve since grown out of it.
This is not something that should be congratulated. No one should make it a big deal whether or not a girl buys her coffee at Starbucks, that obscure cafe, or Casey’s. Why should that determine a girl’s worth and uniqueness?
The trend also doesn’t bother to look at the girl’s other traits. There can be 100 girls who all love fall, pumpkin, Starbucks, and uggs, but I promise you that each one will have 50 or more things about them that separates them from the other 99. One girl will love art and be a fantastic painter. Another might spend her Friday nights watching old sitcoms on Netflix. Another might write. One might race. One might snowboard. I know they’ll have those other characteristics because they’re human beings and human beings are unique.
Also, there is nothing wrong with what these girls are liking that is labeling them as “basic.” Uggs are comfortable so people wear them. Starbucks is one of the few coffee chains around especially in the U.S. so people go there. Autumn is a gorgeous season filled with an intense color, atmosphere, and warmth so people are drawn to it. There is nothing wrong with liking these things. There is nothing wrong with liking something that a majority of girls like. Not to mention that this mindset severely devalues anything that girls enjoy for the sole reason that girls are enjoying it. By doing so, this also devalues girls in general.
I’m guilty of using the “basic” line too, but I’ve only used it on myself as a way of wearing the label with pride I suppose. Still, I plan to stop altogether. I love Starbucks. I love fall. I love pumpkin spice lattes. I love being a girl. If this makes me basic then I will happily accept that because I know that I’m not. I know that I am unique just by being myself and I refuse to let go of the simple things I enjoy so I can be elevated in status over other girls.
Please, don’t stop liking something so you can be different from all the other girls. Don’t compete with each other and don’t feel less original for the things that make you happy.
You are not basic.