As a necessary disclaimer, I’d like to make it known that people who are easily offended fall at the very top of my shit list. There are way too many people crying wolf on the internet these days, and I’d rather lock myself in a decrepit fraternity basement blasting Rebecca Black’s “Friday” on repeat while chugging store-brand tequila than find myself in the same category. I don’t pretend to be overly oppressed by labels that do nothing other than annoy me. That said, I feel safe enough to admit the following: I really want to cunt punt the term “basic.”
Urban Dictionary defines “basic” as “An adjective used to describe any person, place, activity involving obscenely obvious behavior, dress, action.” I’ll consider this definition, since I define Urban Dictionary as “the website that I discreetly check on my phone when talking to a person who uses a phrase I don’t know so that I can have a normal response and make him think I have a social life.”
To be fair, I will admit that we sorority girls definitely tend to indulge in the same clothes, phrases, music, and complicated Starbucks orders. It is completely normal for me to see an abundance of candid shots and eerily similar outfits all over the homepage of my Instagram. And even I, the most pathetic excuse for a sorority girl that any chapter will ever see, cannot resist a spirit jersey fresh from the dryer or some white wine with a
nice, educational documentary three-hour Gossip Girl binge.
Like any well-educated American lady, I’m obviously a diehard advocate for originality. I think the atypical things we do and say make us different from those around us, and that those differences should be embraced in a way that makes us learn and grow from those who we care about. There is definitely a beauty to diversity, even when it means that my roommates and I take three hours to agree on a movie.
So while we may wear similar clothes and say similar things, we are still individuals. There’s a balance between outward conformity and internal originality, and we seem to be forgetting that each and every girl has the latter. I think it’s a blessing that popular trends are able to bring us together; however, such predictable characteristics or tendencies are lately seen as more than simple fads or styles. They’re seen in such a way that those guilty of partaking are condemned as basic, which I consider to be a negative word in any context.
The underlying issue behind the B-word lies in the sad truth: calling another girl basic reduces her worth to the superficial items like the Ugg boots on her feet or the ombre in her hair. It’s pretty much like saying, “You might be an intuitive and original person, but you’re wearing a kimono and high-waisted jean shorts so Imma just label your existence as something less and move on with my life.” This idea is legitimately dumber than Kim K., and we’re better than that. We should know by now that what we wear or say does not define who we are as people, and I highly doubt that there is even one single person whose entire existence is accurately summarized by the word “basic.”
Think of the last girl you called basic. Whether she’s a friend, an enemy, or even yourself, you know there is so much more to her than her outward appearance. She has talent, integrity, and dreams. She is perfectly original in her own way, and the fact that she’s listening to Taylor Swift while drinking a PSL doesn’t give anyone the right to make judgements. Partaking in trends does not mean that you always conform to those around you or lack judgement. It simply means that you are a product of your time and environment, and you enjoy what is currently in style for your social group. The fact that we go out of our way to passive-aggressively make people feel bad about this is ridiculous, and I say we cut the shit and eliminate the word completely..