Posted on: October 31, 2023 Posted by: Comments: 0

Do you consider yourself “basic” — and are you OK with that? What are your thoughts in general about the idea and phrase?

It’s November, which means besides falling leaves and football, it’s PSL Season. Has a drink ever been so maligned? (I dunno, maybe Mountain Dew? Four Loko? Kombucha?) More than the actual drink prompting eye-rolling, though, the target is usually the women who love it. They’re seen as …”basic.”

Readers, what do you think? Is “basic” just a harmless way to describe a particular sort of (white, middle- to upper-class) woman? Is it sexist? Are you proudly basic (or semi-basic?) yourself, and craving a PSL at this very moment? (My favorite Starbucks drink is a boring old hot chocolate with “real” milk, personally.)

(Note that, like a lot of slang that’s become popular among white people, “basic” has its origins in Black / hip hop culture, though its meaning has evolved. Also worth a read.)

{related: what trend are you totally sick of?}

Definitions of What it Means to Be Basic

To get us on the same page when we chat about the word basic, here’s an extremely popular definition of “basic bitch” on 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. She believers herself to be unique, fly, amazing, and a complete catch, when really she is boring, painfully normal, and par. She believes her experiences to be crazy, wild, and different or somehow more special than everything that everybody else is doing, when really, almost everyone is doing or has done the exact same thing.

Yes, the terms “basic” and “basic bitch” have been around for years — they’re much older than current negative labels for women, like “pick-me,” which as a 40-something, I’m not totally clear on — but we’ve never discussed basic-ness. Though we’ve talked about trends, frump, and other judgments on style, basic also encompasses the woman herself.

{open thread: what are you a snob about?}

One good counterpoint to poking fun at women for being basic comes, surprisingly, from College Humor, with “Defender of the Basic” (video slightly NSFW). (On the flipside, four years earlier they made “How To Tell if You’re a Basic Bitch.”)

So, popular stuff is popular. And it’s fun to be excited about stuff you like, even if millions of other people do too! (Finally, when it comes to stereotypes, why aren’t IPA-drinking, The Witcher-watching, or fantasy-football-playing white dudes labeled as basic?)

Readers, do tell: What are your “basic” favorites? (And attention, pumpkin-spice fans: Check out PSL-lover April’s posts over on CorporetteMoms about PSL-themed body wash and baby items!)

Stock photo via Pexels / Nathan J. Hilton.

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