You’d think told my friend that I wanted to watch a dog fight. But I have never seen, nor intend to see, two canines forced to do battle. Their reactions of horror were a response to my suggestion that we watch Sex and the City.
“How can you watch that? It’s so basic.”
I bit my lip, not wanting to end a friendship with a cutting reply. Yet she’d hit a nerve.
Basic. That word gets under my skin.
The term implies that a person enjoys things that are so mainstream that they don’t have to exercise any mental energy to do their own research. To be a basic bitch insinuates that you simply exist in the sphere of consumerism, where you live mindlessly. I like to imagine all of those supposed basic girls are sent to live in a city, blissfully unaware of their ignorance to anything better, while they sip on their pumpkin spice lattes.
The idea that you can be written-off for not liking the right thing is very high school. And I’m not talking big things. Politics and religion don’t come into this. Think more about music, fashion, and books, etc. Things that are (generally) harmless to consume and enjoy. That’s why I was surprised when I saw basic being tossed around like an insult. when it comes to it, it’s more of a barb aimed at females to tear them down because, why not?
You won’t hear the term “basic” applied to boys in quite the same way. I rarely hear men call other men “bro” in the condescending manner that women get called basic. You know how many men (and not men, because it’s 2019) like sports? Yet fans of this popular pastime don’t get the same derision as some girl who dares to say she likes Twilight.
In a world where women can be too slutty, too prude, too loud, too quiet, too ANYTHING, “basic” adds another arrow to the arsenal of ways to put women down. Ladies in particular love to put down others of their gender with this term. It gives them a feeling of validation. The sense of not being like “those other girls” in the same way the holier-than-thou crew in school loved to slut-shame.
Instead of appreciating that people have their own tastes, a huge weight is associated with what we buy, listen to, and watch. Honestly, a pumpkin spice latte? It’s fine. And even if it weren’t, you don’t know someone just because of their coffee order or television preferences. But we like to think that if we dislike the right things, then we will be allowed into a secret club of cool people.
The fear of being called a basic bitch also causes some people to hide their truth. They won’t admit they enjoy something that their friends will ridicule. They will join in, faux-baffled at how anyone could like that thing they secretly like. In the age of the basic bitch hunt, no one wants to get burned by their peers.
I’m 30, I’m nowhere near the age where I can stop caring what others think. It stings to have friends mock me for liking what I like. The nagging fear that maybe I am less-than sometimes sneaks in….
Then I eat a cupcake, watch re-runs of Charmed, and try not to care. If that makes me basic, then I guess I’m basic. But at least I’m happy.