A defence of the term ‘basic’

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[Written by Manon Klatt, Culture Editor @manonqueenbi]

[Image by Kate Zápražná]

Pumpkin spice, rose gold, Taylor Swift, Instagram, yoga pants. Either you just read that to the tune of Fairy Odd Parents, or the image of a basic, white girl just formed in your head.  A picture resembling me, a self proclaimed basic girl. People apply the term to girls in a derogatory way, who they deem as plain, without personality, maybe even a bit unintellectual. This might make you wonder, why did I chose to apply to term ‘basic’ to myself. The answer is simple, I am reclaiming the term ‘basic’, arguing that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being basic.

If you judge someone for drinking pumpkin spice latte I am going to assume you have never even tried a PSL because if you did, you would know that they are incredibly delicious. Same goes for rose gold, it is simply aesthetic; yoga pants are very comfy; you probably use instagram yourself; and if you are telling me that you did not jam along to Shake It Off I am actually going to be the one to judge you for it. Moreover, just because I like these things does not mean I don’t have other interests. My personality, while implied by people who use the term basic as an insult, is more than just my love for everything pumpkin and autumnal. However, I should not have to defend all these things in the first place – women are allowed to like things. Girls are allowed to get excited about autumn, post pretty pictures of food on their insta, and listen to whomever they want without having to come up with reasons why it is okay for them to like those things. Girls also should not have to argue, that despite enjoying those basic things, that they have “redeeming qualities” that make up for girls liking basic things. Using the term ‘basic’ as in insult, implying a girl is something less because of how they drink their coffee, is ridiculous and sexist. 

If there are basic girls there have to be basic guys, right? Imagine if we referred to beer-drinking, football-watching, bacon-eating, video-game-playing guys as basic. But we don’t because the only thing we shame guys for enjoying are feminine things, such as flavoured lattes.

In our patriarchal society we are almost encouraged to oppress women in any way possible. This is why we need to reclaim the term ‘basic’. I refuse being looked down at for a simple choice of preference. If liking Taylor Swift, autumn, coffee, and Instagram makes me basic then I am the most basic of them all. And I am very proud of that. If someone calls me basic I will simply say, “Yes. Yes, I am, where lies the problem?”

I want to encourage every girl who has ever been called basic just to insult her based on her likes and dislikes to embrace the term as well. We are basic, we are human beings, we are not less worthy or to be looked down on. We are celebrating all things basic and we won’t be shamed for it by people who like to discriminate against women. We are basic and there is nothing you can do about it. So deal with it, while I am getting myself a pumpkin spice latte.

[Image Description: A background of drips of paint, mainly in the colours pink, beige and blue, with the words ‘What does it mean / to be basic’ placed on top.]


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